Book Review: The Cove by Ron Rash

April 9th, 2012

The Cove by Ron Rash is set at the height of World War I and is, from the very first page, a captivating story of love and war. It is in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina that we first meet Laurel who lives there with her brother Hank. The area they live in is known as The Cove where it is usually dark, chilly, and gloomy and for the people of Mars Hill, The Cove is a haunted place and nothing but evil comes from venturing there. The two are quite isolated from the community, although it’s Laurel more than Hank, that the townspeople fear. Hank, having fought in the war and lost a hand is now treated with respect within the community but Laurel who was born with a vivid purple birthmark is considered a witch and treated badly by the community on a whole. They believe that something bad will befall whoever has contact with Laurel and while Hank is a good brother, Laurel is very lonely.

So one day when Laurel is laying out laundry she hears a flute playing and of course is intrigued. She follows the music and finds a man playing the most beautiful music she has heard. She doesn’t say anything and slinks away but a few days later she finds him near death, having been stung by a bunch of bees. She takes him back home to care for him much to the dismay of her brother. His name is Walter and he is a mute and apparently can’t read or write either. Laurel wants to know everything about him and tries to communicate through questions and nods. They learn that Walter is a musician and was trying to get back to New York. Things happen and Walter stays on the farm and becomes a part of their family. For Laurel, who has been so lonely, he brings even more – he brings love into her life for the very first time.

That is as much of the plot as I feel comfortable talking about except to say that is anyone really who we think they are. Can someone who always expects the worst to happen to her actually have her life turn around and be happy? Can Laurel really deserve happiness? Are things changing for her and Hank with Hank becoming engaged and Laurel finding love? Will the people of Mars Hill accept her if she marries and has a family? Should she leave The Cove and start over with Walter? Will anything stand in her way of finally getting a life of her own and having someone to love her? These are the questions facing Laurel and add to that the turmoil of the war raging around them and people with agendas their own and you have a very tantalizing story indeed.

Laurel is a great character and you are drawn to her right away because of her vulnerability. She has been shunned by her community and labeled a witch all because of her birthmark and yet she goes on each day hoping for the best. Hank as well is a stand up brother to her who is always looking out for her and always on her side. Then there was Slidell, their neighbor, who has been a friend to both Laurel and Hank through thick and thin. He is the one person who has never shunned Laurel and always wanted the best for her – especially someone or something to make her happy. Then there is Walter who harbors his own secrets and these secrets may be the very thing that could end up destroying them all.

I really enjoyed The Cove by Ron Rash. It is a story that builds upon itself in the most interesting way and keeps your attention throughout. Truth be told I read this book in the space of a day. Each time I had to put it down I just wanted to get back to it and find out what was going to happen. The descriptions of The Cove and the community are vividly portrayed to us and I was most impressed with the writing of Ron Rash. I have his novel Serena on my reader and after reading The Cove I can’t wait to get to it. With how The Cove ultimately played out I know it is a story that will stay with me for a while and I would definitely recommend it to my friends.

I read The Cove by Ron Rash for his book tour with TLC Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other tour stops that will be following mine to see what everyone else will be saying about the book.  The Cove releases tomorrow and you can purchase your very own copy here in the US and here in Canada.

Source: Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are my own.

34 Comments to “Book Review: The Cove by Ron Rash”

  1. I love the sound of this one. Glad to see that you enjoyed it.

  2. Mary says:

    I love books that you just want to keep reading. This is on my list. Great review, Dar.

    • admin says:

      Mary, so do I. I love when a book has me that involved. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one if you get a chance to read it.

  3. Bookworm says:

    This sounds right up my alley. Great review :)

  4. Ron Rash is very popular here. At his last event, he gave us a taste of this book and everyone was intrigued. I’m glad to see it’s so good!

  5. zibilee says:

    I love the sound of this book, and know from previous experience that Ron Rash is an author that many love and admire. It does indeed seem like an interesting story, and I loved what you had to say about it. Great review today. I really enjoyed it, Dar!

    • admin says:

      Heather, I think you’d like this book. I can’t wait to read one of his others soon. He’ll be an author that I’ll be keeping an eye out for new books from now on.

  6. Mary Ward says:

    I’m reading it right now. Just started so I’m really interested to see how it plays out.

    • admin says:

      Mary W, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it when you’re finished it.

      • Mary Ward says:

        I finished it last night. It left me feeling rather sad. I liked how the beginning and end all tied together, finding out about the skull in the well. It’s sad where prejudice and irrational fear will take people. I liked it very much.

  7. Serena says:

    This is on my wish list, though I still have to read Serena. I have read a poetry book of his, Waking.

  8. Seems I should add Ron Rash to the list of authors to read! Nice review!

  9. blodeuedd says:

    Cool cover and I do like a book that when you put it down you just want to jump back in

  10. techeditor says:

    I intend to read this. But, for now, I’ll follow the blog tour.

  11. Esme says:

    I hope you had a lovely Easter.

  12. Nise' says:

    I am looking forward to this book! Great review Darlene.

  13. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    This one sounds so very good!!! I think I’m going to have to add it to my list!!

  14. I’ve seen this one before. Could it been here? I’m reminded that this is something I really want to read. Lol. It sounds very different and I read few books that take place during WWI. But the relationship between a mute and an outcast definitely intrigues me.

  15. […] in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.Ron’s Tour StopsMonday, April 9th: Peeking Between the PagesWednesday, April 11th: “That’s Swell!”Thursday, April 12th: The Whimsical […]

  16. I love a book that I can tear through in a day – sometimes that is exactly what I need for a relaxing Saturday (not that I get them all that often …).

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  17. […] ~ The Cove by Ron Rash, reviewed by Dar at Peeking Between the Pages […]

  18. Joanna says:

    Vivid portrayal and tantalizing story are such appropriate descriptions for this book! It’s definitely sticking with me too.

  19. […] The Whimsical Cottage “That’s Swell!” Peeking Between the Pages […]

  20. […] Monday, April 9th: Peeking Between the Pages […]

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