Cold Mountain

By Charles Frazier,

Book cover of Cold Mountain

Book description

In 1997, Charles Frazier’s debut novel Cold Mountain made publishing history when it sailed to the top of The New York Times best-seller list for sixty-one weeks, won numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award, and went on to sell over three million copies. Now, the beloved American epic…

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Why read it?

10 authors picked Cold Mountain as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

When Inman decides he’s had enough of the Civil War, he takes a very long walk home. Along his path, he encounters the detritus of the conflict in shattered land and people. Meanwhile, his love, Ada, tries to cobble together some remnants of her former life.

Maybe a book out of fashion these days because it’s set in the defeated South, and that I understand. However, it remains a masterclass in style, vision, plot, and insight. 

Cold Mountain tells the tale of two people separated and ultimately drawn inexorably together by the American Civil War in the 1860s.

We follow Inman, a wounded soldier, as he abandons the battlefield to make his way across the war-torn country to Cold Mountain, where his love Ada lives. She is trying to scratch a living from her dead father’s farm in terrible conditions.

The whole story is written in exquisite style, with the narrative moving forward as one stays still while the other slowly moves towards their joint goal of being together once more. Get those tissues ready for…

From Harper's list on beautifully sad love stories.

Cold Mountain chronicles the “odyssey” of W.P. Inman, a deserter of the Confederate army from a hospital near Raleigh to his fiancée, Ada, who lives on a farm in a rural mountain community in North Carolina. 

Although the story of Inman’s adventurous journey is filled with moments of human kindness, I felt even more connected to the storyline about the unlikely friendship between the sophisticated Ada, who is out of her depth on the mountain farm, and the homeless but resourceful Ruby, who joins Ada’s household, clarifying, “Money’s not it… I’m saying if I’m to help you here, it’s with…

A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

Book cover of A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

Mark Warren Author Of Indigo Heaven

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Who am I?

Author Composer Archer Teacher Grateful

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "Willima H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved the Kid... and others who despised him. Ride along with John Blessing as he unravels one of Western history's most fascinating enigmas.

A Last Serenade for Billy Bonney

By Mark Warren,

What is this book about?

In this deeply researched novel of America's most celebrated outlaw, Mark Warren sheds light on the human side of Billy the Kid, and reveals the intimate stories of the lesser-known players in his legendary life of crime. Warren's fictional composer and Santa Fe journalist, John Blessing, is assigned to report on a jailed prisoner who calls himself "William H. Bonney," but what begins as a formal interview evolves into an unexpected relationship and a self-examination of Blessing's own cultured, city values.

After the Kid's death, Blessing embarks on a journey to find Billy's comrades and acquaintances - those who loved…


Cold Mountain is one of the best of all Civil War novels, if it can be described as that; there are no battles of armies in the book, there is the Confederate deserter Inman, making his way home, in a hostile land,  to his beloved, Ada Monroe. He will get there, finally, but there is no peace here, either. Cold Mountain is an epic adventure story, and a tale of true love.  

The classic Civil War novel, Cold Mountain, is a beautiful but harrowing account of lives mangled in the crucible of war. I walked in the shoes of Inman, a soldier, going back to his home and sweetheart. He carries a serious wound in his neck but deeper damage to his conscience due to the violent acts that the war has compelled him to commit. His true love at home, Ada, has also been stripped bare by the war but is rebuilding her life with the help of Ruby, a brave waif who teaches Ada practical skills. From this book…

Frazier’s book, a serious novel rather than a potboiler, set during and after the American Civil War, nevertheless leaped onto the bestseller lists, then went on to win a National Book Award. Why? Reading the book is a profound experience. You are seamlessly taken back to the middle of the 19th century and engaged with characters whose poignant stories penetrate a reader’s heart. It’s both an adventure and a love story about a soldier on a fraught journey home and his lover’s story as she lives her own life close to the earth in a time before modern conveniences…

Cold Mountain tells two intertwined stories, often in alternating chapters: one narrative strand follows W. P. Inman, a wounded Confederate veteran who walks home to the North Carolina mountains; the second narrative follows the wartime life of Inman’s beloved Ada Monroe. In this way, the novel portrays both life in the army and life on the home front—equally desperate realities. The novel also studies the war through both masculine and feminine lenses. It is based in part on Homer’s Odyssey and is indeed epic in scope. Cold Mountain has remained an incredibly popular novel and was the basis for the…

For recent U.S. wars such as Vietnam or Iraq, there’s a considerable body of work both fiction and nonfiction that focuses on the travails of soldiers after the fighting ends. But this is a Civil War-era novel about coming home. It follows a Confederate deserter who leaves a Virginia hospital and sets out for his North Carolina farm. At times heart-breaking, at times uproariously funny, Cold Mountain addresses the weight of war, and the way that survivors are burdened with wounds both physical and psychological.

Like Gone With the Wind, this book was also made into an award-winning movie. I find the novel interesting because of the way Charles Frasier wrote it. There are no quotation marks in the book! I’m not sure why he chose to write it like that, but it’s interesting, nevertheless.

From J.D.R.'s list on the Civil War to gain perspective.

My own novel, The Abolitionist’s Daughter, has been compared to Frazier’s finely wrought best seller. Not for the trek of the wounded, disillusioned Confederate soldier back to his home in the Blue Ridge, but for the intrepid efforts of two women to survive in a world absent of men at war. Like The Abolitionist’s Daughter, Cold Mountain focuses on the deep inner strength and resilience of women left to till the land and make a life for themselves. In doing so, they discover the shared grief and immense strength in each other. Their unforeseen love stories enhance who they…

From Diane's list on little-known Civil War era history.

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