The Bobcat
Haunting and lyrical, The Bobcat is Katherine Forbes Riley’s magical debut novel in which Laurelie, a young art student who suffers in the aftermath of a sexual assault, has grown progressively more isolated and fearful.She transfers from her busy city university to a small college in rural Vermont, where she retreats into her vivid imagination, experiencing the world through her art. Most comfortable in the company of the child for whom she babysits, and most at ease in the woods, Laurelie has shunned any connection with her peers.One day, while exploring the woods, she and her young charge encounter an injured pregnant bobcat – and the hiker who has been following it for hundreds of miles. In the hiker and his feline companion, Laurelie recognizes someone as reclusive and wary as herself. The hiker, too, finds human companionship painful to endure, yet he is drawn to wounded Laurelie the way he is drawn to the bobcat.As Laurelie moves toward recovery and reconnection she also finds her voice as an artist, and a sense of purpose, maybe even a future, comes into sight. Then the child goes missing in the woods, threatening the bobcat, the hiker, and the fragile peace Laurelie has constructed.With the hypnotic intensity of Emily Fridlund’s The History of Wolves and Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest, Riley has created a mesmerizing love story, in lush, gorgeous prose, that examines art, science, and the magic of human chemistry.

The Bobcat Details

TitleThe Bobcat
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 5th, 2019
PublisherSkyhorse Publishing
ISBN-139781948924092
Rating
GenreFiction

The Bobcat Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!perhaps you will observe that this book is under 200 pages and you will think to yourself, “my word! what a short book! i will read it quickly and be able to make some headway towards my reading goal for the year!”this… is not the book for that.yes, it is a book short in length, but it is a deliberate, descriptive book with very little dialogue, and it needs to be savored and sat with — rushing it will only ruin its mood, and in this book, mood and atmosphere are the dominant fea NOW AVAILABLE!!!perhaps you will observe that this book is under 200 pages and you will think to yourself, “my word! what a short book! i will read it quickly and be able to make some headway towards my reading goal for the year!”this… is not the book for that.yes, it is a book short in length, but it is a deliberate, descriptive book with very little dialogue, and it needs to be savored and sat with — rushing it will only ruin its mood, and in this book, mood and atmosphere are the dominant features, more central than character or even plot. obviously there is a plot, there are characters — it’s the story of a young woman’s gradual healing after a sexual assault causes her to retreat from her life; switching colleges, moving from the city of philadelphia to the woods of rural vermont, becoming skittish and self-protectively removed from society — her only company a pair of cats and the little boy she babysits, until she meets a hiker, his dog, and the titular bobcat, and is drawn out of her fear and isolation back towards companionship, trust, and recovery. but it’s a slow-dawning journey, and there’s a lot to absorb.the natural world, particularly the nurturing aspects of the natural world, is the primary focus, and the events of the novel unfold mirroring nature’s steady, inevitable timetable. there is much in laurelie and in her tentative relationship with the hiker that suggests the woods’ atmosphere of hushed suspension, a sense of things stirring beneath the soil, both restless and inexorable.the writing is gorgeous and vivid, and i especially love the way riley describes laurelie’s art — it made not-so-artsy-fartsy me really want to see these pieces realized. but even the most familiar situations are made all fresh and shiny when laurelie’s artist’s view of the world combines with riley’s thick prose:… her vision broadened again, deluging her with an accumulation of fresh detail. The motions of the hiker’s fingers opening the other package. The angle his neck made bent, as he worked his way in a few starved bites through one half of the enormous sandwich it contained. The depth of umber where his elbow creased as he folded the rest of it carefully away, and the rigid climb of muscle up his sleeve when he stuck his hand through the open truck window and pulled out a new canvas ball. Already the dog was scrambling to its feet and tearing away down the lane, and now she perceived what she hadn’t before, that these were the first intricate steps of a ballet. Dog running, hiker waiting, timing it before throwing the ball so low and fast that it shot past the dog and struck the ground exactly a foot ahead, and then the dog snapping it up without ever breaking stride and circling back to drop it at the hiker’s feet.it is a damn good debut, reminiscent in many ways of All the Birds, Singing, and i’m looking forward to reading more by this author — and seeing laurelie’s art pieces made into their own book, please!!come to my blog!
