I recently had the opportunity to read and review a pre-release novel by a wonderful new author, and I’d be remiss for not sharing it with those of you who might be interested. Below is the review I posted on Goodreads, and trust me when I say I didn’t just say these things about Ann’s book because I like her–I definitely like her, but I like her novel on its own merit, too. 🙂
For you paranormal buffs out there, this isn’t a traditional “ghost story,” but it will keep you up at night. First reading, then thinking about the layers of humanity Ann has painted on a very unique canvas.
Check her out at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2904199.Ann_Hite
I woke this morning thinking about Nellie Pritchard. Or maybe it was Annie Harbor—since finishing Ghost On Black Mountain, the lines between them have started to blur.
What makes this noteworthy is not my shifting perception, but that the characters of Anne Hite’s novel stayed with me long after I turned the last page. The women of Black Mountain linger in the mind and imagination. And they feel as solid and speak as clearly as any living, three-dimensional person.
For readers who crave sophisticated and enlightening character development, this novel will satisfy. Women like Nellie Pritchard and Rose Gardner tell us more about ourselves than any mirror. What mother couldn’t identify with Josie Clay, who watches helplessly as her daughter makes one foolish choice after another? Even characters some might consider “secondary” demand our full attention, like Shelly Parker, the “seer” of Black Mountain. Shelley is the moral compass of this novel, a backbone of common sense when all the women around her seem bent on self-destruction.
And Hobbs Pritchard—what can be said about him? A narcissist or plain old sociopath? My vote is with the latter. I’ve seen antisocial personality disorder defined in these terms:
People with this disorder
*may exhibit criminal behavior.
*may not work. If they do work, they are frequently absent or may quit suddenly.
*do not consider other people’s wishes, welfare or rights.
*can be manipulative and may lie to gain personal
*pleasure or profit.
*may default on loans, fail to provide child support, or fail to care for their dependents adequately.
*are likely to engage in high risk sexual behavior and substance abuse.
*possess traits such as impulsiveness, failure to plan ahead, aggressiveness, irritability, irresponsibility, and a reckless disregard for their own safety and the safety of others.
The above description fits Hobbs Pritchard. So why would intelligent, strong women like Nellie Pritchard and Rose Gardner fall for him? The answer is simple and well-grounded in science: sociopaths can be extremely attractive, especially to women. Remember Ted Bundy?
Ghost On Black Mountain is so rich in character and culture that I intend to share it with a local professor of English. I live in the heart of Appalachia, on the Virginia side of the Blue Ridge range. Literature about local culture and heritage is of keen interest to readers in this area, and this novel rings true. Each of the five stars that I give it is well-deserved. I will (and already have) recommend this book to friends.