From the press release: "This powerful and atmospheric novel takes place in the North Carolina mountains during the final year of World War I. The story revolves around a sister and brother, Laurel and Hank, whose family home in an isolated cove is darkened by cliffs, ridges, and local superstitions.
"The Cove is American historical fiction at its best. The writing is lyrical and the novel is rich with symbolism, yet the prose does not overshadow the story. Rash’s use of regional language adds depth to the characters and never strays toward ridicule... With a light touch, Rash balances anti-German sentiment and America’s increasing impatience with the war."
Steve Wiegenstein's Slant of Light (St. Louis, MO: Blank Slate Press, 2012) received an Honorable Mention.
From the press release: "This well-written debut novel describes the travails of a utopian colony in southern Missouri during the late 1850s. At a deeper level it is also a meditation on the decline of order – social order, sexual order, and political order – all clearly delineated but with no causal explanation other than 'homo homini lupus.' Man is a wolf to man, and probably an ample reason ... Congratulations are due to Wiegenstein for this lovely book on a neglected border state and also are due to the new small press that published it."
[Read my review of Slant of Light here.]
The prize shortlist for 2012 comprised the following five historical novels:
The Cove, by Ron Rash (Ecco)
A Good Man, by Guy Vanderhaeghe (Atlantic Monthly)
San Miguel, by T.C. Boyle (Viking)
Slant of Light, by Steve Wiegenstein (Blank Slate)
True Sisters, by Sandra Dallas (St. Martin’s)
For more on the prize see the Langum Charitable Trust. To submit a novel for consideration, view the directions available at the site. The prize is awarded annually to the "best book in American historical fiction that is both excellent fiction and excellent history." Past years' winners include Julie Otsuka's The Buddha in the Attic, Ann Weisgarber's The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Edward Rutherfurd's New York, and Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter.