I’ve done a variety of “research” for one major item on my bucket list – writing my novel. I’ve registered for NaNoWriMo and other writing contests, stalked forums for authors, and read prolifically to follow Phillip Pullman’s advice to “read like a butterfly, and write like a bee.” Throughout my research, I’ve noticed there’s a great deal of emphasis put on the first sentence of a work, in part, I’m sure, because that’s typically included in a query letter sent to publishers. But I’ve yet to hear much emphasis on the last line of a work. Today I’m reviewing a book that knocked my socks off with what was, I think, the perfect closing line to a novel I’ve ever read. In addition to the excellent last sentence, The Cove by Ron Rash transports you to another time and place with writing that feels true to the character’s mind, and it keeps the reader guessing the final outcome.
While preparing for this review, I’ve been debating with myself whether it would be a spoiler to include the last sentence. I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone – I’ve already recommended it to all of my friends and will be letting one close friend have my copy – but I also want to share with you why the last sentence is perfect. Without the background of the story, the sentence has little to take away. In and of itself, the sentence is less than remarkable, as the lives of some of the characters themselves. But paired with the history of the characters and the story that was told, you have something that blossoms – like the pairing of a delicious meal with the perfect wine. Each on their own has relevance, but together they pack a punch second to none. Because it does have a bit of a spoiler in it, I won’t be sharing it with you today, but I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about the last sentence. Through it, and the story, I was completely drawn into the world that Mr. Rash had created in The Cove.
I wasn’t alive during World War I and I think I’ve only been to North Carolina once, but through the language and imagery that Mr. Rash used in The Cove, I was completely transported into another world and time. This novel deals with the aftermath of war, and a long-lasting war, one that is proclaimed endlessly to be almost over only to be drawn out again and again. I think anyone these days can relate to these topics. In addition to the topics that can be relevant today, I think he did an excellent job of writing as each character – the words used for Chauncey Feith differed from those used with Laurel, and it helped me to slip into each character as I read. It reminded me of the people who are able to read with a different voice for each character, and it made it easier for me to do the same. The writing had a pull that I may not be explaining clearly here that made it easy for me to read and appreciate the work.
Appreciating Mr. Rash’s novel was made much easier by the captivating writing and the mystery. The first chapter of The Cove sets the scene for a death. By chapter 3, I thought that I knew who died and who caused the death. In the middle, I wasn’t sure. By chapter 23, I knew I was completely wrong. It’s not often that a book completely surprises me, but that’s what The Cove did. Not only did I enjoy a World War I era mystery, which isn’t my “normal” genre, but it also kept me on my toes throughout. I definitely recommend this book – in fact, last week I gave my Facebook friends a heads up about how awesome it is to read.
If you enjoy excellent writing and a good mystery – even if you enjoy a good romance, this book is one that I would recommend. Reading it passes quickly, it’s not a tedious read, and the chapters are the right length to read while waiting for appointments or when you have a few minutes here and there. You could even read this book a chapter at a time before bed for 25 days. With the complex story, the colorful writing and the perfect last sentence, The Cove by Ron Rash is definitely a book that will stay on my shelf in between loans to friends.
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