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. 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.
... it's oddly refreshing to encounter a hookless book that develops at its own stubborn pace and sucks you in anyway ... meticulously crafted sentences ... both a literary novel and an unapologetic romance, taking a plot that Nicholas Sparks could probably have cashed in on and twisting it into something darker and more complex ... Toward the end, The Bobcat's plot veers in a speculative direction that isn't entirely successful, and Riley sometimes goes too far in depicting the mainstream world as grotesque and hostile. But then, that's how Laurelie and the hiker experience it ... Riley's prose sparkles and cracks with its own kind of power. Like a visit to the den of the titular bobcat, her novel makes us feel like we've witnessed something private, untamed and perhaps a little sacred.
...an unpredictable yet lovely exploration into healing trauma and building trust. The story centers art student Laurelie as she attempts to put the pieces of her life back together after surviving a sexual assault. Artists, nature lovers and survivors will find something here to inspire hope and healing.
Perhaps the major character in [this] surreal novel is Vermont itself and its mountains, forests, streams, villages and people ... full of vivid characters ... Riley is newly arrived, but shows every sign she will join Vermont's outstanding contemporary authors.