Serena by Ron Rash
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.
Rash’s masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.
My Review: 3 out of 5 stars. I had a love-hate relationship with Serena. There were times that I absolutely loathed her character. She was ruthless, mostly heartless and ego-tripped (aka self-centered) and a whole lot of other things. She definitely made the story but her insecurities were played out to the millionth degree. You never knew what was coming out of her mouth was 100% the truth. I think had we had some insight into the real Serena…the prior to 1929 Serena, maybe we could/would understand who she was in the book. I thought it was a good book. I’m not sure it’s one I would say, “hey, go out and buy this book” though. If you happen on it, read it. If you don’t, I think you’ll be good.