A Novel

Rash, Ron

Book - 2008
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
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.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, c2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0061470856
Characteristics: 371 p. ;,24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Feb 16, 2015

Slow start but interesting information about the logging industry during the depression in North Carolina. Greed and murder along the way. Revenge and blind following of strong personalities. An eagle trained to kill snakes puts nature out of order. Lots of lessons and intrigues.

Jan 16, 2015
  • GerardAC rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Be for warned, this is more a dark thriller than a love story. Set in the woodlands of North Carolina during the Great Depression, Ron Rash gives us the perfect example of two people driven to drastic deeds by their own sociopathic avarice. I only wish the author had given more of an insight into Serena's twisted, vindictive demeanor, otherwise this was a compelling story that you simply will not want to put down.

Jan 04, 2015
  • sasie rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Wow - this book has one of the most severe and ruthless female characters I have ever met but it was very well written and quite an experience to read.

Jul 21, 2014
  • sconiglio1127 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved this book! Worth the read!

May 22, 2014
  • aliciamarie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Serena was a hard book to get in to but believe me, the ending is worth it! Such a mean, vicious woman. I enjoyed the fact that the female main character was so well written by a male author. It is a chilling, haunting story and I look forward to seeing the movie!

Feb 22, 2014
  • Lauraparr rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Slightly disappointed with Serena. Lots of unnecessary details and descriptions which make you forget about the plot itself. Shame, it could have been a better read if only not told in such dull manner.

Sep 25, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

“Serena” sustains its haunting power until it goes one little step too far. When it finally lets Serena give full voice to her ambitions, they do the book an injustice. “The world is ripe, and we’ll pluck it like an apple from a tree,” says the woman who has wielded such subtle power throughout most of the story. It is a backhanded credit to the author’s portrait of Serena that no literal acts of greed and vengefulness do justice to the free-floating, otherworldly menace she has represented.

“Serena” is both drama and parable. The Pemberton-ravaged landscape comes to look like “that land over in France once them in charge let us quit fighting.” And as the book’s homespun philosophers try to name intangibles , like love, courage and air, they also grasp the universal, imperial darkness that the Pembertons’ ruthless game plan embodies. “You can’t see it no more than you can see air,” Mr. Rash writes, “but when it’s all around you sure enough know it.”

Aug 03, 2013
  • CJA1910 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A look into the lumbering practices in North Carolina, the clear-cutting of forests and the greed of the lumber barons. Serena, introduced as a new bride, soon becomes a ruthless and evil presence, not to be crossed. An excellent book.

Jul 22, 2013
  • EPalmer2295 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

While the book is not terribly suspenseful or wildly exciting, it is a raw look at human ambition and lust for wealth and power. Perhaps the best part is looking back on the book once you have completed it and reveling at the changes that took place: the slow rise to a cunning mastermind by Serena and the slow breaking of Pemberton's will and spirit.

Jun 29, 2013
  • kelliyfults rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

wow... brutal, well-told story. Ruthlessness, greed and eco-terrorism during the depression, also a few 'gentle souls' for balance... Very original depiction of a sociopath-

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET