The Gates of Evangeline. Finished 2-20-16, rating 4.25/5, fiction, 416 pages, pub. 2015
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. from Goodreads
From the beginning I’m drawn into Charlie’s world, not as a driven, successful New York professional, but as a mother, one who has a son the same age that Keegan, Charlie’s son, was when he unexpectedly passed away. Charlie is in a tailspin professionally and personally. When she begins having dreams/visions of children she thinks that she is losing her grip on reality and she makes a drastic decision. From suburban Connecticut to the swamps on Louisiana, Charlie’s journey is one full of unexpected friendships, mystical visions, a cold case kidnapping, and healing. There is also romance, but that storyline is the weak link for me and I could have done with less of it.
I loved the atmosphere of Evangeline. Not only was the heavy, steamy air full of evil, but the Deveau family itself harbored long kept secrets. Hettie, the dying matriarch, managed to raise two annoying daughters and a son who managed the family business. Charlie was there to write about the family and a 30 year old kidnapping but ended up finding a purpose for her visions.
This was a fun southern gothic read for me. And I admit that the last scene in the book had me in tears (and not in a bad way). This is the first of a trilogy and I’m looking forward to seeing what Charlie does next.