Review: The Cove
Laurel has spent a lonely life in a cove in the mountains of North Carolina with her brother Hank. Because of a birthmark Laurel was born with, the residents of neighboring Mars Hill have deemed her a witch – after all, both of her parents died when she was young. When Walter, a young, mute stranger, shows up at her home one day, Laurel feels like her life has finally begun.
Things aren’t as they appear, though, and it turns out Walter is not who Laurel thought. The secret he’s carrying may just be dangerous enough to destroy them.
The Cove once again proves that Ron Rash is a master at the art of Appalachian storytelling. This book is gritty and dark but beautifully written. Rash’s words carry the reader to the depths of Appalachia on the verge of World War II.
Laurel is such a sympathetic character. She has hopes and dreams like everyone else and yearns for a richer life. The prejudices and ignorance of the area and time keep her from fulfilling her potential and it is heartbreaking to read. When Walter shows up, it seems things may be looking up for Laurel. She starts to suspect that Walter is hiding something and does a little investigating. She is shocked by what she discovers and has to decide what to do with the information.
As usual with Rash’s work, The Cove is dark and foreboding – life for its characters is difficult. The book is filled with atmosphere and tension so it’s difficult to put down. It captures the hardscrabble life of the people of Appalachia.
I listened to the audio version of this book. It’s narrated by Merrit Hicks and I’m not sure she was the best choice for the book. I found her narration to be a little flat. Maybe that was the point, but there were times that I had to really focus to keep track of the story. I did enjoy it but think I might have felt the emotions of the story more if I had read the words myself. The audio version lasts about six and a half hours.