Winner of the 2023 Eric Hoffer Award in Historical Fiction and the New Horizon Award for Debut fiction!

The discovery of a boy’s journal lures college professor Caroline McAlister into the depths of a century-old murder and toward a past she thought she had long ago escaped. Her voice tangles with Carson Quinn’s in the laurel hell of a hollow they haunt a century apart, sharing hard lessons about love and loss.



“The most fascinating novel I have read all year […] perfect for a bookclub discussion. I can’t recommend it highly enough as a page-turner that will stay with and haunt the reader.”

Nancy Pierce, The Southern Bookseller Review

“A winter thriller you won’t be able to stop thinking about.”


“With its evocative sense of place and carefully-timed revelations, reading Hemlock Hollow feels akin to opening a treasure chest.”

Heather Bell Adams, Author of Maranatha Road and The Good Luck Stone

“A bewitching story that mixes past and present in a deeply moving depiction of southern life. Once I started reading this book, I could not stop.”

Avonna Kershey, Avonna Loves Genres

“With this novel, Holderfield joins the pantheon of those mountain writers of the South who paint both history and human nature with a fine brush – Ron Rash, Vicki Lane, Wiley Cash, and Dale Neal.”

Marjorie Hudson, author of Accidental Birds of the Carolinas and Indigo Field.

“Hemlock Hollow is an absolutely enthralling novel. A novel that occupied my mind even while the book was closed and sugar plums were supposed to be dancing in my head.”

Jocie McKade, Readers’ Entertainment Magazine.

“Past and present, love and loss intertwine in a magical mountain hollow. Holderfield’s love of place shines in his sensitive descriptions while his story-telling enthralls the reader.”

Vicki Lane, author of And the Crows Took Their Eyes

 “This is how historical fiction should be written. The story is complex and has depth. The characters are rich. Add all that together and this book is an instant classic.”

Kristen Gilligan, bookseller and former National Book Award judge

“With generosity to his characters and unflinching fidelity to the complexities of southern life, Culley Holderfield has created a book that weaves together natural and human history to arrive at a truer sense of the south than any we read in newspapers or history books.”

Mimi Herman, Kennedy Center Teaching Fellow, co-founder of Writeaways, and author of The Kudzu Queen

“Holderfield’s complex and stirring depiction of Appalachia reflects the beating heart of the south.”

Allie Coker, author of The Last Resort