Book Review- Serena by Ron Rash

7:13 AM


Serena by Ron Rash
Genres: Historical Fiction, Adults
Pages: 371

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.

I decided to pick up this book when I discovered that it was made in to a movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.  Now, the movie didn't get great reviews, but I just couldn't pass this up.  After reading, and really enjoying this book, I think I am going to give the movie a chance.  I know historical fiction is not for everyone, but for some reason it always appeals to me.  Also, look these stills from the movie. They are so amazing, and I wish I knew how to wear my hair like that! (tips on how to do this anyone?!)



I loved Serena as much as one can love a ruthless, cold, and uncompromising individual.  She is certainly a strong female character who proves that she can hold her among a group of men. I normally struggle to enjoy reading about characters with zero redeemable qualities, but with Serena it just worked. She is one of those characters that you just love to hate! Pure evil.


The author, Ron Rash, certainly knows how to give a great description.  The novel is filled with many descriptive details.  Even though I know absolutely nothing about logging communities, and very little about this era, I could picture everything perfectly in my mind.  The writing was truly incredible.  Ron Rash is a true storyteller.  I have already ordered The Cove- another one of his books.

This novel was truly unique, and I have a feeling it will stick out in my mind among the sea of books that I have read.  I do not want to say too much, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may read it, but Serena is far from predictable.  Just when you think you have the characters, and the story figured out, something happens that makes you realize that you were soooooo wrong.  It was this unpredictable story line that kept me enthralled page after page.

I do wish that there was a little bit more character development and back story.  It would be interesting to know why Serena is the way that she is.  But now that I think about it maybe there is no reason.  Some people are just cruel aren't they? I guess I was just looking for some explanation for it!

The one thing I truly disliked was the amount of animal cruelty.  I acknowledge that these things happen, but that doesn't mean I enjoy reading about it.  I found it difficult to read at times and I am aware that some people avoid books with any animal cruelty (which I completely understand).  If that really upsets you than this is a book that I would stay away from. 
“Don't love anything that can be taken away.” 

“It’s ever been the way of the man of science or philosophy. Most folks stay in the dark and then complain they can’t see nothing.”

“He suspected the workers thought of Serena as beyond gender, the same as they might some phenomenon of nature such as rain or lightning.” 

Really Liked It



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