Saturday, April 21, 2012

Serena by Ron Rash

From Goodreads: The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

Serena was my local book club's pick for April. I loved it but not every one did. Of the eleven of us, three didn't finish it because they did not like it but everyone else enjoyed it. I guess that makes it one of those books that you either jump into and love or you can't get into at all. I thought it was like rolling down a hill - a jarring start with a murder within the first few pages and then it gains momentum and you just get into a whirlwind that at the end leaves you shaking your head thinking, "Wow, how did that happen!" and trying to decide if it was fun or not.

The tug of war between environmentalists trying to preserve the land through the creation of a national park and the developers wanting to make use of the resources in a way that brings in business and industry was fascinating. It's a conflict still unfolding worldwide but for me very close to home here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I may not know the perfect balance but I could envision the wilderness Ron Rash described being felled by clear cutting for timber and knew that wasn't it! He created more than one villain in this book and it made for interesting layers to be discussed.

Ron Rash has a new book out - that will go on my mental wish list. He's doing an author event in South Carolina but it's all the way across the state almost as far away from where I am as you can get! So I will have to live vicariously through my upstate friend, Kathy over at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

I am trying to reach 100 books this year - I've never done it before although I have come very close, click on the logo to see how I am doing for this year!


bermudaonion said...

Serena is being made into a movie. I bought it at Rash's last event here and haven't read it yet. You should come and go to his next event with me - I already have my ticket.

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

I thought about suggesting this for our book club...was it the content they didn't like? Overly graphic? Or just the story line...I'd be curious. Our main librarian has this on our staff shelf and he LOVED it.