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Serena by Ron Rash
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Serena (2008)

by Ron Rash

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English (56)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Serena, by Ron Rash, chronicles the lives of a North Carolina couple and their rise to power in the 1929 logging industry. When Serena and George Pemberton marry they return to North Carolina and to Pemberton’s already established logging camp where they intend to build their empire. Pemberton has already fathered an illegitimate child; the pregnant girl and her father are waiting at the train station when he and Serena arrive. Serena quickly dismisses the young girl by telling her she was lucky to have had such a fine sire for her child but that she would never be so lucky again. The girl’s father wants to settle matters, so Serena calmly tells Pemberton that he should get his knife out and do exactly that. It’s in this moment that the reader gets their first glimpse of the powerhouse that is Serena!

Serena is one of the most ruthless female characters I’ve ever read about; she fears absolutely nothing and I loved her for it! Her father was a timber man in Colorado before she became an orphan and he taught her all the in’s-and-out’s of the industry. She proves she can stand up against even the best of men with her logging knowledge- as well as her hunting and riding skills. This would have been extremely unusual for a woman of this era and I loved reading the men’s reactions to her in this regard. When Serena learns she is unable to bear children, she formulates a dark and seedy plan to destroy her husband’s only son, as well as anyone else who stands in her way. This is the ultimate tale of power and corruption!

With his fluid writing and realistic descriptions, Ron Rash pulled me right into the logging town and its beautifully lush, North Carolina landscapes. I enjoyed learning all the historical facts about the logging industry, it’s such an iconic part of American History and truly fascinating! I had never read anything by this author before and I’m glad I chose Serena as my introduction. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves American history; told from the perspective of dark, greedy characters. I believe this would also make a fantastic choice for Book Clubs, especially with the movie just recently released. There is so much about Serena, Pemberton and their ending that could be discussed and dissected for hours, truly a great read!
( )
  jenladuca | May 22, 2015 |
That damn Serena is sure one jealous woman ( )
  katherineemilysmith | May 4, 2015 |
What an interesting book! Don't mess with Serena! Interesting characters and learning about the process of acquiring land for the National Parks was great. Loved the ending. ( )
  andsoitgoes | Mar 18, 2015 |
Where do I start! This book was not what I expected even though the books description sounded interesting. After the first chapter I disliked both main characters. I had hoped for a turn around but through the entire book I found myself rooting against them as I'm sure was the point. The story itself is fine, nothing to get excited about. However I found myself bored at times. It was interesting enough that I completed the book but overall I just couldn't connect. Hard to believe they made a movie out of this. Hollywood would definitely need to add some "magic"! ( )
  Emily25 | Jan 26, 2015 |
I just have one thing to say: Ron Rash is phenomenal and you must go read everything this man has written. ( )
  reigningstars | Dec 4, 2014 |
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A hand, that with a grasp may grip the worlde.
--Christopher Marlowe
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For my bother, Thomas Rash
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When Pemberton returned to the North Carolina mountains after three months in Boston settling his father's estate, among those waiting on the train platform was a young woman pregnant with Pemberton's child.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061470856, Hardcover)

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.

The Gift of Silence: An Essay by Ron Rash

When readers ask how I came to be a writer, I usually mention several influences: my parents’ teaching by example the importance of reading; a grandfather who, though illiterate, was a wonderful storyteller; and, as I grew older, an awareness that my region had produced an inordinate number of excellent writers and that I might find a place in that tradition. Nevertheless, I believe what most made me a writer was my early difficulty with language.

My mother tells me that certain words were impossible for me to pronounce, especially those with j’s and g’s. Those hard consonants were like tripwires in my mouth, causing me to stumble over words such as “jungle” and “generous.” My parents hoped I would grow out of this problem, but by the time I was five, I’d made no improvement. There was no speech therapist in the county, but one did drive in from the closest city once a week.

That once a week was a Saturday morning at the local high school. For an hour the therapist worked with me. I don’t remember much of what we did in those sessions, except that several times she held my hands to her face as she pronounced a word. I do remember how large and empty the classroom seemed with just the two of us in it, and how small I felt sitting in a desk made for teenagers.

I improved, enough so that by summer’s end the therapist said I needed no further sessions. I still had trouble with certain words (one that bedevils me even today is “gesture”), but not enough that when I entered first grade my classmates and teacher appeared to notice. Nevertheless, certain habits of silence had taken hold. It was not just self-consciousness. Even before my sessions with the speech therapist, I had convinced myself that if I listened attentively enough to others my own tongue would be able to mimic their words. So I listened more than I spoke. I became comfortable with silence, and, not surprisingly, spent a lot of time alone wandering nearby woods and creeks. I entertained myself with stories I made up, transporting myself into different places, different selves. I was in training to be a writer, though of course at that time I had yet to write more than my name.

Yet my most vivid memory of that summer is not the Saturday morning sessions at the high school but one night at my grandmother’s farmhouse. After dinner, my parents, grandmother and several other older relatives gathered on the front porch. I sat on the steps as the night slowly enveloped us, listening intently as their tongues set free words I could not master. Then it appeared. A bright-green moth big as an adult’s hand fluttered over my head and onto the porch, drawn by the light filtering through the screen door. The grown-ups quit talking as it brushed against the screen, circled overhead, and disappeared back into the night. It was a luna moth, I learned later, but in my mind that night it became indelibly connected to the way I viewed language--something magical that I grasped at but that was just out of reach.

In first grade, I began learning that loops and lines made from lead and ink could be as communicative as sound. Now, almost five decades later, language, spoken or written, is no longer out of reach, but it remains just as magical as that bright-green moth. What writer would wish it otherwise.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:38 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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 rattlesnakes, 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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