• Busy Brunette

Book Review: Serena

Author: Ron Rash

Published: 2008

Publisher: Ecco

Number of Pages: 371

My Rating: 1

Summary from GoodReads.com:

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.

I tried. I tried so hard. But I just couldn’t do it. As you can tell from the summary, this book won many awards and has been widely honored which is the reason why I picked it up in the first place. From the honors and reviews, I literally felt like I had gold in my hands when I first held it. I even enjoy historical fiction so I figured this story was going to entrance me and grab me until the very last page.

Serena, the title’s namesake, is the female lead character but I did not find her to be as exemplary as many people make her out to be. I know others are saying, “Yay for strong, independent, female characters!” but honestly, couldn’t she have been a strong, independent female without killing all those animals and being so mean? Why can’t you be independent and successful without being ruthless and a villain these days? In order to be a badass woman do you have to constantly have pissing contests with men and tote an eagle around on your arm just to prove yourself? I did not think she was someone I was going to be cheering on anytime soon.

Like I said, I pushed myself and read about half of it, but the lack of depth of the characters and the ridiculousness of Serena made me stop, which is something I rarely ever do. It apparently just wasn’t my cup of tea. What did you think about it?

-Busy Brunette

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