Cold Mountain has been my entertainment during my commutes for the last couple of weeks. It is a story set in the time of the Civil War and mostly set in the Mountains of Virginia. It describes the challenging experience of living during this time period of the American Civil.
The novel describes the parallel experiences of Inman (a war deserter) and Ada (a young woman living on Cold Mountain). The couple’s fledgling romance is interrupted by the Civil War. Inman experiences death and despair in a war that he does not agree with. When he is hospitalized due to injury, he defects from his troop and begins the arduous journey back to Ada. Along the way, he meets brutal individuals out for blood and seeking outliers. He also benefits from the kindness of strangers who care for his wounds, feed him and provide him with shelter during his journey.
Ada experiences her own hardship. As the coddled daughter of a minister, she has lived a sheltered life of leisure, reading and painting. When her father dies suddenly, she has no idea how to manage their home and land or even look after herself. After a time of struggle she meets Ruby, a poor girl, who had been neglected by her father. She is resourceful and capable. She teaches Ada to work and look after the land. The two form a fast friendship and work together to maintain the farm interacting with their own interesting cast of characters. Eventually Inman and Ada are reunited leading to both pleasure and sorrow.
This novel contrasts hardship and despair with kindness and hope. It describes a time when life was a struggle yet people helped each other and lived off the land. I enjoyed the description of the mountains that we drive through on our trips South but can’t imagine living in such a challenging period of time.
Listening to audiobooks breaks up the monotony of my drives and I enjoyed the recording. I did struggle at times with the author’s soft Southern accent which was difficult to comprehend at times and a bit monotone. If anyone is interested, this audiobook is available from the library.