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley clocks in at 160 pages. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself (like I did) - "Well, that's cool. I can breeze through this book, and add an easy notch to my reading goal for the year." Unfortunately, not so. With this special book, you find yourself trudging through waist deep waters of gorgeous language, which deserves to be savored. There is very little dialogue as the two main characters are recovering from individual traumatic experiences and find healing The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley clocks in at 160 pages. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself (like I did) - "Well, that's cool. I can breeze through this book, and add an easy notch to my reading goal for the year." Unfortunately, not so. With this special book, you find yourself trudging through waist deep waters of gorgeous language, which deserves to be savored. There is very little dialogue as the two main characters are recovering from individual traumatic experiences and find healing in the environment they have relocated themselves to; as well as each other. I urge you to read the story of Lorelei and the hiker that she finds one day in the woods. It reminds us all of how human relationships can bring not only love, joy and companionship - but, healing and new beginnings as well.Thank you to Netgalley, Skyhorse Publishing and Katherine Forbes Riley for the opportunity to read and review this book.Review Date: 5/31/19Publication Date: 6/4/19
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Life soon becomes a snare that entraps us when least expected. But it is the breaking free that visits the wild in all of us.Katherine Forbes Riley weaves a tale unlike what you've been accustomed to in ordinary fiction. She combines earthy prose with untapped human emotions rarely voiced. The Bobcat turns the first pages with the fingertips of Laurelie. Laurelie, an art major, is leaving behind a horrendous experience from the previous Fall in Philadelphia. The endless miles to start fresh in M Life soon becomes a snare that entraps us when least expected. But it is the breaking free that visits the wild in all of us.Katherine Forbes Riley weaves a tale unlike what you've been accustomed to in ordinary fiction. She combines earthy prose with untapped human emotions rarely voiced. The Bobcat turns the first pages with the fingertips of Laurelie. Laurelie, an art major, is leaving behind a horrendous experience from the previous Fall in Philadelphia. The endless miles to start fresh in Montague College in Vermont hardly blur the same reoccuring snapshots of being sexually violated at a frat house. Laurelie rents a small cottage off campus and submerges completely into her art. She sits daily in a local store sketching people that enter and exit. Her art finds its way into creative panels of action emulating the style of Klimt, Gauguin, and even Andy Warhol. She rarely makes eye contact with anyone except her art advisor at the college who encourages her to keep enhancing the panels.But out of necessity, Laurelie strikes a deal with her landlord to babysit her two year old son to help offset the cost of rent. It is here that the story rises to a new level. Katherine Forbes Riley moves away from encasing her characters with cumbersome names. The young ward is known as "The Boy" who will ease Laurelie back into the sense-engulfing world of nature away from the cottage. They explore winding pathways and curious ponds filled with insects and small creatures. Each day finds Laurelie letting down her guard and welcoming small adventures.One day The Boy notices a young man sitting near a tent and approaches him. He will be known as "The Hiker" who will play such an integral part in this story. He reveals a hidden place in the woods where an injured bobcat lay ready to give birth. The little group is awestruck that the bobcat allows them to approach even after the babies are born. It is this thread of deep connection that will permeate throughout the telling.The Bobcat is to be savored and read with the simple expectation of human nature in its healing, its renewal, and its quiet desire to gently be understood. Like the patterned veins on each leaf, so different from one another, and yet so vital for the growth and the vitality of the whole of its parts, The Bobcat will leave you with a continuous place to revisit in your thoughts after the last page.I received a copy of The Bobcat through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Katherine Forbes Riley and to Skyhorse Publishing for the opportunity.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    Laurelie is an art student more comfortable on her own, and even more so after experiencing a sexual assault. She relocates to finish college and encounters a hiker who is even more connected to the natural world than she is. Healing through nature, finding a voice in art, the power of connection.... And just enough strangeness to keep me guessing. I'm still thinking about the end.I received an eARC of this debut novel courtesy of the author through NetGalley.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    The Bobcat is a pretty special debut from author Katherine Forbes Riley. The Netgalley synopsis describes the novel as "haunting and lyrical", and I'd say that's pretty spot on. We follow Laurelie, a college student and art major who has just transferred to a new college after being sexually assaulted. Her new college is in rural Vermont, and she spends her time creating art and looking after the son of her landlord and landlady, a young boy called Rowan. One day when Laurelie and Rowan are in t The Bobcat is a pretty special debut from author Katherine Forbes Riley. The Netgalley synopsis describes the novel as "haunting and lyrical", and I'd say that's pretty spot on. We follow Laurelie, a college student and art major who has just transferred to a new college after being sexually assaulted. Her new college is in rural Vermont, and she spends her time creating art and looking after the son of her landlord and landlady, a young boy called Rowan. One day when Laurelie and Rowan are in the woods they spot the bobcat of the title, and meet a young male hiker who has been tracking the pregnant bobcat. What follows is Laurelie's journey to recovery - through her relationship with the hiker and his family and her own art.My only criticism of the novel is that it felt too short -it would've been great to spend more time with Laurelie and experience more of Forbes Riley's writing. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this one. Thank you Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ❤️
    January 1, 1970
    What a unique little book! The Bobcat is quite short in length, but packed with a lot of story, and is essentially about a young college student who, in the wake of a sexual assault, transfers to a college in a small Vermont town and chooses to interact with very few people aside from the two-year-old son of her landlord whom she babysits, and a mysterious hiker she meets in the woods close to her tiny cottage.There is very little dialogue throughout the book and is heavy on recounting and descr What a unique little book! The Bobcat is quite short in length, but packed with a lot of story, and is essentially about a young college student who, in the wake of a sexual assault, transfers to a college in a small Vermont town and chooses to interact with very few people aside from the two-year-old son of her landlord whom she babysits, and a mysterious hiker she meets in the woods close to her tiny cottage.There is very little dialogue throughout the book and is heavy on recounting and description. This can be a difficult thing for authors to pull off, as I've found that often books written in this style can become tedious to read and can almost feel monotonous in tone. But here I found that the writing was actually very soothing to me, and in a way read kind of like a fable. I think this has a lot to do to with one of the main settings of story, which is the woods, and so lent a lot of that earthy atmosphere I love in folklore and fairytales for me to conjure up in my mind's eye.What I really appreciated about The Bobcat (and yes, there is an actual bobcat that features in the story, don't worry) is that it's a story about a survivor of rape that doesn't focus on her attacker or the crime. There is nothing about the character of Lorelei or what happened to her prior to the beginning of the book that is gratuitous or that makes her character feel like the only characteristic she has is that of being a rape victim. Rather, it's about how she navigates life afterward; her process of healing (sometimes without even realizing she's healing), and she is undoubtedly a multifaceted young woman. At times the story went places I couldn't have expected (this is not a twisty book by any means, however), but it somehow made sense. And it kept me on my toes given there was such a small amount of back and forth to keep up with otherwise.This was a really refreshing read, as it's quite different from the usual, and I'd highly recommend it for those who like their literary fiction to be filled with lovely, absorbing prose.(Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read an advanced copy of The Bobcat in exchange for an honest review.)
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    Strange, beguiling, and really rather beautiful.
