Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Gates of Evangeline

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for writing a review, but the opinions stated are all my own.

A couple of weeks ago Janie, a local librarian and friend, emailed me to ask if I would be willing to read a book in exchange for writing a review on my blog, or (even better) for US1. I couldn't pull off US1, but I can write whatever I want here and hope some of my friends read it.

Janie gave me the following information from the publisher:

Quick Take: Sometimes a dream is simply a dream, a manifestation of daytime adventures and anxieties. But dreams can also deliver premonitions, a phenomenon eerily familiar to writer Hester Young. In fact, Young’s grandmother had an inexplicable premonitory dream of her four-year-old’s tragic and fatal fall and decades later, Young’s own dreams would foreshadow a local tragedy. These fascinating slices of real family history are the inspiration behind THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. When grieving mother and New York journalist Charlie Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children in danger she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them. After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.

About the AuthorHester Young holds a Master’s degree in English with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and her work has been published in literary magazines such as The Hawai’i Review. Before turning to writing full time, she worked as a teacher in Arizona and New Hampshire. She lives with her husband and two children in New Jersey. 

Not only does Hester live in New Jersey, she lives in my hometown. She will be speaking at Princeton Public Library on September 2, the day after her book becomes available to the public. I am looking forward to meeting her.

I can best describe "The Gates of Evangeline" as haunting. Charlotte "Charlie" Cates is visited in dreams by children who are dying. As she unravels the mystery behind the messages she is able to help the children and their parents, though not always with the happy endings Americans (in particular) like. Charlie herself is a grieving mother and can relate to those in similar situations.

Charlie heads south to help solve a 30-year-old mystery about a presumed dead child. The book takes on some good plot twists -- some anticipated, others that made me gasp as I was reading it on the train. I found the book fast-paced, but not too fast. As I was nearing the last page, I tried to slow it down, but Hester Young's writing drew me in tight and would not let me go until I reached the very satisfying conclusion.

Someplace I read this is the beginning of a new series. I hope so, though it also works as a stand alone book. While I want to grow with the characters over the years, the ending did not leave me hanging.

Overall I loved the book. People who love "The Girl on the Train" will devour "The Gates of Evangeline." Young's characters are rich and well-developed. Her timing and pacing are spot on. Set aside some time to read her book because once you start, you will not want to put it down.

You can buy her book HERE

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