#Review - The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
Penguin Group Putnam - G.P. Putnam's Sons
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From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children 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.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won't be able to put down.

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I liked this book well enough.  I didn't feel like gushing about it when I finished but I did enjoy the story.  This was one of those books that I found that I really liked some aspects a whole lot and other things in the book would lose me a little.  In the end, the good outweighed the bad for me.

Charlie is mourning the sudden loss of her young son.  As you can imagine,  she is going through the motions of daily living but is rather lost.  When she is offered a job writing a book about the famous Deveau family, she decides to do it.  Oh, did I mention the fact that Charlie has dreams about dead children that are frighteningly accurate?  When she dreams of a little boy that lived in the big house, she wants to find out what happened to him.

Charlie finds herself in the middle of several mysteries often working along with the local police.  Will she be able to find out what happened the the little Deveau boy that was kidnapped over 30 years earlier?  She is also spending a lot of time with the local landscaper, Noah, whose grandparents worked for the family at the time of the disappearance and she doesn't seem quite sure if she should trust him or not.

I loved the parts of the book where Charlie dreamed about the ghosts.  Hands down, that was my favorite thing about this book.  I think that the way the ghosts were used in this book was perfect.  It didn't overpower the story and just gave Charlie a little push in the right direction.  The fact that should could only dream of children and had no control of her visions seemed right.  I really liked the family dynamics of the Deveau family.  They were as perfectly imperfect as I would have expected.  I found that I was doubting just about everything about them which really made me question what really had happened.  I also think that Charlie's grief over her son was well done.  The guilt, the inability to move on, and the desperation she felt seemed authentic.

I didn't really like the romance between Charlie and Noah in this story.  It really seemed forced to me.  Charlie didn't seem to know whether she trusted him from one moment to the next.  I don't think that anything about building a relationship felt real between these two characters even though it was kind of sweet at the end.

I would recommend this book to others.  It was a very easy to read, well paced novel.  There was enough of a mystery to keep things interesting with a few twists along the way that should keep most readers guessing.  I liked the fact that the author included just the right balance of paranormal in the story.  I plan to read future works by Hester Young including the remainder of this trilogy.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin First to Read for the purpose of providing an honest review.

About the Author
Francine Daveta Photography

Hester Young holds a master’s degree in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and her short stories have appeared in magazines such as Hawai‘i Review. Before turning to writing full-time, she worked as a teacher in Arizona and New Hampshire. Young lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, with her husband and their two children.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads


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