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Render Unto the Valley

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Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she once had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. Now, a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum, she returns to the mountains only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. She must straddle the divide Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she once had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. Now, a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum, she returns to the mountains only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. She must straddle the divide between the staunchly independent mountain culture she comes from and the sophisticated world she had become a part of, while wrestling her dangerously cunning brother for the farm. Cousin Bruce, the town historian, sees life through the family's colorful two-hundred-year past; a handsome local conservationist keeps one eye on the mountains and the other on Karen; her nine-year-old daughter is determined to succeed in the mission her dying father sent her on; and all the while, Karen tries to keep buried the ugly secret that drove her away.


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Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she once had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. Now, a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum, she returns to the mountains only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. She must straddle the divide Karen Godwell isn't as much ashamed of her mountain heritage as of what she once had to do to preserve it. She reinvents herself at college and doesn't look back till her clan's historic farm is threatened. Now, a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum, she returns to the mountains only to come face to face with who she was and what she did. She must straddle the divide between the staunchly independent mountain culture she comes from and the sophisticated world she had become a part of, while wrestling her dangerously cunning brother for the farm. Cousin Bruce, the town historian, sees life through the family's colorful two-hundred-year past; a handsome local conservationist keeps one eye on the mountains and the other on Karen; her nine-year-old daughter is determined to succeed in the mission her dying father sent her on; and all the while, Karen tries to keep buried the ugly secret that drove her away.

30 review for Render Unto the Valley

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Steinle gummel

    Render Unto the Valley by Rose Senehi is a first reads win and I'm giving my honest opinion. Karen, a widow, is curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. She has a 9 year old daughter, Hali. When trouble back home beckons her she gives up her job and returns to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Kentucky. Her brother put their grandmother in a nursing home and put everything grandma owned into his name and he's selling her furniture and heirloom dishes and glassware. Karen's sister Amy is be Render Unto the Valley by Rose Senehi is a first reads win and I'm giving my honest opinion. Karen, a widow, is curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. She has a 9 year old daughter, Hali. When trouble back home beckons her she gives up her job and returns to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Kentucky. Her brother put their grandmother in a nursing home and put everything grandma owned into his name and he's selling her furniture and heirloom dishes and glassware. Karen's sister Amy is beside herself. Karen goes to the lawyer handling the conservatist land acquisitions. He drew up an easement for her grandmother but gave it to Travis. Tom's feeling really bad about it. He tries to help her. Tom ends up getting a date with her and blows it. The same with the second and third. Hali keeps trying to help her mom with Uncle Bruce. Amy's husband ends up with grandmothers last diary. What will be revealed?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Bock

    I live in Asheville and I loved reading this book about local places and families that I know of. I am also a sucker for good triumphing over evil. This isn't a difficult read and would be great for the beach. I'm looking forward or reading more of Rose Senehi's books. I live in Asheville and I loved reading this book about local places and families that I know of. I am also a sucker for good triumphing over evil. This isn't a difficult read and would be great for the beach. I'm looking forward or reading more of Rose Senehi's books.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol Trott

    This was a very good book. It kept my interest and the descriptions of the area around Lake Lure, NC, made it even more interesting. A bit of mystery and a bit of romance all in one easy to read book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    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 Tr 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

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    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 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike Heyd

    I wanted to like this book; one always does when winning a free book in a Goodreads drawing, as I did this one. I did enjoy reading it, but not as much as I hoped to. The book reminds me of Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott novels, being set in the same part of the country. Both authors share a knowledge and love of the place and the people that comes out clearly in their work. I've struggled for a month to articulate why I didn't like this novel more. The best I can say is that it seemed to I wanted to like this book; one always does when winning a free book in a Goodreads drawing, as I did this one. I did enjoy reading it, but not as much as I hoped to. The book reminds me of Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott novels, being set in the same part of the country. Both authors share a knowledge and love of the place and the people that comes out clearly in their work. I've struggled for a month to articulate why I didn't like this novel more. The best I can say is that it seemed to lack a certain "polish" that more experienced writing displays. The pacing seemed a little off, too much happened in the protagonist's mind instead of coming out in the story's events, and Karen's dark secret in her past wasn't very surprising or particularly shocking. Most dissatisfying, I think, was a certain awkwardness of style, which again makes me think "unpolished." Using "eke" as an intransitive verb, for example, doesn't seem creative, merely irritating. This is not a bad novel, and many readers will enjoy Rose Senehi's books. But it could have been so much better. I expect that as Rose's writing matures she will gain many new fans.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara Lynott

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received the book for free from Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Sometimes you think that you are so strong and nothing can get in your way, until your world comes crashing down on you. Sometimes you have to go back to your roots and begin again so that you can heal. I loved this book so much! The history that was intertwined with the story of Karen who is a recent widow and a single mother is so great. Karen thought that while her husband was passing was the fight of her life. Then she receiv I received the book for free from Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Sometimes you think that you are so strong and nothing can get in your way, until your world comes crashing down on you. Sometimes you have to go back to your roots and begin again so that you can heal. I loved this book so much! The history that was intertwined with the story of Karen who is a recent widow and a single mother is so great. Karen thought that while her husband was passing was the fight of her life. Then she receives the news that her Grandmother is in a nursing home and her very evil brother now has control of her estate. She knows that something isn't right and she moves herself and her young daughter Hali back o where she grew up to put an end to it. Karen finds love in all sorts of unexpected places and with a man she can't believe has come into her life. She is also haunted by her past and how she tried to erase it and live another life. In the end she starts to reconnect with her past and how good it can be to be back home and in a community that loves you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Grant

