Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Down From Cascom Mountain' by Ann Joslin Williams

She looked up again, up toward the mountain to the cliff, and up into the sky above to see where he'd come from, where he'd come down. She saw how far it was, the span from up there to where she stood.  All this time there had been her voice calling his name, and then it changed when she saw that distance. His name was in her mouth, but now it was a different sound, like a howl. 

(from Down From Cascom Mountain, page 35 in the ARC; finished version may be different)
Teaser Synopsis: 
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. 
Click here for more detailed synopsis

First thoughts after closing this book: I just want to stay here in this moment and think about these characters because I'm not quite ready to say goodbye...I'm still a bit worried for a few of them, but I know they'll be fine.

This book really impacted me and I have to say that I was surprised by how much I cared for the characters in this story. Without even realizing it, Ann Joslin Williams, drew me into their lives and weaved this web from which I could find no way out out. The mountain and the surrounding area that makes up a central part of this book came alive for me. I love the wildness of untouched forests and being one with nature. If you enjoy that type of book this one will sing loudly for you to read it. At first glance you really don't think any of the characters have a single thing in common, but after sitting back and letting myself absorb what I read,  I realized that no matter what age, sex, or life experience, grief can be a constant companion for any lost and hurting soul.

Mt. Washington, highest peak in NH
Recommendations before reading this book: Take a few minutes and look at some photos of the mountains and terrain in New Hampshire. Make sure that the sun is shining and that you can carve out a big chunk of time to read this book in one sitting. Trust me, once you get into it, you forget where you are and become totally immersed in the rugged beauty of New Hampshire and absolutely involved with the characters lives.

Recommend? Resounding yes! I loved this story...I was drawn into this one and didn't want to put it down until the last page had been turned. I really believe that Williams has a brilliant future in literary fiction!!

Rating: 9/10

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.
Visit Ann Joslin William’s website at

Author: Ann Joslin Williams
Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 325
Genre: Brilliant Literary Fiction
ISBN:  9781608193066
* uncorrected ARC was provided for review
Disclaimer:Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Hadn't heard of this book but I would have bought it for the cover, it really talks to me lol. So glad it's a beautiful story too, it's going straight on my wishlist.

  2. Wow, this sounds like a really great, powerful read. Beautifully written review

  3. I'm adding this to my wish list. I need a book for NH for my states challenge ;) I might have to wait a little to read it since I just finished Good Grief!

  4. Wowwwwwww....staci... this sounds amazing! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. I love the way you write reviews - there is so much poignant beauty and thought in them.

  6. I am not sure about it but you sure liked it :D Sometimes that is good enough

  7. I actually spend some time in New Hampshire once and it is gorgeous country. This sounds like an amazing story too and your passionate review makes it even more appealing.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful book. I'll add it to my list, Staci. I loved your First Thoughts.

  9. This is another, I'm not familiar with but it sounds really good. Glad u liked it Staci,

  10. This sounds like a book I would have passed over, but now I am really curious.

  11. This sounds like a very good book. Wow, it must be great if you gave it a 9 out of 10! Great review!

  12. You've made me really want to read this. I love NH; my family used to take vacations to the White Mountains every summer when I was a kid.

  13. Doesn't this book have my name written all over it? :)

    Glad you liked it so much!

  14. To me, it's a sure sign of a good book when you don't want to leave the characters. New Hampshire is a added bonus!

  15. This sounds wonderful and I LOVE the cover. Makes me want to go there right now!

  16. A book I'd love to read. I love mountains and fresh air and literary fiction!

  17. This book is completely new to me, and although I'm not in the mood for this sort of read right now, your recommendation means I will keep it in mind for the future.

  18. Holy moly! A 9 rating, that's fantastic. I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much. The cover alone is enough to draw any reader in.

  19. I really love the beauty of New Hampshire. I think I'd really enjoy this book!

  20. This book looks fabulous! I would live in the mountains if I could.

  21. I was curious as to what this book was about. This book really touched you and I love when I discover books that do that to me. Brilliant review Staci and thanks for the recommendation :)

  22. This was an amazing review that instantly made me want to read this book! I love books that draw me in and don't let go...I'm definitely going to have to read this one!

  23. This is the first I've heard of this book. It sounds fantastic! Great review!

  24. I love that you are still worried for some of the characters - that's a sign of great writing in my opinion, that the characters stick with you long after the last page.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  25. Ann J. Williams to me

    show details Jun 29 (3 days ago)

    Dear Staci,
    How nice to wake up this morning and find your lovely review of my novel Down from Cascom Mountain on your site! Thanks so much! I can't tell you how much I appreciate and value all the time and thought you put into reviewing books. It's really nice to know there are people like you out there. Your words on my words mean a lot to me.
    I hope all's well in your part of the country.
    My best,

    Ann Joslin Williams, Assistant professor
    University of New Hampshire

  26. I've not heard of this book and it is a sign of a good book when the characters impact you and stay with you. I'm adding it to my wishlist. What a lovely note from the author!

  27. Isn't it great when you read a book and care so much for the characters that you can't let go? Looks like I'm going to have to read this one too.

  28. Your comments on the characters draw me towards this book. I love when they feel real and you honestly care about them. Then, of course, reality reminds you that they are characters in a book. Ha! :)

  29. Thank you so much for sending me a copy of this novel, I loved it.

    I finally posted my review:


Hello Friends!! I want to take this moment to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and thank you for leaving me a comment.

* Because of the excessive spam I have decided not to allow anonymous users to comment.

Happy Reading!