The Cove

A Novel
By: Ron Rash
Narrated by: Merritt Hicks
Length: 6 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (121 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling 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, heartrending tale, as mesmerizing as its award-winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.

©2012 Ron Rash (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absorbing Backwoods Mystery

Where does The Cove rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I rank this book among the top 5 I've listened to in the past 2 yrs.

What did you like best about this story?

The haunting and simple prose is remniscent of Carson McCullers' style. Characters are richly developed and you can feel their loneliness and longing. Detailed descriptions of the surroundings bring the settings to life.

What does Merritt Hicks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I was impressed with how fluidly she moved between different voices; seemless transition between male, female, old, and young.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I felt breathless for the last 20 minutes. Surprising ending to the eerie mystery introduced at the beginning. Don't want to add a spoiler alert.

Any additional comments?

Beautifully written prose where backwoods mystery mixes deeply developed & flawed characters with anti-immigrant sentiment from WWI and desire to find a place to fit in. Well worth the credit.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing story distorted by bad narration

Would you try another book from Ron Rash and/or Merritt Hicks?

Ron Rash-yes. Merritt Hicks-NO

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Merritt Hicks?

Merritt Hicks' interpretation of western North Carolina dialect was an auditory caricature which signified that she was altogether unfamiliar with the mellifluous, indigenous speech of that area. Her attempt with a German accent was even worse suggesting that she did not receive any coaching in the pronunciation of a foreign alphabet. If The Cove is recorded again, Cynthia Darlow would do an excellent job.

Was The Cove worth the listening time?

Until The Cove is recorded with a different narrator, I would not recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love Ron Rash!

Ron Rash tells a sad, beautiful story about World War II era Appalachia. This was a great listen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting historical fiction

I liked it a lot. It was especially interesting for me because I live in North Carolina. It gives a historical view of what it might have been like at the beginning of the last century.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Parallel themes in the Shelton Laurel Massacre

Would you try another book from Ron Rash and/or Merritt Hicks?

Yes

Did The Cove inspire you to do anything?

Read more Ron Rash books

Any additional comments?

To fully understand the meaning of the story (after you've listened to it), do an internet search for the Shelton Laurel Massacre. A different war; same issues.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Good start, very poor ending

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think people who also like Sharyn McCrumb's ballad series might find it enjoyable as its setting is the same.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I have not yet listened to Wolff Hall or Bring Up the Bodies, so probably Wolff Hall.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't think I had one.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This book could've been great, but the conclusion ruins it.

Any additional comments?

Not worth the time