JUST FINISHED: Serena

Author: Ron Rash
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Serena is a tale of the Pemberton’s, a recently married couple, making their way to the top of the timber supply chain in North Carolina in the Appalachia mountain range. Although Serena is a sophisticated woman, this rugged living isn’t new compared to her Colorado past, and is actually quite a suitable environment for a woman like her. She has no problem taming an eagle to hunt rattle snakes, riding the stretches of the Pemberton’s destructed land, or even instructing her husband to kill a man in front of all the passengers at a train station. That of which she took unreasonable pride in.

Yes, Serena is not your typical woman. She is fierce, greedy, mystifying, addictive, and, least we not forget the most important, evil. This novel follows the relationship of the Pembertons and Serena’s unveiling from George (the husband) and Rachel’s (the unfortunate previous perversion toy of George’s who bears his illegitimate child) perspective. Ultimately, the Pembertons become a power couple, destroying anything that tries to block their path to a deceiving greatness.

While this novel was entertaining, it didn’t quite do it for me to make it above a three star rating. I think those reasons could be blamed for what I thought was a predictable and “roll your eyes” ending and the pace of the book is a little slow. I also think that the summary on the back of the book gives you way too much information. Pretty much all the plot is on the back up to the last chapter…so don’t read that if you do plan on picking this one up. Other than that, the characters are enigmatic and highly interesting. I also enjoyed a different perspective on deforestation and the national park movement from that time period.

If you’re in the mood for a darker, raw, and character driven historical novel, this may be a good one to try out. Otherwise, keep on looking!

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