Reviews for Cove
Booklist Reviews 2012 February #1
*Starred Review* In the Appalachians of North Carolina near the end of WWI, lonely Laurel Shelton lives with her brother, newly returned from the war, in a forbidding place known as the cove. Shunned all of her life by the townsfolk of Mars Hill because they believe she is a witch, Laurel despairs of ever making a life for herself. But one day a stranger appears carrying a silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter and that he is mute. But Walter is hiding his true identity, for he is well aware that it would place their lives in grave danger. Meanwhile, Chauncey Feith, a dimwitted and ambitious army recruiter, stokes the locals' hatred and fear of "the enemy," while Laurel's brother and others who actually served in the war regard his posturing with great contempt. Poet and literary novelist Rash effortlessly summons the rugged Appalachian landscape as well as the small-mindedness and xenophobia of a country in the grip of patriotic fervor, drawing striking parallels to the heated political rhetoric of today. A powerful novel that skillfully overlays its tragic love story with pointed social commentary. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #2
Lonely young woman meets mysterious stranger. What might have been trite and formulaic is anything but in Rash's fifth novel, a dark tale of Appalachian superstition and jingoism so good it gives you chills. Three miles out of town, in the North Carolina mountains, a massive cliff rears up. Beneath it is a cove, gloom-shrouded and cursed, so the locals believe, though all the out-of-state Sheltons knew was that the farmland was cheap. The story takes place in 1918. Both parents have died and their grown children, Hank and Laurel, are trying to cope. Hank is back from the war, missing one hand. Laurel has a purple birthmark; she has been ostracized by the townsfolk of Mars Hill as a witch. Rash's immersion in country ways and idioms gives his work a rare integrity. One day Laurel hears a stranger playing his flute in the woods; the sound is mournful but mesmerizing. The next time she finds him prone, stung by hornets, and nurses him back to health at the cabin. (What the reader knows, but Laurel doesn't, is that he's on the run from a barracks.) A note in his pocket tells her his name is Walter and he's mute. Laurel can live with that. She has low expectations, but maybe her life is about to begin. Hank hires Walter to help him fence the pasture; he proves an excellent worker. Laurel confesses her "heart feelings:" Walter is encouraging; Laurel cries tears of joy. Meanwhile in town Sgt. Chauncey Feith, a bombastic, deeply insecure army recruiter and faux patriot, is stoking fear of spies in their midst as local boys return from the front, some in terrible shape. Eventually Laurel learns Walter's identity; his back story is fascinating, but only a spoiler would reveal more. Let's just say the heartbreaking climax involves a lynch mob led by Feith; perhaps the cove really is cursed. Even better than the bestselling Serena (2008), for here Rash has elevated melodrama to tragedy. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2011 October #2
In this haunting, powerfully moving novel, set in the rural backwoods of North Carolina near the end of World War I, Rash returns to the Appalachian byways that figure in much of his highly acclaimed fiction (e.g., Serena; One Foot in Eden). At the center of this novel is an isolated piece of farmland that everyone in town believes is cursed. The pain and violence evident here are caused not by a curse, however, but by human cruelty. Ostracized and lonely, Laurel Shelton lives on the farm with her brother, newly returned from war. Then a stranger appears, mute but carrying a silver flute, and Laurel seems finally to have found love. But their happiness is tragically short-lived. VERDICT Rash develops his story masterfully; the large cast of characters is superbly realized, as is the xenophobia that accompanies the war, and Rash brings the various narrative threads together at the conclusion of the novel with formidable strength and pathos. Essential for fans of literary fiction.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT [Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews 2012 June #1
In the rural North Carolina mountains, Laurel, an outcast and supposed witch, lives with her brother, maimed during World War I, in a cove the townspeople believe is haunted. She comes upon a mute stranger in the woods playing a silver flute. Their meeting changes the lives of these three protagonists in unexpected and glorious ways. VERDICT Haunting, poetic and wise, Rash's (Serena) latest novel is a book to savor on long summer days. [Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
In the rural North Carolina mountains, Laurel, an outcast and supposed witch, lives with her brother, maimed during World War I, in a cove the townspeople believe is haunted. She comes upon a mute stranger in the woods playing a silver flute. Their meeting changes the lives of these three protagonists in unexpected and glorious ways. VERDICT Haunting, poetic and wise, Rash's (Serena) latest novel is a book to savor on long summer days. -- "Summertime, and the Reading Is Easy" LJ Reviews 6/7/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #2
Veteran novelist Rash (Serena) knits his newest rustic yarn in North Carolina during WWI. Located near the hardscrabble village of Mars Hill, the cove is shrouded in superstition, "a place where ghosts and fetches wandered." Nearby, the alienated Laurel Shelton lives with her wounded war veteran brother in an isolated cabin. While out doing laundry by the creek one day, Laurel discovers Walter Smith, an illiterate, mute flutist en route to New York City, who has been incapacitated by hornet stings. As she nurses the mysterious Walter back to health, Laurel begins to fall in love. "Waiting for her life to begin," she clings to Walter and the future he represents. However, local Army recruiter Chauncey Feith threatens to ruin all that Laurel and Walter hope for. A rabid anti-German agitator, he begins to suspect that Walter is not who he claims to be. Driven by fear, patriotism, and bloodlust, Chauncey progresses from arrogant drunk to a craven yet dangerous force. The gripping plot, gothic atmosphere, and striking descriptions, in particular of the dismal cove, make this a top-notch story of an unusual place and its fated and fearful denizens. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Associates Inc. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC