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The Cove: A Novel

The Cove: A Novel

Написано Ron Rash

Озвучено Merritt Hicks


The Cove: A Novel

Написано Ron Rash

Озвучено Merritt Hicks

оценки:
3/5 (254 оценки)
Длина:
6 часов
Издатель:
Издано:
1 мая 2012 г.
ISBN:
9780062220738
Формат:

Описание

The New York Times bestselling author of Serena returns to Appalachia, this time at the height of World War I, with the story of a blazing but doomed love affair caught in the turmoil of a nation at war

Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe-just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin.

Then it happens-a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known.

But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything-and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, an ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them.

This lyrical, heart-rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.

Издатель:
Издано:
1 мая 2012 г.
ISBN:
9780062220738
Формат:

Об авторе

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.


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  • (4/5)
    The small, isolated community of Mars Hill, North Carolina, continues to cling to the prejudices and Appalachian superstitions of another century in the wake of World War I. Its men have been to fight in foreign lands, encountered the awesome terror of modernized warfare, and yet still harbor a profound fear of a young woman who lives sadly and quietly in a place simply known as "The Cove." Laurel Shelton's life, thanks to the people of Mars Hill, has not been an easy one. Marked by the port-wine stain on her shoulder and by the misfortune of living on land that is believed to be the home of some nebulous evil, Laurel is labeled a witch and ostracized from the community--banned from the school, humiliated by the local boys, and shunned by the proprietors of local businesses. It doesn't help that The Cove seems to consume everything with which it comes into contact; Laurel's parents both die under unfortunate and unexpected circumstances, the blighted chestnut trees begin to die off, and there are fewer Carolina parakeets with every passing year. When her brother and protector, Hank, leaves for war, Laurel is left alone to fend for herself on the farm and it seems as though happiness will forever remain out of her reach. But Hank returns, having lost a hand to the war, and it seems as though things might finally get better. Hank is getting married, the farm responds to his hard work, and a stranger in the woods may offer Laurel an escape from The Cove's clutches.Ultimately, The Cove is about the danger of instinctively hating that which we don't understand. Ignorance and intolerance make Laurel an outcast and The Cove itself becomes the physical manifestation of the community's rejection of her for the crime of being "different." Just as the darkness of The Cove absorbs and destroys the beauty of its inhabitants, the human capacity for hatred destroys the most fragile and beautiful among us. To watch as Laurel slowly becomes hopeful that life will hold something better than she's been allowed to expect--to come to believe that she deserves to be allowed this hope--is painfully heart-wrenching. However, there are no happily ever afters here. Just as the cliff looms ominously over The Cove, the foreboding that something will crush this nascent hope pervades the narrative. Rash's writing is lyrical and simple in the best possible sense; there's no poetic posturing or pretentiousness. To capture such bruised lives in straightforward, lovely language imbues his characters with a genuine and honest dignity. Two factors prevented me from giving it a 4 star. The first is that I kept measuring this book against Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. While Rash does a fine job of capturing the atmosphere of the place, he lacks the lush detail of Frazier's work that truly brought the land alive for me as a reader. Frazier's portrayal of two damaged characters, Ada and Inman, is also more nuanced and three dimensional. While Rash's portrayal of Laurel and Chauncey Feith (the villain of the tale, which is made clear from the introduction of this selfish, pompous bastard) is inspired, many of his other characters are little more than well-written stereotypes. The second is that the denouement seems too abrupt in its execution and, while brutal and violent, the emotional punch is lessened by how swiftly events are brought to a close.Despite these factors, The Cove is a much finer piece of writing than much of what is out there and I look forward to reading Rash's Serena.Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder
  • (4/5)
    The time is World War I, and Laurel is living with her veteran brother, who has lost an arm, in an isolated backwater in the Appalachians, shunned by the superstitious townsfolk because of her birthmark. She finds a man hiding in the woods who cannot speak and takes him in. Of course, he is harboring a secret. Rash's writing here is lovely, which helps disguise the fact that not much happens in this slim book. In fact, the story feels a bit contrived, moving slowly but inexorably toward its inevitable conclusion, which I didn't much care for. A pretty book, but not a terribly impactful one.
  • (4/5)
    The Cove by Ron Rash Rash specializes in the Appalachian mountains for his setting. In this novel a brother and sister, Hank and Laurel, try to carve out a life keeping their farm in working order after the death of both parents. Hank lost an arm in the War and his sister is often shunned in town because of a misunderstood birthmark. Then a stranger shows up in their woods and while Laurel spies on him she realizes that he is close to death after multiple wasps bites. She gets him home and begins to care for him in multiple ways. He appears to be mute, but willingly lends a hand , helping Hank mend fences and even digging a well. It is not until they have grown close and even slept together that Laurel finds out that the medallion she once discovered identifies Walter as a German, one of the 2500 Germans who were interned when war broke out. It seems the ocean liner, the Vaderland, was in the harbor in New York, Walter being part of the orchestra, when WWI broke out. The people on the boat were sequestered in Hot Springs, N.C. during the war. Walter escapes with intentions to go back to NYC but when he sees his wanted poster advertised at the Railroad station, he decides to go back to Laurel and try to ride out the war, disguised as a mute but talented flute player. Since the opening prologue creates a mood of abandonment and death, the tragedy of the narrative is foreshadowed. Rash uses terse, descriptive writing that will keep me looking for more from this author.Quotes from the author:"part of what I love about fiction is the attempt to embody another consciousness very different from one’s own; I see this empathy as akin to what the best literature always does—remind us that as human beings we are more alike than different.""in many ways I see The Cove as a very dark fairy tale. Certain elements—such as a brother and sister alone in a haunted wood, a stock villain, the silver flute, even the epigraph—were an attempt to summon such a reading."
  • (5/5)
    The cove, believed to be cursed land, is nestled within the Smokey Mts near Mars Hill, Tenn. Hank and Laurel Shelton, brother and sister, have work a family farm near the cove ever since their parents died. Laurel who was born with a large birth mark has always been shunned, local residents believing that she was a mountain witch since she was born with the mark of the devil. One day, shortly before the end of WW1, Laurel rescues a vagabond found unconscious in the cove stung by a swarm of yellow jackets. When she takes him to their cabin to heal him, she also takes into their home the man's secret, which will tear the local community apart.Ron Rash continues to develop beautiful examples of Southern literary fiction. He has been likened to notable authors such as John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. I found myself easily transported into this book and the life of its characters. The author was adept at building suspense toward the novel's climax. If you have never read Ron Rash, what are you waiting for?
  • (5/5)
    A haunting, beautiful story with the right blend of suspense, tragedy and history. Ron Rash is a master of blending the environmentalism classic to the Appalachian region with superb historical scenarios. This novel touches on the complexities of Appalachian life, the repercussions of World War 1 and environmental issues such as the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet.
  • (4/5)
    Beautiful, lyrical, Southern (in all the best ways), heartbreaking. The wages of ignorance. I wanted this to be a 5 star, but the villian, Chauncey, was too much a stock character. if he had a bit more dimension it would have made the whole better. Still, the whole was pretty great.
  • (4/5)
    What is a cove? It is a safe harbor, secure from the heavy winds and storms. Just so is the cove in this tale set in pre WWII South Carolina. Laurel, with her birthmark......Hank, her brother, with his amputated hand....and suddenly also, Walter, from Germany who makes beautiful music on his flute. However, the ugly winds of war reach into the cove to disrupt the peace. Well written, sweet, and tough. I lije Ron Rash's writing, his characters, and his style.
  • (2/5)
    The setting is during WWI in a rural, mountain community in NC that is full of superstition and prejudice. Hank and Laurel Shelton work the land and nurse the physical deformities that each contains. Hank has lost a hand to the war and Laurel has birthmarks that the community believes to be the markings of a witch. Only one old man of the community befriends this brother and sister, until a mute stranger appears. Of course, the reader is given a little insight into the stranger to know that he is hiding something. The language is poetic like the running of a mountain spring, but as with the mountains, the ending is difficult to swallow.
  • (4/5)
    Laurel Shelton lives with her brother on a small rural farm in the mountains of North Carolina. World War I is winding down and Laurel is shunned by the local townspeople who, in their ignorance have labeled her a witch. A stranger comes to the cove and into Laurel's life. He is unable to speak or write and can give no account of himself but, in spite of these handicaps, he and Laurel form a bond. The story gently and sympathetically explores human emotions, both good and bad, and the sweet stirrings of hope in even the most hopeless lives. The mystery buried within the story keeps the reader engaged and, ultimately, brings a surprising closure to the story.Rash clearly knows the area. Given his references to County and State lines, I would judge this hypothetical location to be within half an hour's drive of my home. I wondered whether the name of his heroine, Laurel Shelton, was drawn from the Shelton Laurel massacre a locally known Civil War tragedy. His descriptions of the landscape, of the plantsand animals were accurate and evocative. All in all, an easy, engaging book.
  • (4/5)
    Set in the southern Appalachians during WWI, this compelling story defies categorization: southern lit, historical fiction, a war story, a love story, something mysterious and eerie...all descriptions fit, yet none fits perfectly; THE COVE is one-of-a-kind.Ron Rash writes short books, filled with simple sentences and basic language. Yet there is great magic in his storytelling. He creates a sense of place that is much as I imagine this area would have been in the early 20th century. A strong fear of the unknown permeates his characters, whether that's fear of strangers, fear of Germans, fear of a woman's birthmark, fear of a haunted cove where Laurel lives in isolation with her war-damaged brother. Characters are drawn clearly with little wasted language, and are distinct in their views of life and their treatment of others.The story drew me along, coaxed me to put off asking a few questions that turned out to be important. This is a very subtle and effective form of foreshadowing, and when secrets were revealed near the end of the story, I said to myself "I should have known." (Not "I knew it!")Rash's ONE FOOT IN EDEN is one of my favorites of the past decade, and THE COVE will join it on my "keep and read again" shelf.
  • (3/5)
    In reviews I do my best not to just give my reactions, but the reasons for my reaction, so someone who might like or doesn't care about the things that bother me might still think despite a low rating that the book might be something worth trying, and despite a high rating might think, well, that doesn't really sound like a book for me. The reasons I merely liked, rather than loved this book eludes me. It's well-written, a fast read, rather simple but evocative prose with a good sense of time and place--Appalachia during World War I. How accurate I'm not qualified to judge, but it certainly never jarred me into thinking, no this isn't right. The central characters, Laurel and her brother Hank and the the man who comes into their lives, Walter, are interesting and likable characters--each with their own problems. Laurel, for one, is ostracized by the inhabitants of the nearby college town because she's reputed to be a witch--mostly because of a birthmark. Hank lost an arm in the war. And Walter? Well, that's initially a mystery, although I did guess very early on the nature of it.And that might be part of why this didn't enrapture me. I didn't feel there were any surprises in this, not even the ending, which I hated, but in the interests of not spoiling the story for others I'll keep to myself the reasons why. It was a pleasant read--but not the kind of novel I expect will stay with me.
  • (4/5)
    In the book THE COVE, the cove is a place where nothing good has ever happened to anyone who lived there. At this point in history, the end of World War I, can that be changed?THE COVE begins with a mystery in the prologue, then soon after another mystery makes you forget about the first one. Allow yourself to discover this mysterous story as it was meant to be discovered: as you read it. Don't read reviews. Don't even read the book flap or the back of the book until after you've read it. And now my rant: most book reviewers spoil books. Most book reviews tell the story before readers gets a chance to read the book and discover the story themselves. Most book reviewers thereby steal the pleasure of reading.THE COVE is an exceptionallly good book because it is mysterious. But I made the mistake of reading reviews of this book before I read it, and most of them revealed the solution to one of the mysteries. So I was deprived of the pleasure of slowly discovering the story as it was revealed. I might have given THE COVE five stars otherwise.If you don't make that mistake, you'll love THE COVE.Thanks to Vera at luxuryreading.com for this book.
  • (5/5)
    Lovely story, sad and reminded me of The Orchardist.
  • (4/5)
    Read this not too long again, but have had about a dozen novels and a non-fiction book or two float through my head since then. Ron Rash has a gift for words and stories, both of which I respect, but have come to expect as well from his works. This book did not disappoint, though some of the characters in it did. Some nice integration of history, and a sad reminder that we humans are prone to be really stupid at times. I really loved the weaving of the now extinct Carolina Parakeet into the story. I've only seen ones that have been preserved via taxidermy. What a sight that must have been to see flocks of them.Plot summary available elsewhere.
  • (4/5)
    Beautifully written heart wrenching story.
  • (5/5)
    The Cove is the second Ron Rash novel I've read and, like One Foot in Eden, it is excellent.What makes Rash one of the best writers I've ever read is his careful use of language. Here's a paragraph from the first chapter:She pressed the wicker basket against her belly and made her way down the trail. The air grew dank and dark and even darker as she passed through a stand of hemlocks. Toad stools and witch hazel sprouted on the trail edge, farther down, nightshade and then baneberry whose poisonous fruit looked like a doll's eyes. Two days' rain had made the woods poxy with mushrooms. The gray ones with the slimy feel of slugs were harmless, Laurel knew, but the larger pale mushrooms could kill you, as could the brown-hooded kind that clumped on rotting wood. Chestnut wood, because that was what filled the understory more and more with each passing season. As Laurel approached her parents' graves, she thought of what she'd asked Slidell to do, what he said he'd do, though adding that at his age such a vow was like snow promising to outlast spring.A writing class could be based on this paragraph alone. The rhythm is perfect. The setting is thoroughly described with careful use of detail he's either researched or lived. The characters of Laurel and Slidell are introduced with both physical details and glimpses of how they think. The paragraph ends with a wonderful simile and the choice of the word “poxy” to describe how the mushrooms fit in the scene changes a simple description to a metaphor with dozens of implications.Ron Rash's book is about loneliness, hate, and insecurity. Laurel has large, purple birthmarks on her shoulders and back, which the early twentieth century residents of Mars Hill, NC believe mark her as a witch, causing them to avoid her as much as possible. While shopping for fabric she speaks out when she knows she shouldn't, showing us her resentment, but also letting us know she doesn't want to be bitter. Chauncey Feith, a military recruiter based in Mars Hill is always trying to prove himself by demeaning others. World War 1 is going on in Europe, but Chauncey's role in it is an easy one. He tries to prove he's as good a soldier as anyone else, but we can feel his self doubt.The plot is the one area where I thought The Cove fell a bit short, especially when compared to One Foot in Eden. There are critical elements I had trouble believing. Laurel and her brother, Hank, take in a mute man who helps with work on their farm. They are too accepting of his story given Hank's war experience. Also the ending was too neat and depended on a coincidental event.Steve Lindahl – Author of White Horse Regressions and Motherless Soul
  • (3/5)
    Everyone raves about this book but I found it slow and rather predictable. I found myself just rushing to get through it so I could say I read the book, not because I was particularly enjoying it. Perhaps it was just a bit too quiet for me.
  • (5/5)
    Ron Rash has taken my breath away! Twists and turns, darkness and brutal humanity. Fantastic read and heartbreaking as well....
  • (4/5)
    I waited with some anticipation the release of this novel, and although I did enjoy it, I think that perhaps my expectations were too high. The language in this novel, as in Rash's others, is lush and transports the reader directly into the post-war North Carolina setting. The novel's characters were, for me, somewhat unevenly drawn and in some cases, predictable. The author's goal (as he stated in pre-release interviews) was indeed met as he shows the results of ignorance and prejudice, but the reader sees the ending almost from the beginning. Still, I would definitely recommend this novel to others as it is a pleasure to read Rash's prose, and it is a "good story."
  • (5/5)
