The Girl With All the Plants and Books!
The best read in 2020!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 September 2020
Though I initially had my doubts, Hermit has to be my best read of 2020.
I mention reservations for two reasons. Firstly, this is referred to as a slow burner on the very front page. And, when reading some reviews this was noted many times. When you say slow burner, sometimes it attracts that negativity, suggesting boring, dull, and long-winded.
More so, as I was reading this during the lockdown, my attention was not exactly at its best – so I did think I would struggle with this aspect.
Secondly, I initially found the very beginning of the book a little too descriptive. Though its hard to explain, having read so many books, you can sometimes tell in an instant which people are new to writing. More so, those straight off MA creative writing courses - as the descriptive prose is glaringly evident at the beginning of their books!
HOWEVER, I stand corrected on both counts because I ended up loving everything about this book!
The pacing is, in fact, spot-on, and your interest never falters for one second. Because of this, you find yourself reading on as much as possible for each new chapter as you just know that some kind of new revelation is going to hit you any moment.
I don’t know what I love more about this book - the storyline overall or the two characters of Dana and Nathan.
As a woman, it was an absolute breath of fresh air to read Dana. Most lead fictional characters, especially those in law enforcement, are either written as hard-faced b’s or weak-willed in the presence of their male counterparts. Dana was neither of these. A fascinating character, though she has an air of aloofness due to her past, White hasn’t made her obnoxious or arrogant with it.
Therefore, the relationship that Dana has with her colleagues, though at times strained and unusual, made for some fascinating connections. When paired with Nathan, the storyline comes together perfectly.
Nathan’s story is compelling, yet as a reader, you tend to go back and forth as to his guilt throughout his conversations with Dana. At first, you wonder if he’s playing a game or playing Dana – but the reality is actually a tragedy.
When the truth is revealed, I had absolutely no clue and it was devastating. Yes, it will leave a bad taste in your mouth, and yes, you will more than likely shed a tear at this part.
One of the fantastic things about this book is how White allows Dana to reveal her backstory, but only right at the end. Because of this, it never takes president over Nathans but instead simmers away throughout the entire investigation.
Everything about Hermit is, in many ways, perfect. Setting, storyline, pacing, and characterization. The ending is also bittersweet.
Some people have mentioned they’d love to see this made as a film. It would be great on the screen, but rather as a limited series, for example. This way, each episode could build the intensity that is so well portrayed in the book, working towards the climax.
As well as potentially bringing the book to screen, I would also love to see some form of follow-up to Hermit. I don’t quite feel as if I want to leave Nathan or Dana just yet. I would also love to see how Nathan would cope if he were to re-enter society.
This book is so worthy of a perfect 5 stars, and a book I would happily recommend.