Book Review: Cold Mountain
by Charles Frazier

First posted in 2000

Frazier's first book explores life, love, and the land.

Sure, Cold Mountain has been in print for awhile. It's been in print about two and half years, so I'll grant you that. Many of you may have already read this wonderful novel depicting the long road home for a North Carolina boy during the Civil War. This review is for those of you who haven't yet picked up a copy. To those of you who fall into this category, I ask, "What are you waiting for?"

I must say that I've never been one to read Civil War historic fiction, but I enjoyed this novel tremendously. Perhaps it was because the book is set in the mountains of western North Carolina, one of my favorite areas of the United States. Maybe it's because I could relate to moving through the woods mile after mile, just as Inman does. It might have been that I related well to the female minds found in Ada and Ruby. Whatever the case, I found Cold Mountain to be an enjoyable read.

The novel depicts two primary characters: Inman, a wounded Civil War soldier, and Ada, the woman he left behind before the war. The chapters of the book alternate between their lives, depicting the long road home for Inman, and Ada's struggle to make ends meet after the death of her beloved father. A whole host of characters enter into their lives along the way, and the novel slowly brings the chapters closer and closer together, ultimately interweaving two stories into one.

I have heard from other readers of the novel that some feel the book moves slowly, especially during the opening chapters. I will say that the book possesses a surprising and unexpected ending, which some readers weren't entirely content with. Despite these aspects, I would recommend Cold Mountain to any historic fiction enthusiast or Civil War buff, anyone who loves the local history of western North Carolina, or anyone who's familiar with walking the southern Appalachians on foot. Cold Mountain is a book worthy of a place on your bookshelf.