James (JD) Dittes I would recommend Rash's other historical novel, The Cove. It's themes aren't as grand, but the scenery is. Other regional novelists in this vein are Willa Cather, John Steinbeck and Wallace Stegner.
Melinda Charles Charles Frazier. Nightwoods and Cold Mountain. Set in Appalachia, excellent writing.
Leslie I haven't read this book, but am currently reading his short stories. Cormac McCarthy, a wonderful author, comes to mind. A good start is "All the Pretty Horses."
Emily Zaslow Hourihan I loved it, too. I also read Ron Rash's brilliant short story collection, "Something Rich and Strange." Same beautiful prose, all the stories are set in the same small town, some in the present, some in the past, some way back as the Civil War. Aptly named.
Donna I am listening to The Cove. I just discovered this author. Try Silas House or Charles Frazier. I remember reading a book called Bloodroot by Amy Greene I believe. I am going to listen to Serena after I am finished with The Cove.
Alicia I love Ron Rash's way with words, and also Sue Monk Kidd (The Mermaid Chair, Secret Life of Bees, Invention of Wings, etc) and Walter Wangerin (like his short stories, Ragman and Other Cries of Faith).