“Serena” by Ron Rash will be made into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in early 2015. Before you go to see the movie, you need to read this novel. “Serena” is a creepy, thriller book at its finest.
Protagonist George Pemberton has just returned to his North Carolina timber camp with his new bride, Serena. Serena is aware of her husband’s past indiscretions with camp workers but is willing to look past them for the promise of his undying love.
As they begin to make a life in the mountains, everything seems perfect. Business is great, they are making lots of money, and Serena is expecting their first child. However, the camp doctor makes a mistake, and Serena loses the baby. No one knows what to think when the camp doctor turns up murdered a few days later.
George is aware that his wife is a sociopath, but he manages to ignore it until Serena turns her hatred on one of the women he has been with in the past and their child. George will risk everything to get this young mother and her child out of Serena’s way. But will George manage to keep his own head in the process?
This novel will keep you up at night marveling at the fact that one person could be so cold. Beyond that, the novel is wonderfully written. Rash balances the horror and history in this novel so well it is almost seamless. If Rash would continue writing novels of this caliber, he would surpass Stephen King in the horror section.
In fact Lee Smith, who recently won an Academy Award in Literature, said of “Serena,” “Ron Rash’s “Serena” will stand as one of the major American novels of this century. It is a flat-out masterpiece-mythic, terrifying and beautiful.”