A 5-star rating from ForeWord Reviews
Advances as Finalist for 2012 Book of the Year Awards
“from the heart, honestly and without frills . . . a timeless tale” ★★★★★ - ForeWord Clarion Reviews
“They’d want the old Joshua. It’s what they’d expect,” a soldier returning from the First World War sighs as he makes his way back home to a small town in the mountains of Virginia. Like so many returning from so many wars, Joshua is not whole, in body or in spirit. He is one of those, as his sergeant warned, for whom the war “will leave scars that never heal.”
Just how deep those scars run is the mystery woven into John J Kelley’s touching period novel about a veteran seeking to deal with memories of his service. Half of the story is told in flashback . . . (though) there is more to The Fallen Snow than a wounded combat veteran haunted by the horrors of war, mourning for lost comrades, or suffering survivor’s guilt. These emotions are part of the fabric that makes up the main character’s personality and story, but Kelley’s stricken hero, Joshua Hunter, holds within his heart yet another secret: The memory of a forbidden love that few in his native Appalachian town would suspect, let alone understand or accept.
Kelley’s characters are . . . believable . . . human. In Virginia, there is the girl he left behind, the kid brother who idolizes him, the doting mother, and the grumpy father he can never please. In France, there is the bold former Foreign Legion sergeant, the winsome war widow refugee-turned-nurse, and the typical buddy who befriends Joshua in training and the trenches. The relationships between the nurse, the sergeant, and Joshua create a poignant love triangle—and Kelley is coy about revealing which pair are the true lovers. . . . Kelley’s characters are introspective, and when they speak it is from the heart, honestly and without frills.
The real story here is about a soldier trying to come back to a place where he no longer fits in, and about the family and friends who only slowly come to realize that he is no longer “the old Joshua.” Although The Fallen Snow is in part a tale of romantic love between two men, it is also in many ways a timeless tale of men changed by war . . . .
March 4, 2013
★★★★★ – ForeWord Clarion Reviews