    Great simple and well written story. I have enjoyed both of my Senehi reads tremendously and look forward to the next. Reading Rose Senehi's stories is very interesting, calming, and when finished with either a day's read, or the book, you get this feeling of tranquility that compares with a bubble bath and nice glass of French wine. I will have to add for the non-North Carolinians that the gentle history and well described settings from the Beautiful North Carolina Mountains is not only a bonus Great simple and well written story. I have enjoyed both of my Senehi reads tremendously and look forward to the next. Reading Rose Senehi's stories is very interesting, calming, and when finished with either a day's read, or the book, you get this feeling of tranquility that compares with a bubble bath and nice glass of French wine. I will have to add for the non-North Carolinians that the gentle history and well described settings from the Beautiful North Carolina Mountains is not only a bonus, but may be the best part. We don't call NC "God's Country' for nothing......... Senehi's books takes you back to that place in your heart and/or memory that brings up a nostalgic memory that reminds you of just what might be your 'purpose' in life. I would like to thank my dear friend Patty Levins for the gift of bringing Rose Senehi into my reading life and for personalization added to make this gift truly 'mine'.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

    I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.... I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was a very entertaining, decent read that was hard to put down. The author does a wonderful job writing it and the storyline flowed together perfectly. The ending left you hanging and begging for a sequel. My only issue with this was book that it felt like I was reading the average book from the genre. The characters, the plot, (almost) everything from so typical and already used I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.... I enjoyed this book thoroughly. It was a very entertaining, decent read that was hard to put down. The author does a wonderful job writing it and the storyline flowed together perfectly. The ending left you hanging and begging for a sequel. My only issue with this was book that it felt like I was reading the average book from the genre. The characters, the plot, (almost) everything from so typical and already used. The only unique thing about the book was how the author touches up on the history of the location that this book takes place. If that wasn't included in this book, then my stars would have been down to a 2.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Render Unto The Valley by Rose Senehi Goodreads Author Karen Godwell grew up in the Hickory Nut Gorge, they lived a hard and poor life. She attended college and became a curator at the Metropolitan Museum. She returns to the mountains to help preserve generations of farmlands. She has an ugly secret she has been hiding for years. I was amazed at the twist and turns of the story. You will have to finish this one, little sleep for the reader! I loved it and highly recommend this one. This is a new a Render Unto The Valley by Rose Senehi Goodreads Author Karen Godwell grew up in the Hickory Nut Gorge, they lived a hard and poor life. She attended college and became a curator at the Metropolitan Museum. She returns to the mountains to help preserve generations of farmlands. She has an ugly secret she has been hiding for years. I was amazed at the twist and turns of the story. You will have to finish this one, little sleep for the reader! I loved it and highly recommend this one. This is a new author to me and I look forward to more of her books.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chuck McGrady

    I liked the book in large part because I know the area depicted and the characters in the book were much like people I knew. It is really tricky to write a book set in contemporary times with real people having roles in the storyline, but Senehi has done a good job depicting a portion of south Buncombe and north Henderson counties.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Wow,this book was great! I won it on Goodreads,and now I have to get the other books in this series. I absolutely loved this book....I love the authenticity you feel when reading this book...I felt like I was there! The only thing I can't figure out is what happened to Angie? I was hoping maybe she would actually talk to Karen & Hali....maybe in the next book? Wow,this book was great! I won it on Goodreads,and now I have to get the other books in this series. I absolutely loved this book....I love the authenticity you feel when reading this book...I felt like I was there! The only thing I can't figure out is what happened to Angie? I was hoping maybe she would actually talk to Karen & Hali....maybe in the next book?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Claire Barfell

    This was a very good book. I felt so sorry for Karen losing her husband and then when she goes back to her childhood home,her brother is such a terrible person and she tries to save her grandmother. This story has everything - mystery, romance and it is a good family saga. I would definitely like to read more of Rose Senehi's novels. I highly recommend this book. This was a very good book. I felt so sorry for Karen losing her husband and then when she goes back to her childhood home,her brother is such a terrible person and she tries to save her grandmother. This story has everything - mystery, romance and it is a good family saga. I would definitely like to read more of Rose Senehi's novels. I highly recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Burma Turner

    I won this from Goodreads. This was a very well-written novel. I got so caught up in the story, I had to know what was going to happen. The characters are so believable, you feel as though you know them. I will definitely check out this author's other novels. Highly recommend! I won this from Goodreads. This was a very well-written novel. I got so caught up in the story, I had to know what was going to happen. The characters are so believable, you feel as though you know them. I will definitely check out this author's other novels. Highly recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This is a really good read that holds your interest. However this is one book that begs for a sequel !!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rd

    I enjoyed reading about many areas that I've visited, the history was interesting. I enjoyed reading about many areas that I've visited, the history was interesting.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bee Pierce

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Coffey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suzan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joy Adams

  22. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Camp

  24. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Cline

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Collier

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Fisher

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gladys W. Green

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

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