    This bittersweet novel mostly takes place immediately before the end of World War I in an isolated cove in North Carolina. A brother, recently returned from the front minus a hand, and a sister, who has a birthmark that causes area residents to regard her as a witch, live together in their family's isolated cabin. Their father died while the brother was away. One day, the sister finds a man hiding in the woods playing beautiful music on a flute. A few days later the man is stung many times by wasps, and the two take him in to treat him and save his life. What they do not know is that he has escaped from an internment camp for Germans. He had worked as a musician aboard a German luxury liner that was stranded in New York's harbor when the hostilities caused the seas to become unsafe. Once the U.S. entered the fray, such were interred. Life goes on for over a year with the siblings none the wiser since the musician pretends to be mute, and a knowing neighbor protects the three. The book raises questions about just how effective our means of communication are. The narrow mindedness of some of the mountain people also shows its face in the book. It's an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.
  • (4/5)
    A love story, an adventure and a mystery, set in the Appalachians in North Carolina during the end of World War l. This book is beautifully written and though the setting is gloomy his descriptions come to life and you are immersed in the story. You are sorry when the two hundred and fifty pages come to an end.
  • (1/5)
    The worst ending to a book EVER.
  • (5/5)
    Laurel Shelton is considered a witch by some in Mars Hill, North Carolina because of a large birthmark. As WWI winds down Laurel lives at the family farm with her wounded veteran brother, Hank, who’s recently returned from France minus an arm. They live at The Cove, a dark spot by a river dominated by a sun-blocking cliff. It’s a feared place, seen as sinister by some, another reason Laurel is shunned.When Laurel finds a mute man, Walter, in the woods after he’s attacked by bees, she nurses him back to health and he stays at The Cove for a while to help Hank bring the farm back to working shape. Laurel and Walter come to love each other.The ignorance and fear that have made Laurel’s life lonely extends to anything remotely German. Chauncey Feith, a banker turned army recruiter has avoided the fighting due to his father’s influence. He stirs up “hun” hatred in Mars Hill, to the point of harassing a professor who reviewed postcards in German at the local internment camp for security issues. When a German internee, a civilian and musician – not a soldier, escapes the camp, Feith and the other local xenophobes make several fateful decisions.The parallels in The Cove to the internment of Japanese Americans during WWI and the current lasting and corrosive results of the war on terror are plain. Ron Rash’s writing is clean and beautiful. The Cove is a major accomplishment of writing.
  • (5/5)
    This wonderful book is a combination of Appalachian history, an unexpected romance, and the tragedy of World War I. It is woven with lush descriptions of the setting and with believable portrayals of the characters in the story. I can't recommend this book highly enough--read it!
  • (3/5)
    Quietly effective and quietly devastating. A well-written sense of setting; you can feel the darkness and coldness in the cove. A story about outsiders and small towns.
  • (4/5)
    A short but beautifully written story that perfectly evokes place (an isolated mountain community in North Carolina) and time (the last days of WWI). The ending is bittersweet, but satisfying.
  • (4/5)
    Laurel Shelton is a lonely young woman. Living alone save for her brother Hank in an isolated, deeply shadowed cove in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, she is shunned by the townspeople of nearby Mars Hill and feared as a witch because of a large purple birthmark on her shoulders. Hank has only recently returned from WWI missing one hand and he is fixing up the farm with the help of a neighbor, intending, Laurel believes, to propose to a local girl and bring her to live with them. Living in darkness and shadow and loneliness as she does, Laurel still dreams of sunlight and beauty, having had ambitions to become a teacher and move away from the cove—ambitions thwarted by her mother’s death and father’s long depression and illness. But when she finds a strange man in the cove, sick and feverish with hornet stings, and nurses him back to health, Laurel begins to dream once more—of love, and a life outside the cove. The man, Walter, plays flute like an angel but is otherwise mute, a note in his pocket claiming childhood illness. He falls into step with the siblings, helping Hank about the farm and playing his flute and falling in love with Laurel as she has fallen for him. However, Walter is not all he seems and harbors secrets of his own—secrets that could prove explosively dangerous to his new friends. Meanwhile, a cowardly and bombastic recruiter in town, Chauncey Feith, tries to prove his true worth by exposing supposed “Hun” spies in their midst. When the fires of xenophobia he has stoked collide with cursed Laurel, disabled Hank, and silent Walter, tragedy can be the only result.Atmospheric, taut, and expertly realized, The Cove is a tale of passion, fear, and superstition with clear parallels to the overheated political rhetoric of today.
