Title: Down From Cascom Mountain
Author: Ann Joslin Williams
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Hardcover: 336 pages
From the Publisher:
Set in rugged New Hampshire in the aftermath of a fatal accident, this assured debut novel wrestles with grief and desire as a young woman finds her way over the course of one summer.
Ann Joslin Williams grew up observing the craft of writing: her father, Thomas Williams, was a National Book Award-winning novelist. Many of his stories were set in the fictional town of Leah, New Hampshire, and on nearby Cascom Mountain, locations that closely mirrored the landscape of the Williamses’ real hometown. With Down from Cascom Mountain, Ann Joslin Williams proves herself a formidably talented novelist in her own right, while paying tribute to her father by setting her debut novel in the same fictional world-the New Hampshire he imagined and that she has always known.
In Down from Cascom Mountain, newlywed Mary Hall brings her husband to settle in the rural New Hampshire of her youth to fix up the house she grew up in and to reconnect to the land that defined her, with all its beauty and danger. But on a mountain day hike, she watches helplessly as her husband falls to his death. As she struggles with her sudden grief, in the days and months that follow, Mary finds new friendships-with Callie and Tobin, teenagers on the mountain club’s crew, and with Ben, the gentle fire watchman. All are haunted by their own losses, but they find ways to restore hope in one another, holding firmly as they navigate the rugged terrain of the unknown and unknowable, and loves lost and found.
Down from Cascom Mountain by Ann Joslin Williams is the author’s debut novel and fictional tale of Mary Hall, a newlywed who relocates to rural New Hampshire to live with her husband. Williams gives her characters real, emotional, yet flawed personalities in this beautiful story of love, sudden loss, friendships and salvation. As readers witness alongside Mary the tragic death of her husband while hiking in the New Hampshire mountains, it is impossible to not feel the immediate grief that swallows Mary, yet the story takes readers well beyond the grief-stricken moment and into a place where friendships break new ground for salvation, healing, and perhaps love once again. Williams crafts beauty through her prose that not only captures the beauty of the New Hampshire surroundings, scenes that I can only imagine to be as beautiful as they are described, but the beauty in Mary and the people she encounters along this journey. As this book draws readers into the drama and experiences of these characters, they will also discover how Mary is not the only one to have suffered loss, and how lives traversing along disparate paths, often intersect at some common point, and that is where Williams has made an important literary step. I would recommend Down from Cascom Mountain to all readers and believe discussion groups would find interest in delving deeper into the experiences Williams has explored in her debut.
Ann Joslin Williams grew up in New Hampshire. She earned her MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She is the author of The Woman in the Woods, a collection of linked stories, which won the 2005 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, and her work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, the Iowa Review, the Missouri Review,Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She was the winner of an NEA grant for her work on Down from Cascom Mountain. Williams is an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire.
For more information about Ann Joslin Williams please visit her website.
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I received an arc of Down From Cascom Mountain by Ann Joslin Williams from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.