  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    "The Bobcat" is the story of Laurelie, a young woman, who upends her entire life after suffering a sexual assault. She just wants to feel safe again and leave everything behind. She runs to a small Vermont town where she hopes to be fully ensconced in classes. When she takes on a job watching the son of a school official, it will change the course of her life. I really enjoyed this story! The characters are great. Laurelie starts out not wanting to put herself out there. She is content to live i "The Bobcat" is the story of Laurelie, a young woman, who upends her entire life after suffering a sexual assault. She just wants to feel safe again and leave everything behind. She runs to a small Vermont town where she hopes to be fully ensconced in classes. When she takes on a job watching the son of a school official, it will change the course of her life. I really enjoyed this story! The characters are great. Laurelie starts out not wanting to put herself out there. She is content to live in the small, isolated cabin that she is renting. She throws herself into work and the care of her young charge. I really felt for her reading what she had to go through. The way that the author writes her plight and her feelings and flashbacks really got to me. The secondary characters are great as well like the hiker who shakes Laurelie's life up when he enters. The chemistry between them is oh-so-good and really great to read. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold.While I loved the story, I really enjoyed the writing of the book. Riley definitely has a unique way of writing and it really carried the story. One thing that I noticed is that at first the author really does not use any other characters' names in the book. It was a really interesting choice and by my own interpretation, it felt like it signified Laurelie not wanting to interact with the world. It is easier for her to refer to others as the child or the bobcat or the hiker. Giving things or people names feels much more personal and she is not ready for that when the book opens as she is struggling with her own memories. The writing is also really lovely in many places throughout the book such as when the author is describing the woods that surround Laurelie.This was a great book and I really am looking forward to seeing what else the author writes!
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  • Angie Kim
    January 1, 1970
    I love gorgeous prose and magic realism, and the two combined together make for an amazing reading experience!
  • Megan Collins
    January 1, 1970
    In this beautiful book, Katherine Forbes Riley gives us a love story between two people living in relative isolation in the woods of Vermont. While Laurelie struggles to move past a sexual assault from her recent past, an enigmatic hiker follows a wounded bobcat and ends up pulling Laurelie out of the panic and darkness that hangs heavy over her life. In addition to being a moving story of healing, resilience, and love, THE BOBCAT includes so many lush and exquisite details that make the setting In this beautiful book, Katherine Forbes Riley gives us a love story between two people living in relative isolation in the woods of Vermont. While Laurelie struggles to move past a sexual assault from her recent past, an enigmatic hiker follows a wounded bobcat and ends up pulling Laurelie out of the panic and darkness that hangs heavy over her life. In addition to being a moving story of healing, resilience, and love, THE BOBCAT includes so many lush and exquisite details that make the setting of this novel leap from the page. It also includes a line that, in my opinion, perfectly encapsulates the gift and challenge of being a teacher in the arts. As Laurelie steps into teaching duties herself, she muses how “each student was like a puzzle, finding the right artists to show, the right words to deconstruct their art and make it open up, so the student would see it working just like his or her own.”
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  • Melanie Golding
    January 1, 1970
    The novel is richly observed, the depth and detail of its description a particular strength. It has been described as ‘immersive’ and I’ll tell you why: you will lose yourself in this book. The words and sentences are enough to keep you turning the pages, even if the story were less than the fascinating tale that it is. The main character has been raped. The arc of the novel tracks the ways she comes back to her body after this trauma, and especially in the beginning the prose effects a kind of The novel is richly observed, the depth and detail of its description a particular strength. It has been described as ‘immersive’ and I’ll tell you why: you will lose yourself in this book. The words and sentences are enough to keep you turning the pages, even if the story were less than the fascinating tale that it is. The main character has been raped. The arc of the novel tracks the ways she comes back to her body after this trauma, and especially in the beginning the prose effects a kind of distancing; as the book goes on the reader is gradually allowed closer to the personal aspects of Laurelie’s internal life. The Bobcat of the title first appears in the same scene as the Hiker, who experiences physical sensations that might be described as cat-like; he is super-sensitive, to sounds, tastes, smells, physical sensations, and to Laurelie. Disaster strikes more than once in this evenly-paced and entirely absorbing novel, leaving the reader gasping to know the outcome. The ending is perfect.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Atmospheric, unusual, and lovely. It was like... slowly becoming human again. The Name of the Wind reference caught me off guard, and I loved it.
  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those fable like books that got to me and made me think. Some lovely writing about a difficult subject -- a young woman traumatized by a sexual assault who doesn't identify or accuse her abuser, but internalizes her pain and becomes more and more reclusive. Her trauma is indicated by her identification of those around her as types, which she incorporates into her graphic art panels. A truly original approach to the me-too movement.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'But she was still herself, though with a torn apart feeling now, that of once again breathing alone.'Laurelie is still reeling after being sexually assaulted, haunted even by the images of the of crowded Philadelphia, the menace she senses everywhere. University in the city is no longer tolerable, though she tried to navigate her old life, new habits took over, fear of seeing her attacker. The trauma is ingrained in her very skin, and she can’t via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/'But she was still herself, though with a torn apart feeling now, that of once again breathing alone.'Laurelie is still reeling after being sexually assaulted, haunted even by the images of the of crowded Philadelphia, the menace she senses everywhere. University in the city is no longer tolerable, though she tried to navigate her old life, new habits took over, fear of seeing her attacker. The trauma is ingrained in her very skin, and she can’t seem to overcome her fear of human interaction. She decides to transfer to Vermont where she can work on her panels and become a sort of ‘cave animal’ herself. Surrounded by nature, working as a sort of nanny to a two and a half-year old boy, son of her landlord and landlady, she spends most of her time outdoors, letting the beauty of her surroundings and her charge’s wonderment feed her artistic belly. Their interactions