I have just started reading Michigan’s most downloaded book “Serena” by Ron Rash. The premise of the book is promising – Serena moves to the North Carolina mountains with her new husband, George. She is pretty much the equal – if not in someways the superior – to the men around her. The year is 1929 and the crash that started the Great Depression has already happened. When we first meet the pair, Serena is, for lack of a better word, confronted by the father of the girl her new husband has impregnated. During a very quick tussle, George kills the father. Serena makes it clear that tthe now fatherless girl will receive no support from either her nor her husband. Prior to the fight, Serena actually says to the girl’s father, “You’ll not find a better sire to breed her with. The size of her belly attests to that.” Is that not just total arrogance? Your husband knocks a poor girl up and he shouldn’t be responsible for the child? Fine bred sire isn’t going to feed or cloth the child.
But, wait, there’s more. When told that the workers do not have any electricity: “It’s best that way,” Serena said, stepping back into the room’s center. “Not just the money saved but for the men. They’ll work harder if they live like Spartans.” She sounds like the selfish people if today.
I’m not sure if I can stomach this heroine. But, I’ll give it my best shot.