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The Fallen Snow

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A gripping tale of self-exploration and atonement, emotionally complex and brimming with grit.

In the fall of 1918 infantry sniper Joshua Hunter saves an ambushed patrol in the Bois le Prêtre forest of Lorraine . . . and then vanishes. Pulled from the rubble of an enemy bunker days later, he receives an award for valor and passage home to Hadley, a remote hamlet in Virginia
Paperback, First Edition, 318 pages
Published December 19th 2012 by Stone Cabin Press (first published December 18th 2012)
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Elaine Warakomski This is a beautifully told story with emotions often so tense yet understandable. A slice of life for a soldier, forever changed, returning home to sm…moreThis is a beautifully told story with emotions often so tense yet understandable. A slice of life for a soldier, forever changed, returning home to small town life.(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  329 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“All blood runs red.”
― Phrase painted on the side of the plane flown by Eugene Bullard

When I read the book's blurb I was uncertain if I want to read it.
The Fallen Snow explores the emotional journey of a young infantry sniper returning to a remote mountain community reeling from war, influenza and economic collapse
It's a strong theme... and I KNEW it would be hard to read.
And it was.... but I'm glad I'm stubborn and when something call me, as this story did, I go on... and read up to the last pa
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book opens with Joshua Hunter, great war survivor, returning home to the Appalachian mountains to his home and community. He’s wounded both physically and psychologically – his nerves (what we now call PTSD) are shot to pieces and his memories are fragmented and fleeting. The small mountain community of Hadley is all to glad to have him back alive – his mother Elizabeth is ecstatic, his younger brother Scott is only too glad to have someone else in the family home as buffer / runner between ...more
Harry Lane
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a slow read in the best way. Kelley's prose is evocative, creating a sense of place. He builds tension from the very first, and it includes the contrast of war and peace, conflict between fathers and sons, and indeed the trials of finding one's true self. By the time you approach the end, you have to wonder how, or whether, things will all work out. Kelley's resolutions are touching, but without artifice. I am very glad to have gotten this book as a Goodreads giveaway. ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
I bought this book with no pre-conceived expectations of the story but mainly because I grew up in the area it took place. (Virginia highlands of course, not France) What a pleasant surprise I was in for. The first chapter begins with Josh returning home from WWI with a war injury and obviously PTSD. The chapters go back and forth between trying to fit back in at home after experiencing war and recollections of Paris, army life and battles. I was mesmerized from the beginning reading through the ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mr. Kelley's novel richly describes a young soldier's return home to Virginia after serving on the battlefields of France during WWI. The soldier's life is forever altered by the tragedies of war, and by a relationship that is beautiful in its subtlety. While the descriptions of the French countryside and wartime Paris are good, one of the novel's greatest strengths is the way it brings to life the forests and highlands of western Virginia and the characters who call the area home. There are his ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-kindle
I really enjoyed this book! I very rarely give a book 5 stars but I think this one deserves it. This is John J Kelley's debut novel but I never felt like I was reading a debut novel. From the moment I first started reading it I was hooked and wanted to know what Joshua was going through and what had happened to him in the war to make him feel as he did.

This book does carry a sad overtone to it throughout the entire book but it is well written so it hits the right note without being overly weepy
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. This is a book that will be read in literature classes, 200 years from now. Very well written and Kelly has set a very high bar for his next.
Please hurry.
Gerry Burnie
Gerry B's Book Reviews

4.5 bees

Review by Gerry Burnie
I have done a fair amount of research into WWI (1914 – 1918), and because of this I have developed a real admiration for the young men and women who fought and died in unfamiliar places like Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. It was hell on earth with the “mustard” gas, the relentless mud, the rotting trench feet, and the barbarity in general, and their sacrifices should never ever be forgotten. Because of this, Fallen Snow , by John
Well written, strong characters, a great read. And while I love a great sexy queer romance, there is a huge gap in realistic and non-sexual fiction that can rival the millions of hetero-romance novels out there. This book can stand up to those any day, with the likes of Sarah Waters or Emma Donoghue. I read through this book quickly, and was impressed with the narrative. The author obviously spent a significant amount of time going over historical details, and spent time developing and deeply un ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by John Kelley. I have a penchant for WWI era stories and this was pleasurable. The story goes back and forth between Joshua's time in the Army posted in the Lorraine region of France and his time after returning home to his small mountain town in Virginia. Another plus for me was the family dynamic and how the characters were all well written and came through the story with their voices. We often think that when we leave our homes and families that only we ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I got this book as a giveaway from the author. I had applied for it as it looked interesting and different. I did not realise what a treat had come my way. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. It gripped me from the start. The main character Joshua is developed from the start and becomes more rounded and attractive as the book goes on. The horrors of war are touched on but not allowed to overwhelm the main story which centres around Joshua and how he finds himself within all that is goin ...more
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
loved the writing style, set in Virginia, November 1918 - January 1919
our war hero, Joshua is home from France fighting in WWI, and reminisces over the past months overseas... the timeline of his past (written in italics) meets his present, and he is faced with dealing with the loss of his great love, a love of which his family would disapprove

his efforts to reestablish himself with small town Virginia life backfire, and... --I was dreading the ending as I am guilty here in thinking that one of
I received this novel as part of a preview reading from a friend. And I now just read it again in its final published form.