are more visceral, as she sees him as a half possessed being, still not fully formed with opinions and thoughts it’s much easier to be in his unthreatening presence, but then she sees HIM. A hiker and a wounded wild bobcat, stranger is that the animal seems to be cuddling up to the man!Curious about the hiker and his bond with the wounded animal she finds herself reaching out to him, offering to let him wash his laundry, which sounds simple to most of us, but for someone suffering a form of PTSD it’s like a leap off a cliff. Her cats seem to like him, you know what they say about animals being the best judge of character…As the little boy grows and begins to ‘seek order in things’ Laurelie tries to see the world through his point of view. There is such beauty in the simplicity of childlike observations, and it’s well written in the relationship between them, their jaunts in the woods, his words just beginning to emerge. Curious about the hiker and his bond with the wounded animal she finds herself reaching out to him, offering to let him wash his laundry at her place, which sounds simple to most of us, but for someone suffering a form of PTSD it’s like a leap off a cliff. Her cats seem to like him, you know what they say about animals being the best judge of character…There is a stillness in him, his approach is cautious, gentle as he senses the fear living inside of her. It isn’t long before she is seeing the land through his eyes too, how he understands the environment down the very ‘root systems’ of plants. He has peculiar ways, senses things on a much higher level than others. Senses that are highly attuned, much like an animal’s. He is stirring more than her desire, her art is flourishing, working on her panels to sort through the chaos that is still lingering from Philadelphia and all that took place there, too she begins to feel she is always ‘waiting for him’. If she retreated from the world, he is drawing her out, as much as her art is a means to siphon the poison from her soul. Then Rowan, the boy, disappears off the trails and the bobcat’s existence comes into question.The novel speaks more in the moments between people and nature than actual conversations, which can lose some readers. I think the writing is beautiful, and I understand why there isn’t meant to be a lot of dialogue, but there were times I longed for it. This is a quietly restless novel, you absolutely feel the anguish of her rape without anyone needing to shout. Sometimes retreat is louder, and staggeringly heartbreaking. The art as healing as release and the surroundings as a balm, all of it feels true. I enjoyed The Bobcat, was saddened, hopeful and always engaged. A unique debut.Publication Date: June 5, 2019Skyhorse Publishing'Arcade Publishing
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  • Dorie
    January 1, 1970
    The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley due 6-15-2019 Arcade / Skyhorse 5 / 5Fantastic and inspiring, this gave me all the feels-happiness, sadness, love, hope, humor and imagination. Written in an engaging and relatable way, I was instantly drawn into the life of Lauelie, and artist / student at Montague in Vermont. Laurelie rents a small cottage behind the home of a young couple and in exchange for some of the rent, she also watches their 2 year old son, Rowan. They enjoy following the trail behi The Bobcat by Katherine Forbes Riley due 6-15-2019 Arcade / Skyhorse 5 / 5Fantastic and inspiring, this gave me all the feels-happiness, sadness, love, hope, humor and imagination. Written in an engaging and relatable way, I was instantly drawn into the life of Lauelie, and artist / student at Montague in Vermont. Laurelie rents a small cottage behind the home of a young couple and in exchange for some of the rent, she also watches their 2 year old son, Rowan. They enjoy following the trail behind the cottage through the forest to a river.One day while sitting on the riverbank, Laurelie and Rowan see a bobcat limping from the forest to the water. She is pregnant and obviously hurt. They are not sure how to react, when a hiker comes out of the trees, following the bobcat. He tells them he has been following the bobcat from Bangor, Maine-about 300 miles away- after seeing it being shot by hunters. The hiker, Laurelie and Rowan begin meeting and form a friendship, that enriches them all, convincing them to reach beyond their pasts and learn to trust again.The action, flow and suspense are absolutely perfect. The relationships between the characters is inspiring and delightful. The interaction with the bobcat- and the character of Rowan is heartwarming.This is an endearing story that I just can not forget. Highly recommendedThanks to Arcade/ Skyhorse for this e-book ARC for a fair and honest review.#netgalley #TheBobcat
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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    This review is based on an ARC of The Bobcat which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publishers (Skyhorse Publishing and Arcade Publishing). Even mouthbreathers deserve love. <3This debut novel from Katherine Forbes Riley is a gorgeous story of healing and loving in times of vulnerability and self-doubt. Laurelie, the main character, is such a strong character that I'm convinced she's real. In fact, I think that all of the characters of The Bobcat are more reality than fiction. I was i This review is based on an ARC of The Bobcat which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publishers (Skyhorse Publishing and Arcade Publishing). Even mouthbreathers deserve love. <3This debut novel from Katherine Forbes Riley is a gorgeous story of healing and loving in times of vulnerability and self-doubt. Laurelie, the main character, is such a strong character that I'm convinced she's real. In fact, I think that all of the characters of The Bobcat are more reality than fiction. I was in love with the setting, the characters, the prose, and the plot. I love all of the little detail that make this novel so believable and the characters so personable. I love the tenderness, the realness. Most of all I loved how the story left such a strong impression on me without being dramatic and soap-y. I will admit that I didn't understand the hiker's oddities through the majority of this novel. But I also have to say that this made the plot more intriguing; it made me want to read on and know more and more. Even when I wasn't reading I was thinking about the story and wondering when I could get back to reading it. It's been a long while since I've read a book with such strong, deliberate prose. I haven't lately read any new authors who write as well as Riley does. I can't really put words to what it is that I so adored with this novel's style, but something had me hooked and desperate for the climax. Overall The Bobcat is a perfect little spring read, and I definitely look forward to seeing what else Katherine Forbes Riley has in store for the literary world!Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge: a book set on a college or university campus50 Books/50 States: Vermont
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  • Carrie Carter
    January 1, 1970
    A “haunting and lyrical” short novel that packs a punch. This beautifully written debut follows Laurelie, an art student, who suffers from the aftermath of a sexual assault. She transfers from a city university to a rural small school in Vermont. Hiding from human connections, Laurelie finds a likeness in a hiker who is following a pregnant bobcat.This will be one of my top reads for 2019.Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing/Arcade Publishing for providing me with an advanced readers c A “haunting and lyrical” short novel that packs a punch. This beautifully written debut follows Laurelie, an art student, who suffers from the aftermath of a sexual assault. She transfers from a city university to a rural small school in Vermont. Hiding from human connections, Laurelie finds a likeness in a hiker who is following a pregnant bobcat.This will be one of my top reads for 2019.Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing/Arcade Publishing for providing me with an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Carol Kean
