The Hermit of Blue Ridge

300 pages

Self-published on November 30, 2017

Amazon | Smashwords | Author’s Website

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’ve never been happier to not judge a book by its cover. {Update! It has a new cover which suits the story a lot better, so I’ve removed my complaints on that front from this review.}

The Hermit of Blue Ridge is an emotional, erotic, and beautifully-written tale of a writer with a walled-off heart and an artist with a tortured soul. The Amazon blurb touts it as haunting and evocative, and I’d be hard-pressed to find better words. Grossman lushly describes the perfect creative retreat: a cabin nestled high up in the forested mountains, surrounded by snow and solitude. The characters are crafted with just as much attention to detail – their emotions leap off the page, and I couldn’t help falling in love along with them. And the steamier scenes… well. Suffice it to say I was hooked from the first chapter.

Grossman’s writing chops are backed up by a fascinating storyline. I really enjoyed seeing Jeremy’s and Sarah’s pasts unfold and intertwine, and the way their artistic pursuits drove the story forward. There was nary a plot hole or loose end to be found, and the ending was poignant and utterly satisfying. I’m tempted to snap up some of the author’s other work (he has three other books out so far) after being so enthralled by this one.

I highly recommend The Hermit of Blue Ridge to adult readers of all stripes. I’m pretty sure there’s something in it for everyone.