I love this book. The characters and settings captured my heart after the first pages. From Paris and Montmartre in wartime France to the mountains of rural Virginia, the settings are vivid and fascinating. But what I love most are the characters - I can relate so much to Joshua and fell in love with Claire. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a great coming of age s
Diane Moyle
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a very interesting and poignant story. It was about love found and lost and staying true to oneself. The plot was well developed and thought out. Although it would go back and forth from present to past, it was done in such a way as to make the story very understandable and to flow from beginning to end. It kept you wanting to know what was going to happen and what did happen.

For a great, page turning read, I highly recommend this book.
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wow! A very powerful story about the war to end all wars. Life was tough in that time period. People were not as accepting of different lifestyles, or even aware of how seeing and participating in the horrors of war could create such horrific internal hells in a person. John Kelley did a wonderful job in developing his characters. A very good read!
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I didn't like the back and forth between the past and present because I was so caught up with the characters. The character development had me hooked and Kelley's writing style was smooth and captivating. I wish there was deeper development of the father and less so with the war buddies, but this was a lovely read. ...more
Tam Williams
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This is a very moving storey. While it is set during WWI it is not a book about war, but rather a book about human lives and loves. The charachters have very real and relatable feelings and develop continuously throughout the book. Their happiness and pain resonste with the modern day. It was an enchanting read that I did not want to let go of, evem at the end.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love-and-war
This was one of the best books I've read dealing with love and war and the tragedy that can come from either experience or the hope and strength that one can gain by surviving either. Why this is not on the war time lists for gay romances I have no idea. There are 5 other books there that definitely belong but the lack of "The Fallen Snow" leaves too wide a gap in the list. ...more
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a young Virginian who grew up in a remote mining/logging community who escaped home to see Europe and fight in WWI. It is also the story of a young Virginian who returns home to his remote community profoundly changed by what he has experienced in the war. It offers some excellent insights on those experiences.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a book that I received from Goodreads. It was a story about love,loss and forgiveness. The story is told in flashbacks. It is about a soldier trying to make it back to living life in the now.
Susan Visser
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I loved the book. The story revolves around a young American soldier who enlists in WW1 where he discovers he is gay. The author very cleverly takes us through the time when Josh returns home after the war to his experiences during the war. Very well written! I highly recommend!
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having had a broken heart, I can only say that Joshua's story was absolutely beautiful. So glad I found this book. ...more
L. Eira
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Great love story with a wonderful historical background. Well written. A must read if you like historical (WWI) and/or love stories.
Kim Bullock
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Joshua Hunter, a young man recovering from a war injury, returns home to the mountains of western Virginia. Everyone expects him to pick up where he left off, but the war, and particularly his relationship with Aiden, a bold sergeant, has changed him irrevocably.

This is a beautiful, sensitively written debut novel about family, secrets, and the power of first love.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Name of Book: The Fallen Snow

Author: John J Kelley

ISBN: 978-0-9884148-0-8

Publisher: Stone Cabin Press

Type of book: Same-sex love, moments, World War I, forest, sniper, post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks, Virginia Hadley, 1918-1919, France

Year it was published: 2012


In the fall of 1918 infantry sniper Joshua Hunter saves an ambushed patrol in the Bois le Prêtre forest of Lorraine . . . and then vanishes. Pulled from the rubble of an enemy bunker days later, he receives an award fo
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, well written

I enjoyed reading Fallen Snow although books relating to war are not my usual go to books. The characters were likable and the story thought provoking.
Alisha Conkling
Feb 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the mountains. Joshua Hunter is a sniper in WW 1 in 1918. This story tells of his time at the front and also his return home to VA.
Jacqueline Goldstein
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I became engrossed reading The Fallen Snow, a tender love story set during the first World War. Fans of Downton Abbey may enjoy reading about this time from an American perspective. As the story begins,Joshua, the main character, is a country boy, a mountain boy, returning to his family after sustaining life-threatening wounds on the battle field. He needs to heal, both physically and emotionally. Joshua enlisted, in part, to get away from his family. He loves his mother, his very difficult fath ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Carbajal
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the better books I have had the pleasure of reading. Joshua Hunter, recent graduate of high school has volunteered for "The Great War" of 1814. He does so to escape the harsh realities of home and a father with high expectations of an elder son following/joining him in the quarry business. Joshua knows he's different somehow but it becomes clear when he meets Sargent Aiden who when first meeting Joshua feels a strong connection. A planned trip to Paris with close friend and nurse Claire, ...more
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John Kelley is a fiction writer crafting tales about healing, growth and community. Born and raised in the Florida panhandle, he graduated from Virginia Tech and for a time served as a military officer. Today John lives with his partner in Washington, DC, where he can often be found wandering Rock Creek Park when not hovering over his laptop at a local coffee shop.

John’s debut novel recounts the s

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