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The Cove by Ron Rash
The Cove of Ron Rash's novel lies deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. It's a dark and haunted place the locals consider cursed. Laurel Shelton has been ostracized by the townspeople who see her large birthmark as evidence that she's a witch. Laurel tries to scrape out a living in the cove, aided by her brother who has returned home from World War I missing a hand. One day, she finds a man nearly stung to death by wasps, and takes him in. The mysterious man is mute, but he still captures Laurel's heart and invites dreams of a happy future. Trouble brews in town, though, where self-appointed patriots are fearful of anyone they suspect of being a spy. The Cove has received mostly positive reviews with The Independent saying, "This is as patient, understated, precise and controlled a narrative as you'll read anywhere. These are not, perhaps, the most hip or cool qualities, but they are what make The Cove such an unmitigated joy to read."