Ron Rash, the award-winning Western North Carolina author of Serena, is set to release his latest novel, The Cove, in April. It’s already getting great reviews.

About The Cove, via Amazon:

The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war

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.

From a review in The Guardian:

In Rash’s stately prose, you are constantly made aware of the care that brother and sister take in their chores by the care that the author takes in placing one word beside the next. He appears to derive quiet, almost religious, pleasure in descriptive clarity, so that sentences become little paradigms of the events they describe. This is Hank and Walter making a fence: “When the tone of the metal staple entering the fourth post deepened, Hank moved to the next end post, set his knee against the wood, and pulled downward with the crowbar until the wire was taut.”

That kind of semantic and syntactical tautness runs right through this novel, the stretched wire of Rash’s narrative linking regular fenceposts of solid observation, and it makes the tragic ending all the more affecting.

The Cove is a short story writ large, in a way, following a single strand of love and loss, fossicking at a neglected moment of American history; but because of its simplicity, the hard-won elegance of its telling, it stays singularly in the mind after it has finished.

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