  • (4/5)
    A story of small minded mountain prejudice reveals war and peace in a cove out past the back of beyond. The heroine, Laurel Shelton, is shunned by many in the fine, God fearing communities of Mars Hill College and Madison County, North Carolina. Laurel’s unjustified crime is being born under a bad sign with a mark so unsightly she is branded a witch. Laurel’s other unpardonable crime is being born deep within a dark and remote holler, a place so dark the sunlight don’t shine but in the middle of the day. Crops wither. Chestnut trees blight. Eventually, the community will drown the whole Cove and their communal memories will not be missed. Before that, the combination of isolation, physical and communal, reveal Laurel’s troubles run far below the surface. Still, there is peace in the cove. WW I is nearing an end. Ron Rash, introduces unexpected textures by weaving the little known history of Southern Appalachia’s German internment camps. Further intrigue comes ashore via New York City with the marooned crew of the world’s largest ocean passenger vessels, the Vaterland -- German-built vessel that was larger and more luxurious than the Titanic. Rash brings facts to the fiction and the result is a bewitching story. Don’t expect potions or spells, but do expect to wonder if the same human natures exist less than 100 years later.
  • (4/5)
    Living deep within a cove in the Appalachians of North Carolina during World War I, Laurel Shelton finally finds the happiness she deserves in Walter, a mysterious stranger who is mute, but their love cannot protect them from a devastating secret. Summary BPL" Cove: A small sheltered bay in the shoreline of a sea, river, or lake." Both Walter and Laurel need sheltering. They find it together in the "gloamy", secluded cove. The story pulls you into an isolated rural community at the time of World War I. Local boys have died at the Front or returned home sick and disabled. Hatred for the "Huns" and fear of potential spies is just the next level of xenophobia for people who abhor anyone/anything different. Townspeople have long believed that Laurel is a witch because she has a large purple birthmark. Feared, ignored and abused in town, she is deeply lonely, a prisoner of the home she shares with her brother in the cove. Until she discovers Walter.What Willa Cather did for the Great Plains, Ron Rash does for the Appalachian region of North Carolina. Geography is important to both; it shapes their characters and narratives, becomes an actor in the drama. I loved the Appalachian dialect; it never seemed staged or forced but rather brought me closer to the character's mindset.8 out of 10. For fans of rural fiction, Ron Rash and fine writing.
  • (5/5)
    This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book. Set in the Appalachians during WWI and hate towards Germans is running rampant with the help of one fervent recruiter Chauncey who is on a witch hunt for anything German. At the same time on a farm in the cove lives Laurel a young woman with a wine splotch birthmark that people in town say is a curse and call her a witch and the townspeople won’t let her go to school because she may harm their children. A superstitious lot they are, that makes for a lonely life for Laurel, she does have her brother Jack who is back from the war missing a hand but alive. When one day she hears the most beautiful flute music and sees a raggedy man a few days later she finds him covered in bee stings and brings him home. Walter recovers but seems to be a mute but that doesn’t stop sparks from flying between him and Laurel.I cared so much about these characters that towards the end my stomach was knotted with worry and when events played out I was bawling (should not have been listening to this at work!). This book evokes the times and the place I felt like I was there. It is a love story but so much more it is about the human condition and how people can be so incredibly hurtful towards others. I loved Laurel and felt so bad for the way she was treated and even though I figured out certain things about Walter, it didn’t matter, he was one of the few people to show a kindness towards laurel and I think it was what they both needed.Merritt Hicks’ narration was spot on her southern accent was great and her characters were all very distinct I always knew who was talking. I will definitely listen to this narrator again!As I said this novel is beautiful and heart wrenching all at the same time, this is my first book by this author and will not be my last! I think fans of southern fiction and historical fiction will like this one.4 ½ Stars