I have only one real complaint about Charles Frazier's book, Cold Mountain.
For me, the language of the book is the star. Frazier gives his characters and his narrator (what I assume to be) a lexicon authentic to mid-19th century, rural North Carolina. It was entertaining to read expressions that one would not hear today, and yet to find them not totally unfamiliar. The intertwined stories were interesting enough, with Inman's being a tale of determination in the face of danger and barely-averted disasters, and Ada's and Ruby's more a journal of self-reliance and self-discovery. The violence of Inman's journey is balanced by the slower paced struggle by the women against, ultimately, the same enemy.
My complaint is only about the final pages of the book. The reader spends 350+ pages wondering if Inman and Ada will ever get together and, if so, will the evil of the times, personified in the cruel Home Guard, allow their reunion to be happy and long-lived. When the smoke from this inevitable confrontation clears, the outcome is uncertain and our questions unanswered. Thank goodness for the epilogue! Frazier takes us ten years into the future presumably to tie up the loose ends of his captivating tale. However, he is deliberately slightly vague about what has happened to Inman. The reader can piece together the obvious clues and decide whether all is well or not, but the fact that the Frazier is only slightly ambiguous (Inman's name is never used) is what is troublesome to me. It left an aftertaste of false "artsy-ness," as if to use this device would turn his novel into "literature." It was unnecessary and unsatisfying.
All in all, though, the book is well worth the time invested by the reader. I look forward to Charles Frazier's next offering, as long as, in the meantime, he does not take up dressing in period garb and issue an album of himself playing fiddle ballads of the Civil War.