    January 1, 1970
    A fresh and original voice is said to be the number-one thing publishers look for in a manuscript. Katherine Forbes Riley’s debut novel "The Bobcat" is definitely outside the mainstream, with unusual word choices that seem befitting of an unorthodox heroine. While the architecture and style of the novel took some getting used to, the story pulled me in and never let go. Laurelie is an art major who transfers to a smaller, more remote college after repressed memories of a date-rape drug in her be A fresh and original voice is said to be the number-one thing publishers look for in a manuscript. Katherine Forbes Riley’s debut novel "The Bobcat" is definitely outside the mainstream, with unusual word choices that seem befitting of an unorthodox heroine. While the architecture and style of the novel took some getting used to, the story pulled me in and never let go. Laurelie is an art major who transfers to a smaller, more remote college after repressed memories of a date-rape drug in her beer start coming back to her. The more she remembers, the more isolated and withdrawn she becomes. Living off-campus in a cottage near the woods in rural Vermont, she focuses on her art while keeping people at a safe distance. Until the bobcat appears, followed by the hiker.Laurelie is a classic tortured artist, keeping unpleasant memories just of of reach and not letting people probe her too deeply. Scenes from each chapter become part of her artwork, which adds a unique layer of interest and depth. Her narrative voice seems to suggest a weirdly fractured connection with the outer world. The confabulated opening sentence of the book will be either arresting or jarring, depending on the reader's sensibilities: "Physically the fog signaled only the tail end of a long Vermont winter. But nature assumed a kind of sentience, given space. So it pillowed against Laurelie'swindows as a soft asylum wall and leaked its internal fluids on the sills and acted as a deranged refractor on the view, magnifying the crags and pores down her cottage's stone walls into dizzying cliffs, while drowning the yard and forest beyond in uniform gray particulate." and a sentence or two later, "Ice computed a massive geometry, drifting white in shards down the new black water." I almost declared this a DFN (do not finish) but kept on with it, thinking the tortured syntax might be deliberate--carefully crafted to reflect the heroine's mental state--rather than, as one reviewer put it, a case of a debut novelist "trying too hard" (that's a strong judgment).The story steadily emerges, fragile as a fresh, wet butterfly, so I kept reading. I love Laurelie has a babysitter and "the boy' is incredibly lucky to have her in the afternoon, taking him on nature walks, letting him discover the world on his own terms, and letting him get as dirty or wet as need be. I hated his mother for complaining that Laurelie brings him home "dirty." How lucky could that mother be to have such a babysitter?Laurelie's more comfortable in nature, and with a child, than she is in society. I began to think this was intended to be a nature book like the ones our son read in college for an Ecological Literature class. His favorite novel that semester was "The Song of the World,"a 1934 novel byJean Giono, a French author and early environmentalist whose poetic nature prose was said to be inspired by Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."When Giono writes anthropomorphism, it's pure poetry. His river man and his man of the mountain are unspoiled by civilization and Western thought. On page one, Antonio lays a hand on an old oak tree and listens to its shiverings, and the birds, like him, listen to the river. The woman "evoked her great, tragic life, clad in love and hayfields, and joys more dazzling than hawthorn hedges." Line after line, page after page, is lyrical and rhythmic and alive. Not jarring. Not like Laurelie's deranged fog leaking its fluids or her impression of ice computing a massive geometry. But Laurelie is not the mountain man; the hiker is; and we don't read this story from his point of view.The advent of the wounded female bobcat is epic, but even more epic is the hiker who's followed her for 300 miles because--well, read the book and see. Laurelie strangely avoids naming the boy or the hiker, even after they grow increasingly familiar with each other. Apparently, when the hiker is named on the final page, it's a major milestone, a sign of Laurelei having moved past the weirdness of an being extreme introvert who tries to keep people at a safe distance.The narrative is leisurely but not too slow. Weird, yes, but never a dull a moment. There's a lovely scene involving dolphins, a strange scene reminiscent of Woodstock, then the drama of the boy going missing. Chapter 17 was my favorite, with the scientific explanation of how the hiker came to be the nature man he is, a bobcat whisperer, a nomad living out of a tent, an expert on native flora and fauna, He's an herbalist, chef, and healer as well as a hiker. The reason for his extraordinary traits might force him to be isolated from Laurelie for reasons (Spoilers!) I cannot explain, much as I'd like to.The linguistics major is a fun character who shows up again toward the end and takes on the role of leading Laurelie out of her hermitage and into Friday happy-hours and fun times with fellow students at a pub near campus. These scenes shine. It's fun to watch butterly Laurelie unfolding those wings and flapping them a bit.It's the pages describing the hiker that had me wondering if the author knew what she was doing. The hiker's nostrils are mentioned 37 times. I kid you not. His nostrils flared white; his nostrils rippled with irregular vibrations; they pulsed, flared and flared again, settled into a strong steady pulse, flared thoughtfully and even "went into full flight." His nostrils"went from a flicker to a dance and started "going lightspeed" at the door of the fridge. His nostrils fluttered and whipped like sheets in the wind; they flared, half-flared, flickered erratically, spasmed erratically, pulsed gently, pulsed hard, rippled tightly, flared and flickered a dozen more times. And while his nostrils visibly moved and captured Laurelie's attention, the hiker also did a lot of mouth-breathing. I could have sworn "mouth breather" was a derogatory term, but not in this novel. I didn't count how many times the hiker was mouth breathing, but it was a lot. "Mouth breather" is not a sexy thing but I suspect the author must have thought so, or maybe she was trying to depict something else but the right words eluded her.In all, this is a pleasing novel, with intriguing characters who are not cardboard cutouts. They're real and believable. Odd, yes, but to me, "quirky" is good. Predictable and normal are boring in fiction.Fiction workshoppers would demand more fast-paced action, peril, and suspense, but I was very happy that nobody ended up dead in the woods here. I've read more than I care to of thrillers, whodunnits, and murder victims. "The Bobcat" is a fresh, original, and very satisfying tale, and I don't see nearly enough stories that dare to deliver vibes of warmth and hope. More please, Katherine Forbes Riley!
