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The Fallen Snow Paperback – December 19, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
"In a gripping tale of self-exploration and atonement, Kelley's debut skillfully evokes the unpredictability of life in 1918 through mesmerizing descriptions and fully realized characters. Joshua Hunter volunteers to fight in the Great War to escape his rural Virginia home, becoming a respected sniper in wartime France. Unfettered from his close-knit Appalachian community's expectations, he develops a growing quietness and strength despite the ugliness of war. Returning home a crippled war hero, Joshua feels the old familiar expectations becoming more onerous. And even an engagement and job offer cannot erase the past, the echoes of war, and a well-guarded secret. Kelley's novel is emotionally complex and brimming with grit. Told in a plainspoken manner through parallel story lines--the present in Appalachia and the past in France--this story will appeal to readers of coming-of-age stories with a historical bent." -(starred review)
"Kelley's characters are believable . . . human . . . introspective, and when they speak it is from the heart, honestly and without frills." -Clarion Reviews (★★★★★)
"Quiet is an accurate description of how the story unfolds, but the impact of Joshua Hunter's journey is huge. He is a character you will carry in your heart." - Jocosa Wade, Jocosa's Bookshelf
"a timeless and timely novel of the physical and emotional cost of war" -San Francisco Book Review (★★★★★)
"How many of us can genially manage to pretend to be something we're not? This novel offers up that lesson perhaps better than anything I've ever read." -Historical Novel Society
"A universal story that delivers its message that love can never take root inside the head, but in the heart." -Jill Wisoff, Unabridged
"Neither a war novel nor a coming-of-age novel nor a romance novel - it is simply a novel worth reading." -Lisa Jones, 300 Word Book Reviews
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Top customer reviews
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While this book is historical fiction, Joshua's journey could actually be set in any time period and be just as compelling. And while there is a gay romance in "The Fallen Snow", this is more a human story that anyone should be able to relate to. These two factors speak highly of the authors writing. I will be reading this book many more times knowing I will get something from it each time I read it. Can there be higher praise for any novel?
This is a beautiful, sensitively written debut novel about family, secrets, and the power of first love.
Before I go into the story itself, I must make note of how the voice of this novel is so spot on to the time period in which it is set. Kelly takes great pains in insuring that all of his words ring true, to not only setting, but, character as well. When Elizabeth speaks, you will never confuse her with Mrs. Dalton. They each have their own view point and their own voice. This is something that few authors seem to pay attention to, yet, Kelly makes it a hallmark of his first novel.
As for the actual narrative, the depth of understanding of what a torture finding love would be like for two men in the early 20th century is remarkable: the passion of a fleeting touch, the meaning of an simple hand on the back, or just a glance to say all those things that dare not be spoken aloud. Also, by avoiding the words gay or homosexual or any other synonym for that matter, the author shows the universal nature of love, making the gender of the characters almost mute.
It is such an unusual love story, too, in that it is not only about the beautifully powerful relationship between the main characters, but, so many other loves; mother and father, dad and son, friendships, family, the many different shapes that this most precious of emotions can take. Even the exploration of the love of two brothers, Scott and Joshua, is so eloquently written, one cannot help feel its pull. Then in true simple elegance, all of these stories are wrapped up under a beautiful blanket of fresh fallen snow.
To be totally redundant, I highly recommend buying this novel.
Actually, I recommend purchasing two...one to keep and one to share.
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