Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rosewood Casket (Ballad, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Rosewood Casket (Ballad, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rosewood Casket

(Ballad #4)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,212 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from the cache of rosewood he has hoarded for the special purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, prepares another box for his burial—a small box containing human bones...
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Signet (first published 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rosewood Casket, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Rosewood Casket

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jackson Burnett
A number of intriguing elements intertwined through this book. The narrative lost focus about a third of the way through. McCrumb probably could have made this a masterpiece if she had set it aside and went back to it later for serious editing and reworking. It's really too bad she didn't.

Description: Randall Stargill lies dying on his southern Appalachian farm, and his four sons have come home to build him a coffin from the cache of rosewood he has hoarded for the special purpose. Meanwhile, mountain wisewoman Nora Bonesteel, Randall's sweetheart of long ago, prepares another box for his burial—a small box containing human bones...

A story containing angels. Nice series this, what with the local folklore and indiosyncratic inhabitants.

3* She Walks These Hills (Ballad, #3)
3* The R
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this story. I loved the feel of the book--like I was sitting on the porch in a rocking chair watching the clouds in the sky, listening to an old southern grandmother tell the story. It just had a really pleasant, easy-going feeling. But it wasn't just a pleasant, easy-going book. The story really moved along and I was never bored or tempted to skim. I liked the flashbacks that interrupted the story for just a minute and told some of the backstory. Instead of just being distracting ...more
June Ahern
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
My first time to read Sharyn McCrumb, but a favorite author of my sisters, so I read "The Rosewood Casket". The story starts out with clarity and promise. The prologue is intriguing enough to pull a reader in. Ms. McCrumb, very vividly, describes the wooded southern area and captures the people so well. I truly felt as though I was in the mystic and beautiful place. The story continues with an elderly man who lives alone and needs to be hospitalized His family, all sons and their wives, come fro ...more
Edward Sullivan
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
An engaging, intriguing mix of history, mystery and magical realism set in Appalachia.
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was ok

In a nutshell, this book is about how what goes around comes around; in the context of this novel, if you take someone's land, someone will eventually come and take your land (or the land of your future offspring). McCrumb uses the sad story of the Americas to illustrate a moral point, reaching back to Daniel Boone's days of European settlers stealing land from Native Americans (though somehow he's revered, right?) and following this thread to 20th century America, where a family -- presumab
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Rosewood Casket was recommended to me, for my love of magical realism. And I am very grateful for that recommendation! This novel is set in Appalachian Tennessee, basically a foreign country to me, but McCrumb details both the culture and the landscape in a beautifully poetic way.

At its heart, this is not just a story of the Stargill family, but of the timeless transition of land-tied creatures being forced to move, and indeed, of consequences. It's the story of Daniel Boone, the Cherokee, i
McCrumb, Sharyn - 4th in Ballad series

Old man Stargill is dying, and his four grown sons are called home to the small mountain town where they grew up to say good-bye and carry out their daddy's dying wish: that his "boys" build him a rosewood casket. But a dying man's wishes aren't the only problems the splintered Stargills are forced to face. Emotions ride high, and tempers flare because if it isn't a vulture-like land developer going after the family farm, or old lady
Jul 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed in this book. It started out with a very intriguing premise, and the characters, at first, felt very realistic and with quite a lot of depth. But about halfway through, I realized that nothing was really going to happen plot-wise, and the one big "event" that does occur happens to one of the minor characters that I couldn't have cared less about. The book has meandering side steps, going into detail about things like the inner thoughts of a random paramedic or doctor tr ...more
Dennis Fischman
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
This is a deeply resonant book about how secrets, silence, poverty, and war haunt two families and the whole Appalachian region. It’s also a continuation of the story of Nora Bonesteel, seer. All that is wrapped up in an installment of a police procedural series. Come for the detective story; stay for the novel.
Rachelle Kirby
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the way Sharyn McCrumb writes, her style is so unique and her stories always draw me in. I love the way she blends southern family drama, history, and supernatural elements. Nora Bonesteel is my favorite of all McCrumb's characters. My heart broke for Randall Stargill in this story at what it must be like to die sick and alone.
Bret James Stewart
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Rosewood Casket by Sharyn McCrumb is a wonderful amalgamation of mystery, Southern Literature, and ghost story bordering on Southern Gothic. My mother recommended this book to me, and I did not think I would like it much as I am not overly fond of mysteries, but I was wrong.

The overall story is about a dying man, Randall Stargill, and the gathering of his four sons, who are tasked with working in cooperation to construct the eponymous casket for their father. A mysterious woman arrives with
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I almost gave up on this book. To be honest I found the first half to be very boring. Some of the historical parts on the mountains & the American frontier was interesting but some was just tedious to read. As I stated before on a past reading update: This author sure has an obsession with Daniel Boone! lol I will say that I learned about who he was and that was sort of interesting. I can also tell by the author's writing that she loves her mountains! I read more about the author after readi ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
In the Appalachian mountains, a man lies down to sleep and doesn't wake up. He isn't dead yet, but he isn't far off. A handwritten letter instructs his four surviving sons to build a coffin out of rosewood and bury him on the land. With their wives and partners in tow, they set to, but there are tragedies all around them. The ghost of a young girl whose bones are delivered to them in a rosewood box. The slow death of a way of life as a land speculator schemes and manipulates to drive people out ...more
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My introduction to McCrumb's Appalachian ballad series. Loved its intermingling of current life, Anglo-Appalachian history and Cherokee belief. Stumbled across the book as my Mother was undergoing gallbladder surgery and the complication of a botched surgery.She almost died and I waited until I knew she was okay before suggesting this title. I told her that I felt it would have been extremely insensitive for me to send her this book by a writer I had just discovered, given the title, until I kne ...more
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sharyn McCrumb is fast becoming one of my favorite authors! The Appalachian Mountains are not one of the places I naturally gravitate to for reading, but this is the second (or maybe third) book of hers set in that area, and I like each one better. I especially like the character of Nora Bonesteel, who appears in each of these books. Nora has The Sight, and it always adds an interesting dimension to the plot.

