If you have seen the movie, you know what this book is about and how it ends. If you liked the film and the idea of the story line, I highly recommend reading this book.
The story is set during the Civil War. It takes place in essentially two locations. One, is Cold Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the second location is wherever Inman is on his way back to Cold Mountain from the war.
I think this is a love story that has several loves. The first and most obvious is the love between Inman and Ida that had only just begun as Inman left for the war. Now, four years later he has decided to head home to see if Ida feels about him the way he feels about her. Meanwhile, Ada who never felt any man up to her ideals, pines for Inman for reasons she can't quite understand.
The second love in the book is the love that Inman has for Cold Mountain. The language used to describe the mountain for which he pines is spectacular. I felt like I could smell the mountain and could easily visualize each area that Inman would dream about. Ada also begins to love Cold Mountain, most specifically, Black Cove where she lives. With the help of Ruby, an extremely capable, no-nonsense young woman, Ada begins to learn about the land and how to sustain herself with the land. Ada was raised in the city and for the period of time where she and her father lived in Black Cove, they had hired hands to do the work of life. When her father dies and the hired help leave, Ada is clueless about caring for and feeding herself. She wears dirty clothes because she doesn't know how to do laundry. Ruby saves her life and then starts her on a journey of discovery about herself and the land she learns to love.
This book does a really good job describing the way that the Civil War affected both the people who fought as well as those on the periphery. It was an awful war and many people died because of the war who were probably never even counted in the totals of the dead soldiers.
This was a great book and I enjoyed it very much.