Stranded With The Mountain Man by Aislinn Kearns
Released: March 22, 2018
Reviewed by Mandi
I love a reclusive hero. I’m weak for it! So when I saw this book mentioned on Twitter, I jumped on it. The hero has lived in a very remote mountain cabin since he was fifteen – and he’s twenty-nine now. You know this means virgin!! (also tipped me off when he said he hasn’t had a visitor in all that time too). When Elijah is out hunting and witnesses a small plane crash, he hikes to the scene. The pilot is dead, but a woman is unconscious, but still alive. Knowing it would take three days to hike into town, and with no telephone available, he takes the injured woman back to his cabin.
Gia was on the plane, running away from her abusive, violent husband. He has been horrible to her for years, and after she miscarried, she stole a bunch of his money, and got on a tiny plane to get away from him. When she regains regaining conscientiousness, she is in a strange cabin with a strange man. But Elijah proves himself gentle, and very kind and warm. Even though he isn’t used to having people in his home, he feels protective of her and wants to get to know her. Once she is fully awake, Elijah explains what happened when he found her, and she starts to explain why she was on the plane in the first place.
Like I mentioned, Elijah truly lives off the grid, and I really appreciated the detail and realness the author puts into this part of the story. There is no electricity. He uses a compost toilet (I’ll let you picture that for yourself). There is no phone. It’s too wooded for solar power. He hunts, and makes his own soap, and must ration his food extremely carefully. He treks into town for supplies every so often, but since it’s so far away, he really must watch what he uses. All of this is explained and explored, since Gia came from a very wealthy marriage, she is absorbing all of this in the days she is recovering. She finds it fascinating…until she doesn’t.
My first clue that Gia was going to go downhill for me is when she uses half of his pantry items to make one dinner. Elijah is upset by this, as his food supply is very precious. Gia doesn’t understand that he isn’t happy that she was surprising him with a meal. She is new to this off the grid thing, so I gave her a pass.
But then she starts questioning why he lives in this cabin at all? Why doesn’t he move closer to town? Doesn’t he want electricity? What happens if he were to badly injure himself? He has no books, no radio.
“Sorry,” she whispered. But she didn’t understand his stubbornness. What kept him out here? His refusal to consider making his own life easier both baffled and hurt her. Though why it caused her pain she couldn’t quite understand.
I understand when you are trying to get to know someone, you want to know their motivation for their life choices. But – her questions started sounding more and more accusatory and whiny. She has known him for less than a week I think at this point?? She hurt her ankle in the airplane crash and it’s still sore so no more than a few days have passed. And her judgement of him – and the way he lives, you would think he dug a hole in the dirt and called it his home. Instead, he has built a life for himself. He hunts, makes leather goods, bathes himself regularly, is very content in life. Is he holding on to his father’s memories (His father built the cabin and lived with Elijah for years)? Probably – maybe a little unhealthy there. But – in no way is he skin and bones and living in filth. And for Gia to come in and start judging his choices days after she meets him reallllllly rubbed me the wrong way.
Then they have sex – and more sex – and it’s all unprotected since they couldn’t run to the store to buy condoms. And Gia starts really hoping she is pregnant – but doesn’t want to live in this cabin since medical care is so far away. Again, this is like day five of them meeting for the first time ever. It made no sense!!
Tears pricked her eyes and she turned away from him, following his gaze up the path. She hoped she was pregnant. That she’d have something to remember him by. Of course, she’d tell him if she was. But he hadn’t seemed interested in making their relationship work back at the cabin. Perhaps she could rent a house near town, and he could visit once a month on his supply runs. But could she bear to see him when she wasn’t with him? If he wanted a relationship with his child she supposed she’d have to lock away her heartbreak and accept it.
He’d be a good father.
She blinked away tears.
She barely knows this man. I don’t get it.
All while this is unfolding, Gia’s abusive husband is hunting to find her. I didn’t mind that suspense – the bad guy gets some page time and we get his point of view, and his hunt for Gia didn’t overshadow the romance and made the book a little more exciting.
Fun first half – not a fun second half.