Render Unto the Valley

Render Unto the Valley

4.5 4
by Rose Senehi

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Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. This gutsy New York Metropolitan Museum curator returns to the mountains, only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. Descendants of the early settlers


Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. This gutsy New York Metropolitan Museum curator returns to the mountains, only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. Descendants of the early settlers still have a grip on the farmlands in the folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but the ground is shifting beneath their feet. Cousin Bruce sees life through the family's colorful past; a local conservationist keeps one eye on the mountains and the other on Karen; Karen's nine-year-old daughter is in the throes of the mission her dying father sent her on; and Karen is hiding the ugly secret that drove her away.

Editorial Reviews

Fred Chappell
"Render Unto the Valley is a many-stranded tale of three generations of a star-crossed family struggling to mend itself and preserve something of its rightful heritage. In the midst of this tempestuous story stands Travis Whitfield, as stonyhearted a bad hat as you are ever likely to meet. But the female forces arrayed against him are formidable. Are they strong enough to prevail? Read and you'll find out. But be warned:It's a breathless ride."-Fred Chappell, N.C. Poet Laureate Emeritus & Author
Asheville CITIZEN TIMES - Rob Neufeld
"Senehi offsets suspense with local preservation and history details, and delivers handsomely. As in a "Mission: Impossible" movie, Senehi pulls some punches in "Render unto the Valley" in order to guide her plot toward a prescribed end; but even late in the novel, there are some intriguing surprises. Ignore the archaic title and glib first paragraph... and enjoy the ride.
WNC Magazine - Josua Simcox
"Rose Senehi, author of the widely praised Blue Ridge Series of novels,
continues with her winning blend of romantic suspense and passion for
environmental conservancy in Render Unto the Valley...her talent for
authentic characterizations and high-tension plotting continue to grow."
Rapid River Magazine - Patrice Tappee
Using her own unique and descriptive writing style (reminiscent of Dean Koontz.) Senehi offers a well-conceived thriller and conveys a sense of breathless danger which escalates throughout. The book delights with an interesting cast of characters...and the heroine's rediscovered world where 'mountain roads either go up and around or down and around,' Senehi's storyline also twists and turns many times before surprising its readers at its final destination."
Midwest Book Review - Midwest Book Review
"A small town drama that speaks to the mountain life, Render Unto the Valley is an excellent and much recommended read, not to be overlooked."

Product Details

Blair, John F. Publisher
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Render Unto the Valley was winner of 2012 IPPY Gold Medal, Fiction-Southeast. This is Rose Senehi's sixth novel, and the third that takes place in the southrn Blue Ridge Mountains. Her fourth novel, In the Shadows of Chimney Rock, was nominated for the 2009 SIBA Book Award as the Best in Southern Literature. The Wind in the Woods, her fifth novel, was nominated for the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award in 2010. Senehi is noted for weaving environmental themes into her contemporary plots. A resident of Chimney Rock, N.C., she moved from Upstate New York in 1996. Her other novels include Pelican Watch, Windfall, and Shadows in the Grass.

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Render Unto the Valley 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
christytilleryfrench More than 1 year ago
Karen Godwell grows up ashamed of her Appalachian heritage. Karen does not know who her father is and her mother flits from one boyfriend to another, some of whom are abusive and from whom Karen tries to protect her brother and sister. After Karen's mother abandons her children, Karen and her brother and sister are raised by their grandparents, frugal people who are hard-working and expect the same from their grandchildren. Karen leaves her past behind when she goes to college and works hard at losing her accent and reinventing herself. Years later, she holds a prestigious job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and lives a luxurious lifestyle. After her husband dies from cancer, Karen learns her brother has placed her grandmother in a nursing home and taken all her money and property. She packs up and, with her daughter, moves back to the mountains, intent on making things right. But her brother harbors a dark secret about Karen, one she has tried to forget, and now Karen must decide whether to do the right thing concerning her grandmother or risk losing everything if the secret is told. Rose Senehi is known and appreciated for incorporating environmental issues into her stories which are rich with historical and geographical detail. Karen is a woman hardened by her earlier life with a chip on her shoulder and anger issues. However, one empathizes with her feelings about her past and her conflict over protecting a brother whom she loves yet knows is mentally unbalanced and evil at heart. The characters surrounding Karen are well-developed and it is interesting that several are based on actual persons. The cultural and historical aspects of the Western North Carolina Appalachian region are intriguing and a welcome bonus to this compelling story.
mysunshine281 More than 1 year ago
Render Unto The Valley was a captivating book. The author creates the characters so beautifully that you can really relate to them. From page one I felt for Karen, who had recently lost her husband, and her young daughter, Hali. Not only had they just lost the "man of the house" now they must leave New York to return to Karen's hometown. Karen returns to the mountain she tried so hard to escape to save her grandmother's land and home from her disturbing brother. The reader can't help but hate Travis, and be very scared that someone like this might exist. I also enjoy the way the author allows us to see many sides of the "story" without making it confusing. Each character flows so effortlessly, and well described, into the next that you never get the "tennis match" feeling of back and forth that you frequently get with many point of views. The family dynamic is very real in this book. The connections and emotions are well written. You'll definitely want to keep reading to know why Karen's grandmother went down hill so fast, to find out just how evil Travis is, and if Karen will return to New York or stay where her husband had wanted them to be. With plenty of thriller type action and very detailed scenery with a strong theme of protecting the environment,history, and culture this is a great story that will please many audiences. This is the third book in Rose Senehi's "stand-alone" Blue Ridge series. I highly suggest reading all of them. Soon, you'll find yourself wanting to leave the city life to follow the characters in Blue Ridge. I was not paid for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own and were in no way swayed. I was given a copy of the book for an honest review. Thank you for reading! -Melissa
bstelow More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Ms Senehi's books with genuine appreciation. Up until now I liked Pelican Watch best, but Render Unto the Valley moves her writing up a couple notches. Character development was very satisfying. I felt I knew them if I met them on the street. The story moves at a comfortable pace with just the right amount of conflict and suspense. The over all theme leads one to better understand our beautiful geographical resouces and the importance of protecting them. Overall I rate the book 5 star with the hope the she is already writing a sequel with the main characters included. I would have appreciated more pages. The read went much too fast. Bruce Stelow Pawleys Island, SC
Leanna-author More than 1 year ago
Rose Senehi's newest novel, Render Unto the Valley, evokes many emotions in the reader. We empathize with Karen Godwell, the story's main character, as she fights both inner and outer battles. Inner: her recovery from her husband's death from cancer, the knowledge that her efforts to cut ties with her mountain roots has failed, and memories of the terrible thing she did in the past. Outer: her move back to the family farm in NC with her daughter, Hali, and the ensuing battle with her psychotic brother over the family land. We feel her love for her daughter, the highs and lows of her relationship with environmentalist,Tom Gibbons, her sorrow over the situation with her grandmother, her feelings of both love and fear she has for her brother, Travis, but most of all, the inescapable pride she has in her heritage. I¿m a NC mountain girl, myself, and I understand the power of mountain heritage. It¿s a mystery that many people probably don't understand, but native western North Carolinians "get it." As a lover of books (both author and reader) I spend a lot of time with them and specifically love stories set in NC. I've read all of Ms. Senehi's novels and Render Unto the Valley is my favorite so far. She has successfully captured the power of the Blue Ridge Mountains within the pages of this book and I highly recommend it. Leanna Sain, NC author