This one, as they all did, ends in a way I would never have predicted. Did I like the en
Kirsty Darbyshire

Magic stuff. I forget how good a writer McCrumb is between books. She weaves history and culture and the real past together with a fictional present and comes up with unputdownable stories that become tales not just of a few characters but of the whole society of Appalachia.

This is the story of what happens when old man Randall Stargill is dying and his four sons and their partners gather at the family farm in the mountains to carry out his last wish, to build him the rosewood casket of the tit

Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved seeing our "favorite family history story" mentioned three times in the novel, and noting one of my ancestors' names in a quote by Daniel Boone. What fun! So my review may be prejudiced by that, but I really did enjoy this story and the historical references enhanced it. How the Appalachians were formed and how they've changed - the topography and the people and even the birds and animals - was very interesting. A good read.
If you're curious, the link tells the story of my great-great (e
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Rosewood Casket is a very interesting novel about true events of the Appalachian Mountains. I love reading books by Sharyn McCrumb because they are always so well written you feel you there during those times yourself. I have been to a couple of book signing she has come to in my area and she tells about her research she does before writing the novels. I highly recommend her books to any who like historical novels of the Appalachians. Also, if you get a chance to go to her book signings you ...more
Terry Southard
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much. An interesting story about an old man dying, his four sons coming back home for his death and funeral, and everything else that happens. It was good to run into Sheriff Arrowood and Deputy LeDonne again.

The author does a good job of weaving the past and present together, revealing just a little at a time. It keeps you reading on to find out "just one more thing". A quick read because of that.

I would recommend.
Love, love, loved this one! The Rosewood Casket had all the right elements of a great book for me. Namely, it has an Appalachian setting, dysfunctional family issues, and an engaging mystery element. I recommend this book for others interested in Appalachian family stories. You won't be disappointed.
Jul 14, 2016 added it
Met the lovely and earnest Sharon McCrumb at the Tennessee Library Association convention. She was enthusiastic about her research. I appreciate her literary contributions weaving history and legend of Appalachia.
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
I like Sharon McCrumb, and Nora Bonesteel is one of my favorite characters of hers. Her books are set in Appalachia. I remember reading this one a while back and liking it. Mystery, folk lore, tradition and change.
Jeanne Sheridan
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great book! It was a little slow at times, but the good character development and story line make up for it.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Enjoyable family mystery in Appalachians. Good sense of place.
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
hard to get into.. and ended kind of abruptly.
Konnie Maskell
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This is the fourth book in Sharyn McCrumb’s Ballad series that I have read and they just keep getting better. I enjoy character development and this author does an outstanding job of pacing what we learn about the recurring characters in her stories. In all the books I have read she also includes historical characters from the past so there is an element of the spiritual in the book as well. This series was published in the 90’s and Appalachia is a different place now, I like the era she is set ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the hills of Tennessee, a family comes together when the patriarch becomes sick. McCrumb explores the history of place as well as family as both the physical and psychological ravages of "modernity" destroy relationships and property. There's a bit of a love story, some exploration of the after-effects of war, some unraveling of the mystery of some bones. Overall, a good read, which left me with some unsettling thoughts about the destruction of our ecosystem and how just what family means ...more
I love Sharon McCrumb and her character Nora Bonesteel. What made me give this book a 3 star is that Nora isn't in the book more! We do find out a piece about her past but I missed her. Lots of reference to Daniel Boone stealing the land of the Indians and the karma of it happening to the families living in the Appalachian Mountains today. This is the story of a dysfunctional group of 4 brothers, their dying father and a casket with small bones in it. This was not her best novel and I wouldn't r ...more
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
I love the language and rhythm of McCrumb's books, all of them, including this one. The Appalachian manner, for lack of a better word, and the deep connection to the land resonates so strongly with me that reading her books is sort of like visiting home. My ancestors came from the mountains and I live in the very southernmost area of the Appalachians, so I suppose that explains why I fall into McCrumb's mountain books like falling into a mound of cozy blankets.

The only other author who affects m
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • In a Dark Season (An Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mystery #4)
  • Saving Grace
  • Home Fires (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #6)
  • A Brace of Bloodhounds
  • Where Echoes Live
  • Blanche Cleans Up: A Blanche White Mystery #3 (Blanche White series)
  • Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles, #6)
  • Liar's Market
  • Clay's Quilt
  • Murder Boogies with Elvis (Southern Sisters, #8)

    Sharyn McCrumb, an award-winning Southern writer, is best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including the New York Times best sellers The Ballad of Tom Dooley, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, and The Songcatcher. Ghost Riders, which won the Wilma Dykeman Award for Literature from the East Tennessee Historical Society and the national Audie Award for Best Recorded Books. The Unquiet Gra

Other books in the series

Ballad (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O (Ballad, #1)
  • The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (Ballad, #2)
  • She Walks These Hills (Ballad, #3)
  • The Ballad of Frankie Silver (Ballad, #5)
  • The Songcatcher (Ballad, #6)
  • Ghost Riders (Ballad, #7)
  • The Devil Amongst the Lawyers (Ballad, #8)
  • The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad, #9)
  • King's Mountain (Ballad, #10)
  • Prayers the Devil Answers