Inman, a Confederate soldier is wounded and on furlough at a hospital when he decides one day to just walk away from it all. He is healing and he knows that as soon as the doctors let him go he'll be back in Virginia fighting the Federals. Completely disillusioned by war and disgusted with the acts he's witnessed, he wants only to return to his home, Cold Mountain, and to Ada, the one he loves. Ada, a southern belle raised not to work suddenly finds herself in dire straits when her father, the preacher in Cold Mountain, dies. The help leaves and with the war raging in its 4th year there's no men around to hire and run the farm. Ada finds herself wanting to stay regardless and she begins to eek out a living and runs the farm while she waits for the end of the war and the return of Inman.
The book is saga-like in that 'The Road' way, though not as terrifying. The chapters alternate between Inman and Ada. Inman's journey is long, treacherous, and filled with not only sadness but pockets of hope. Ada continues on her chosen path though it is the hardest thing she's ever done. All the while the two think of each other and their reunion - and wonder at how they'll be perceived for all the changes that have occurred.
A richly written book that really captures that essence of America on the cusp of change. Some of the descriptions of injuries and battles can border on pretty graphic, but really they aren't half as bad as others I've read. And the ending, oh the ending. It's not at all what I wanted and I'm sure you'll agree, but it is probably the only way to end this story. I was heartbroken.
Superbly written. If you watched the movie, it followed the book pretty well. The book is worth the read, you learn so much more about the characters and they are definitely worth knowing.
A little wordy on the descriptions of the landscapes, but that plays into Inman's long walk home. More adventures than recounted in the movie. I love Ruby and her views on men and war. It's a very good book, and works as a love story, an "odessey" and as historical fiction that shows the reader what the civil war meant to individuals - women, soldier, outlier, slaves, families. Details about the home gaurd and some of the crazy-desperate people were really enlightening about a time that we so often aggrandize and only learn about from the history book perspective.