Author: Cary Grossman
Title: The Hermit of Blue Ridge
Genre(s): Science fiction; Fantasy; Paranormal and urban
Haunting, sensual, heart-wrenching
Taking a wide scope lens, this book will provide you with a gripping story of a middle-aged man who has been jaded by various tragedies throughout his life. His first love was unexpectedly lost and after her demise, he has been searching for the same emotional rawness from a relationship, but has been unfortunate in his search. Until, one day a young woman quite literally stumbles into his hidden cabin that is buried far up the Blue Ridge mountains. If you are sensitive to large age gaps in romantic relationships, then this novel will likely send you into a doozy because Jeremy Woods finally reaches the end of his search when Sarah provides him with the zest for life he has been searching for. As someone who does have a mild sensitivity to large age-gap relationships, there were some scenes that made me cringe, but it was mostly due to the writing of the scene. When a 40-something man is thinking of a young woman pleasing herself as "childlike," I cannot help but feel a bit queasy and repulsed. However, this happened infrequently throughout the story and Sarah's character does maintain a high level of maturity due to her own life's journey. When their sexual encounters were not compared to youth behavior, they were described as sensual, romantic, steamy, and meaningful. It was quite clear they have an inspiring connection that stems from physical arousal.
The Hermit on Blue Ridge has a very eerie feeling to it that lends itself as a genuine thriller. Sarah's ability to remember the brutal rape and murder of Priscilla as if she lived through it herself is truly haunting and will leave readers with a chill that only the most gripping stories possess. As for characters, Jeremy is first portrayed as a sullen, broken man who has channeled his heartbreak into successful story-telling via best-selling books. Cary gives us a glimpse into Jeremy's writing as he begins the journey of his latest novel. Readers also get a satisfying level of insight into his past, specifically with Priscilla and how impactful their relationship was on Jeremy's current state. After Sarah makes her entrance, Jeremy comes back to life and his fervor is established the longer Sarah stays with him. It was interesting to witness the dynamic between Sarah's youthfulness and naivety and Jeremy's experience and bitterness. Their differences make for a good balance with intermittent explosions of chaos; although the chaotic bouts are mostly due to Sarah's unwanted connection to Priscilla. My favorite part of the novel was learning more about Priscilla through Sarah's paintings and nightmares. I found her to be intriguing and the desire to discover why the connection stood between the two young women kept me interested. That being said, I definitely think there could have been major scene cuts. There were periods throughout that were difficult to push through because I felt I was reading the same situation over and over. However, the parts that were engaging definitely kept me on edge.
Author Jeremy Woods has found perfect isolation, high in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he can write in peace--until a strange, strikingly beautiful girl crashes into his cottage, and his life. Showing up at his door during the worst blizzard in recent history, the girl is half-frozen from exposure, with dangerously frostbitten fingers and toes. The roads to town are too inundated with snow to seek medical care for her--Jeremy's cottage rests 8000 feet high, with no other shelter for miles. How could the girl have survived the journey on foot? At first, Jeremy is intrigued; the girl displays remarkable talent, able to create stunning sketches with almost photographic detail. Her work soon takes on an eerie quality, however, matching that of Jeremy's first love, Priscilla--a hauntingly original artist murdered at the tender age of eighteen--to the most minute detail. Even more troubling is Jeremy's growing attraction to the girl, whose name is Sarah. As they grow close and Sarah starts painting, Jeremy realizes something is terribly wrong--Sarah's portraits, while brilliant, include disturbing portrayals of Priscilla's abduction and homicide. A haunting, evocative love story, Cary Grossman's fourth book of speculative fiction depicts two damaged people struggling with the ghosts of their past in the hope of keeping the comfort they have found in one another.
I am a lover of the written word. This is my space to pursue my love of reading through book reviews and literary discussions with my fellow readers.