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  • James Charlesworth
    January 1, 1970
    Poignant and evocative, lyrical and intimate—and above all startlingly original—Katherine Forbes Riley's mesmerizing debut The Bobcat is one of those rare novels that fully embraces the interiority of its characters while never sacrificing in story or pacing. Written in a unique and elegant style full of richly descriptive prose that captures both the physical landscape of rural Vermont and the fraught psychological territory of its protagonist, this is a beautifully crafted book that dares to a Poignant and evocative, lyrical and intimate—and above all startlingly original—Katherine Forbes Riley's mesmerizing debut The Bobcat is one of those rare novels that fully embraces the interiority of its characters while never sacrificing in story or pacing. Written in a unique and elegant style full of richly descriptive prose that captures both the physical landscape of rural Vermont and the fraught psychological territory of its protagonist, this is a beautifully crafted book that dares to access the isolation that haunts us in the aftermath of trauma; it is also a redemptive story about the power of human connection to see us through our darkest moments.
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  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful, thoughtful, touching debut. Part love letter to nature, part artist exploration, part love story set in a bygone era when life was simpler... the Bobcat had me at turns flipping pages to find out what happens, and re-reading pages to soak in the expansive and lovely prose. Katherine Forbes Riley steps onto the scene like a master storyteller, comfortable in her craft and precise in her presentation. This hauntingly lovely book will be a favorite of book clubs, and people in sea What a beautiful, thoughtful, touching debut. Part love letter to nature, part artist exploration, part love story set in a bygone era when life was simpler... the Bobcat had me at turns flipping pages to find out what happens, and re-reading pages to soak in the expansive and lovely prose. Katherine Forbes Riley steps onto the scene like a master storyteller, comfortable in her craft and precise in her presentation. This hauntingly lovely book will be a favorite of book clubs, and people in search of a novel with genuine heart and wonder.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    *I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.**TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE*I was skeptical about picking this book up because the description sounded like something that could be really a hit or miss with me, but I am so glad that I gave it a chance. The cover is absolutely stunning, and the words inside left me haunted, in a good way, and in such a state of euphoria. Let's begin the review! THE WRITING: It is hard to believe that this magical no *I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.**TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE*I was skeptical about picking this book up because the description sounded like something that could be really a hit or miss with me, but I am so glad that I gave it a chance. The cover is absolutely stunning, and the words inside left me haunted, in a good way, and in such a state of euphoria. Let's begin the review! THE WRITING: It is hard to believe that this magical novel could be a debut, but that's exactly what this is. The writing is lushly descriptive, capturing the rich landscape perfectly, and seems to flow off the page. It's lyrical nature points to that of a seasoned writer, and I am deeply impressed. Oddly enough, there is hardly any dialogue through this novel. Now, that may throw some readers off, but I found it to be a very interesting way to get to know the characters. There are also no real names of any characters in the novel besides the main character Laurelie. The others are simply refereed to as "the hiker", "the boy", and "the landlord". I found this fascinating, as it seemed to make reading about them more personal. THE CHARACTERS: The majority of the novel is told through a sort of internal monologue from our main character Laurelie, a college art major who happens to be a victim of sexual assault. We follow the aftermath of the assault, and how Laurelie pulls away from society and seems to keep everyone she encounters at arms length. Through the course of the story, we watch as Laurelie goes from skittish and afraid, to slowly opening up and letting people back into her life. Laurelie's character arc is beautiful and inspiring. The hiker, the other main character, is also withdrawn, and their friendship/relationship was memorable. THE BOBCAT: I feel as though the bobcat should have it's own discussion, because it was a very important part of the novel. Being a wild animal, and a naturally solitary creature, the pregnant bobcat forms an unlikely bond with the hiker after it was shot. Laurelie and the hiker, two broken souls, were brought together by this defenseless creature, and it was because of this animal that either were able to overcome their demons.
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  • Leslie Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    Haunting and lyrical, magical and yet melancholy, about traumas and art, imagination, a meditation on nature, nuture, and even medicine. THE BOBCAT (Skyhorse/Arcade Publishing, June 18 2019) is one of those quite debuts that will grab you by the scruff of your neck and won't let you go. It's such a deliberate and descriptive read (don't be fooled by the slim size), and so well done, you'll find yourself almost hallucinating as you read. That's a good thing. Laurelie is a young art student at a c Haunting and lyrical, magical and yet melancholy, about traumas and art, imagination, a meditation on nature, nuture, and even medicine. THE BOBCAT (Skyhorse/Arcade Publishing, June 18 2019) is one of those quite debuts that will grab you by the scruff of your neck and won't let you go. It's such a deliberate and descriptive read (don't be fooled by the slim size), and so well done, you'll find yourself almost hallucinating as you read. That's a good thing. Laurelie is a young art student at a college in Vermont. She's bright and yet scarred by a violent sexual attack leaving her unwilling and unable to trust. She retreats to a cottage in the woods where she explores her world through art and nature, where she is the most comfortable in the comfort of a little boy she babysits. I absolutely loved her cottage--but then again, I would, being a connoisseur of homes. While out along the river banks, Laurelie and the boy come across a pregnant--and injured--bobcat, and the hiker who has been following it for miles. Both the hiker and Laurelie are struggling with past traumas--and their stories intersect and weave, bringing them both closer to recovery and reconnection under the guidance of a very skilled and gifted writer. THE BOBCAT is lyrical and unique with touches of the classics like THE BELL JAR (Sylvia Plath) meets Shirley Jackson's THE HANGSMAN with maybe some touches of Margaret Atwood's THE CAT'S EYE (maybe not??)...mood and atmosphere reign prominent in THE BOBCAT, which really should be savored, despite it's slim packaging. The prose is gorgeous, glimmering on the page, making you feel as if reading in a sun-dappled dream. I found the end took a different turn and I was quite delighted in this almost science-fiction spin. But rest assured, THE BOBCAT is alluring and literary, about art, imagination, the powerful bonds of humanity, science, and magical realism. For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book Special thanks to Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Maggie Tibbitt
    January 1, 1970
