Monday, November 15, 2010


I’ll just jump right into this review. Released in 2008, if you missed it the first go-around, it’s well worth digging up.

In Serena by Ron Rash, a ruthlessly ambitious, soulless couple builds a lumber empire in North Carolina in 1929, killing off their rivals and adversaries and taking increasing pleasure in doing so. Serena and George Pemberton seem almost superhuman in their successes—terrifying and unstoppable. But Serena miscarries the baby she and George wanted. And he starts thinking about the illegitimate boy he fathered before marrying her. She decides the boy and his mother will be the next victims. This opens a fissure in the previously seamless husband-wife partnership. Things get even uglier from there.

This book is riveting. The scenery goes from beautiful to devastated. Characters are well depicted and yet, unreal. They embody such powerful evil that it makes good appear impotent. There is so much collateral damage, it’s impossible to say either side wins.

Overall, this was one of the bleakest, most exhausting books I’d read in a long time. But the story is so powerful, it was worth being put through the wringer.

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