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.
About the Author
Ron Rash is the author of three prize-winning novels: One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; three collections of poems; and two collections of stories. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Serena and a recipient of the O. Henry Prize. He holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University.
Set at the end of World War 1 in the mountains of western North Carolina, Rash’s fifth novel explores what it means to be in love, what it means to go to war, and how these things serve to change the perceptions of our fellow human beings. Forthright, melodic, ballad-sad, The Cove is elevated by finely polished prose and a knowledge of the landscape that could only come from one of its own.