    I’m always looking for New Adult authors to try out so I was excited by finding this book. While there were some aspects of this book that were impressive to me, there were too many things that missed the mark for me.Riley is truly a great writer. Her descriptions were beautiful and so well written that I really wanted to like this book. I just found myself waiting and waiting for something to happen when it felt like nothing did.I liked that there were not many names in the book, which isn’t so I’m always looking for New Adult authors to try out so I was excited by finding this book. While there were some aspects of this book that were impressive to me, there were too many things that missed the mark for me.Riley is truly a great writer. Her descriptions were beautiful and so well written that I really wanted to like this book. I just found myself waiting and waiting for something to happen when it felt like nothing did.I liked that there were not many names in the book, which isn’t something I’ve seen very often. The characters were called “the hiker” and “the boy” etc. Something about this method made the characters more distinct and personal. I also thought the descriptions of Lauralie’s artwork was fantastic. Her descriptions of artwork are probably more beautiful than most artwork I’ve seen. Again, this goes back to Riley being a fantastic writer, and just not quite using it the best way.A lot of the book didn’t feel real. I don’t know exactly how to explain this, but half of the time the main character seems in this dream-like state where she never takes action and things just happen around her while she stands there. The other half of the time I can’t even tell what is happening. Some things are written in such a complex metaphor that I was unsure what was real and what was a metaphor for something else. And sometimes, the characters act in a way that was just so confusing. Like I didn’t understand the characters or relate to them at all.There was also such a lack of dialogue that I often got so tired of reading such long paragraphs that I almost fell asleep. This is definitely in the category of literature, so don’t expect any fluff or easy reading. You have to pay close attention because if your minds wanders (which mine did often and easily), you won’t know what’s happening.This book might be perfect for some other readers, but unfortunately it didn’t do it for me.
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  • Abby Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not what I was expecting in quite a few ways. First, the book was much shorter than I thought it would be. Though the book was under 200 pages, the author still managed to paint a pretty vivid picture of the main character, Laurelie. I was surprised by the amount of character development I feel like the author was able to accomplish, and I found myself pretty attached to some of the characters by the end. I was also surprised by the magical-type elements in the book. There weren't m This book is not what I was expecting in quite a few ways. First, the book was much shorter than I thought it would be. Though the book was under 200 pages, the author still managed to paint a pretty vivid picture of the main character, Laurelie. I was surprised by the amount of character development I feel like the author was able to accomplish, and I found myself pretty attached to some of the characters by the end. I was also surprised by the magical-type elements in the book. There weren't many, but those that were present didn't distract from my reading experience all that much. I'm not sure the magical elements added much for me, but I can see how others may really enjoy them. The writing in this book was wonderful- I loved the descriptions of nature and the descriptions of people and activities. The plot (with the exception of some of the more surreal elements) was 1000% believable and I didn't see the minor plot-twist coming. The lack of dialogue, the intentional omission of the hiker's name until the end- it all really worked for me.I think my favorite part of the book, though, was the description of Laurelie's relationship with Rowan, the two year old she watches. I loved the description of Rowan and Laurelie in the woods, of Rowan's interactions with the dog(s) and the hiker, and Rowan's general efforts to communicate. I also loved Laurelie's reflections on her time with Rowan. For me, this was easily the highlight of the book. If you're looking for a good, quick but satisfying read, I'd suggest checking this one out!
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  • Banshee
    January 1, 1970
    This novel follows Lauriele, an art major, who struggles to cope after being sexually assaulted at a party in University. She transfers schools and moves to Vermont where she starts to heal. She meets a young man, a hiker, and a bobcat who help with her healing. Lauriele’s artwork also helps her express herself without words. The writing style was unique with tons of description and very little dialogue. As such I found the novel had to get into and it took me a while to get used to the style. O This novel follows Lauriele, an art major, who struggles to cope after being sexually assaulted at a party in University. She transfers schools and moves to Vermont where she starts to heal. She meets a young man, a hiker, and a bobcat who help with her healing. Lauriele’s artwork also helps her express herself without words. The writing style was unique with tons of description and very little dialogue. As such I found the novel had to get into and it took me a while to get used to the style. Once I did I became engrossed in the novel. The writing is beautifully poetic with great symmetry and emotions. The characters were amazingly well written with each character slowly reveling themselves. The budding romance between the hiker and Lauriele was written well except near the end when the hikers secret is revealed. I didn’t agree that such a small thing should lead to such a big disaster. There was a ton of research that went into the novel; from famous artists and their style to viruses. At times this dragged the novel down a bit as I have no interested in art but it did help define the characters more. In summary this was a good literature piece with strong characters, an good plot and an unique writing style. Do not read this tired or in the mood for a easy read because if your mind wanders you will miss important details. Thank you Netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for this ARC.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    There are so many strong elements to this book, it's a little hard to know where to start. THE BOBCAT is a masterpiece of understated grace, an insightful study of trauma and healing, and a work whose narrative power shines with the strength of its skillful prose. There's something of the fairy tale to this book in the way it presents scenes stripped of non-essential details. In less talented hands, that could leave settings and characters feeling flat or ill imagined. But Riley writes with an a There are so many strong elements to this book, it's a little hard to know where to start. THE BOBCAT is a masterpiece of understated grace, an insightful study of trauma and healing, and a work whose narrative power shines with the strength of its skillful prose. There's something of the fairy tale to this book in the way it presents scenes stripped of non-essential details. In less talented hands, that could leave settings and characters feeling flat or ill imagined. But Riley writes with an artist's eye for detail and a poet's ear for language. Over and over she places the perfect words in exactly the right order, transforming mundane scenes into something much deeper and true, just as the protagonist Laurelie does with her own artwork. In THE BOBCAT, everything that makes it to the page feels essential and vibrantly real. But even better than the beauty of the prose is the honest depiction of recovery. Laurelie's journey isn't predicated on finding someone to fix (or to fix her). Instead, she takes incremental steps over time, rediscovering herself and encountering setbacks along the way, in the same way that a medical condition might take lifelong treatment and monitoring. This realistic portrayal of recovery is light years from the superficial takes we often see in stories, and it makes the narrative that much stronger and more engaging.An extremely impressive debut, THE BOBCAT is a compelling and rewarding read.
