Saturday 9 March 2024

Book Review: The Ballad of Falling Rock by Jordan Dotson (Fiction)

Title: The Ballad of Falling Rock
Author: Jordan Dotson
Publisher: BHC Press
Publication Date: 24 September 2024
Pages: 368
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Fiction
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

Truth told, folks still ask if Saul Crabtree sold his soul for the perfect hymn. If he sold it to angels or devils. A Bristol newspaper once asked: “are his love songs closer to heaven than dying?” Others wonder how he wrote a song so sad, everyone who heard it died of a broken heart.

Yet, more than anything else folks ponder in the town of Trinity, one question lingers: why did this angel-toned preacher’s son, just as his fame seemed ready to light the Appalachian nightsky forever, disappear completely?

In 1938, the decisions Saul makes will alter his family’s story for generations. He and his eerily talented descendants ignite religious fear throughout Red Pine County. They navigate chapels, decaying sanatoriums, high school hallways, and a lingering myth from their Cherokee heritage that follows them wherever they go.

In the end, however, it’s Saul’s precocious grandson, Eli, who must find answers to these heartbreaking questions, who must enter this world rich in music and voices, where people die to hear the unspoken, and salvation is only found in the not-yet sung.


From the blurb, The Ballad of Falling Rock seemed like a good fit for me, but I ended up really struggling with this book. The first few chapters were okay, but as the story continued it felt more like a slog as I never really engaged with characters or the narration, and the story jumped around a bit too, so it sometimes took several pages before I caught up with what was happening. I can't easily specify that anything was 'wrong'; I just personally failed to engage with the work. I am therefore giving it 2 stars. It wasn't for me, but that's not to say other readers won't find it enjoyable.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

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