Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: “The Cove” by Ron Rash

The CoveThe Cove Ron Rash
Published: April 10, 2012
ISBN-10: 0061804193
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

I’ve tried several times, without success, to summarize this book in a way which would capture the essence of the plot without giving anything away.  Since this is apparently beyond my writing skills, I’m just going to borrow the summary from

Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe–just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.

Then it happens–a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.

But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything–and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.

The first thing I have to say is that this is one of the best-written works of fiction I have read in a very long time.  I can’t remember the last time I read a book when I didn’t have a single gripe about the actual writing. 

Pacing is something that has become an issue for me.  Many of the books I’ve read lately seem unable to keep up the pace of a book.  If you don’t know what I mean about pacing, then read The Cove.  It is the best book I have ever read in that regard.  Every scene, action and character are essential and every word builds the story.

And Rash’s language is captivating.  He writes in the dialect fluently and poetically.  There were times that I had to stop and think about what exactly was being said, but that was due to my lack of familiarity with the language of the area and not with Rash’s writing.

The main characters—Laurel, Hank and Walter—were all expertly written.  Laurel’s loneliness is heartbreaking and Hank’s love for his sister is shown through his actions, not through words.  While the revelations about Walter were not shocking, Rash built up to them in such a way as to maximize their impact.

It would have been very easy for Rash to take the easy way out on this book and make this into a simple love story.  Instead, he carries the plot out to the very last page in a very satisfying, abeit heart-breaking, end.

If you’d like to read other reviews, please visit one of the other blogs on the tour listed below (links go to the blog homepage, not the specific review):

Monday, April 9th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, April 11th: “That’s Swell!”
Thursday, April 12th: The Whimsical Cottage
Monday, April 16th: Just Joanna
Tuesday, April 17th: Picky Girl
Wednesday, April 18th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, April 19th: A Musing Reviews
Monday, April 23rd: Life In Review
Tuesday, April 24th: Lit and life
Wednesday, April 25th: Brandi Reads
Thursday, April 26th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, April 30th: The Road to Here
Tuesday, May 1st: The Mookse and the Gripes
Thursday, May 3rd: Bookfoolery and Babble
Monday, May 7th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, May 15th: Life Fire
Tuesday, May 22nd: Layers of Thought
This review is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation for this review and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Affiliate Link: Purchase this book from Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a must read for sure! WWI-era stories fascinate me, and add to that the great writing and I'll definitely be getting my hands on a copy of this one.

    Thanks for being on the tour!