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  • Glady
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free ARC from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I really liked this book! The Bobcat is not for everyone since most of the story is internal monologue. Laurelie, a college student, is more of an observer than a participant in the college life. Her sexual assault leads her to become more internalized and eventually she withdraws from college. Wishing to continue her education, she enrolls at a Vermont college, Montague (Middlebury?) where social and physical isolation is ac I received a free ARC from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.I really liked this book! The Bobcat is not for everyone since most of the story is internal monologue. Laurelie, a college student, is more of an observer than a participant in the college life. Her sexual assault leads her to become more internalized and eventually she withdraws from college. Wishing to continue her education, she enrolls at a Vermont college, Montague (Middlebury?) where social and physical isolation is acceptable and even appreciated.As an art major, Laurelie expresses herself through her art that functions almost like therapy. Her happenstance meeting with the hiker establishes a very slow yet steady journey to finding peace and connection to others. The hiker remains unnamed until the end of the book. He, too, has difficulty with connecting with other people but his relationship with the natural world is extraordinary. He has followed an injured, pregnant bobcat who is unable to hunt hundreds of miles intending to aid her survival. Together, Laurelie and the hiker slowly and tentatively begin to heal each other's shattered souls.Riley establishes a clear and powerful sense of place with her Vermont setting. Nature serves as a shield and as a comforting embrace. Well done.#TheBobcat #NetGalley
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  • Nicole {Sorry, I'm Booked}
    January 1, 1970
    While I went into this book not really having any expectations, it definitely was not a story that I was expecting. Honestly, what got me to want to read this book was that it’s described as haunting and lyrical … who can pass that up?While I agree with those words to describe the book and Riley’s writing, it felt a little forced at times. The writing was beautiful and easily sparked my imagination. The story itself, however, was a little slow for me and confusing at times. I didn’t quite unders While I went into this book not really having any expectations, it definitely was not a story that I was expecting. Honestly, what got me to want to read this book was that it’s described as haunting and lyrical … who can pass that up?While I agree with those words to describe the book and Riley’s writing, it felt a little forced at times. The writing was beautiful and easily sparked my imagination. The story itself, however, was a little slow for me and confusing at times. I didn’t quite understand Laurelie and the hiker’s love story … it seemed to just happen. Not quite an insta-love, but also not enough lead up? Or I could be unfairly comparing to other types of love stories.As for the characters of the story, I’m not sure I quite got a good sense of any of them, even Laurelie. I got some sense of her character, but I’m not sure it’s enough. She’s definitely stronger than she thinks and I liked seeing the multiple ways she sees the world around her, mostly through the descriptions of art.Honestly, I think this is one of those books that you just have to read yourself to decided if you like it or not. I think Riley’s writing is the strongest aspect of the book.Full review originally published on my blog: https://sorryiambooked.wordpress.com/...
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  • Lexi
    January 1, 1970
    The Bobcat was a lovely lyrical book about recovering from PTSD after the main character was drugged and raped in college at a frat party. The book does not go into great detail about the event but does discuss the emotional aftermath in great detail so warning for anyone who may find that triggering. The author does a great job of using language and her descriptions of the people around her to move the main character from a place of isolation and fear to being back as part of a community. Her a The Bobcat was a lovely lyrical book about recovering from PTSD after the main character was drugged and raped in college at a frat party. The book does not go into great detail about the event but does discuss the emotional aftermath in great detail so warning for anyone who may find that triggering. The author does a great job of using language and her descriptions of the people around her to move the main character from a place of isolation and fear to being back as part of a community. Her art is described nicely and also follows this transition. The shift towards using names for people versus descriptors is well done and interesting to watch the transition occur during the story. The virus thing was a little far-fetched but allowed for a second character who had to learn to live in the world again as well without also giving him a traumatic past. The Bobcat also seemed a bit unrealistic, but it fit in the story’s feel of a fairytale in the woods. This is partly why found the virus part so out of place and it broke with the lyrical feel. I do not think all the information on viruses was needed. This is a very short book and a thoughtful read.
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  • Wrenn
    January 1, 1970
    *Trigger Alert* sexual assault Laurelie, a young artist, is sexually assaulted on her college campus.She is severely traumatized and never feels safe.She transfers to a small college in Vermont, hoping that she can move on from her fears.Laurelie rents a guest cottage off campus, and baby sits her landlord's little boy to offset the rent.One day they are walking in the woods near her cottage and come across a hiker and his dog. He is tracking an injured and pregnant bobcat.They meet him again la *Trigger Alert* sexual assault Laurelie, a young artist, is sexually assaulted on her college campus.She is severely traumatized and never feels safe.She transfers to a small college in Vermont, hoping that she can move on from her fears.Laurelie rents a guest cottage off campus, and baby sits her landlord's little boy to offset the rent.One day they are walking in the woods near her cottage and come across a hiker and his dog. He is tracking an injured and pregnant bobcat.They meet him again later, and he shares where the baby bobcats and mom have their lair. He seems to have a special bond with the animals.As the relationship between Laurelie and the hiker slowly becomes closer, and she is able to create art, she begins the healing process.This debut was a unique and magical book. Bewitching and lyrically written.Although it was short, the author managed to infuse the characters with so much emotion. A story to savor and contemplate.Thank you to Arcade and NetGalley for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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