Eking out a living on their patch
of land, siblings Laurel and Hank
Skelton keep to themselves until the arrival of an injured man breaches their physical and emotional isolation. Initially a source of happiness, his presence ultimately leads the trio into tragic conflict with their local community.
Set in North Carolina towards the end of World War One, this is a powerful story with hidden depths, perfectly matched to its
setting and incorporating surprising true events that occurred in the
Comments from Groups
Everyone in our group really loved this book. The writing was good and the story was so good. Highly recommended. [Raumati 004]
Six of us finished the book and we all loved it. We thought, although dark, this was one of the best books we've read this year. [Christchurch 238]
Enjoyed by everyone. Lively discussion - wide ranging. [Hamilton 038]
We all loved this book - very dark, but good writing. Could feel the cold and misery. Good writing, easy read. Surprised at the ending, didn't expect that at all. [Ashburton 016]
A great read, gripping, pacy and atmospheric. [Wellington 116]
The group was mixed. All enjoyed it up until a certain point but some felt it should have had a happier ending. Others were OK with the ending. Liked the writing style. Good book. Wellington 169
We found this book instantly engrossing. It was beautifully written, with complex issues of prejudice, superstition and a World War gathered into the simplicity of a tale of family and friendship. Within the sorrow and darkness, there was a thread of hope that we felt balanced the novel with a glimpse of human goodness. Auckland 166
A great read was the verdict on this novel. The setting is the Appalachian mountains, where its remoteness and inbreeding had led to a community riven with superstition and violence. We all felt great sympathy for Laurel and the appalling situation she found herself in. She is the epitome of grace under pressure. The cove itself was a character in the novel, and the descriptions of it sustained the atmosphere of dread and doom. Lower Hutt 004
We found the whole story quite depressing and sad. We were waiting for the happy ending....which didn't come. But it was interesting and not too long a read. Auckland 248
"Deliverance" country well delivered. We liked the way the writer disposed so simply of the main characters with such economy. The group liked the way the narrative "unpeeled". Excellent discussion and good questions. Christchurch 064
'The Cove' is a heartwrenching story of life in a small, quite isolated community where superstition is rife. The main characters are living a drab, subsistent existence with little to look forward to. The book was beautifully written, portraying not only the landscape, but also the hard life of its inhabitants. Our discussion was wide ranging and enlightening. We would recommend it. Paraparaumu 001
A very deep, hugely visual read. We were all totally immersed in the story, characters and the setting. We all felt we would like to read another one of his books. Te Pirita 001
A book that you can't get out of your head.
Really enjoyed this read.
Very well-written, but quite dark.
Book greatly enjoyed by all. Thanks.
Mixed feelings about this book - some liked it and some didn't, but overall no huge enthusiasm for it. It did trigger some interesting discussion, especially about male authors writing about women's feelings and experiences. Some liked the quality of the writing, and were interested in reading more of this author's work to see if they liked something about a different subject.
All the group members enjoyed this book which is pretty rare.
One of our group described this as a "dark" book, and yes, maybe it was, but that was the whole point. Well-written we thought, with prose that made us feel that we knew the Cove. Quite a discussion on the history of birth marks and the suspicions about them - so cruel! A very sad, unexpected ending. We recommend this book.
An excellent read - short, insightful writing. The reader is aware that someone has died but is kept guessing until the last few pages.
We generally enjoyed this book. Great descriptions - easy to picture 'The Cove'!
Everybody enjoyed this book.
Most of the group enjoyed reading the book and found the characters to be well-drawn and memorable. There was a lot of discussion around the geography of the cove and different interpretations of both the setting and the story, plus the psychological effects of war, superstition and ignorance. We found the ending to be unnecessarily bleak. Those that had gone back and re-read the prologue found it particularly poignant and perhaps an epilogue would have rounded out the story.