.

.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young is the first book that I've finished this year that will fit as an entry to the Gothic Fiction Challenge.  It seemed to take me forever to read it, but it wasn't because of the story - I just got sidetracked with graphic novels.  First, let's have a couple of quotes:

'But Evangeline's heart was sustained by a vision that faintly
Floated before her eyes, and beckoned her on through the moonlight.
It was the thought of her brain that assumed the shape of a phantom.
Through those shadowy aisles had Gabriel wandered before her,
And every stroke of the oar now brought him nearer and nearer.'

                              ~~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
                                  Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie~~

The character Charlotte 'Charlie' Cates is speaking:

     '...It wasn't the book that brought me here.  It was Gabriel.'
     The bird lifts its head suddenly and gazes at me across the water.  I swear it's listening as I lay bare my secret.
     'I saw him,' I say.  'I saw Gabriel Deveau.'

The Gates of Evangeline begins with the quote above from Longfellow's famous epic poem about Evangeline, an Acadian girl (which morphed to Cajun) who searches for her lost love, Gabriel.  I won't go into the whole history of the Acadian people and how they went from Canada to Louisiana, but you can look it up if you are interested.  This book tells the story of Charlotte 'Charlie' Cates, a journalist and writer who comes to Louisiana to write a book about the cold case of a missing child, Gabriel Deveau.  After the death of her own son, Charlie begins to dream about children that need her help.  This leads her to accept a job offer far from home and indeed, Charlie needs a change.  It's either that or she might die of grief.  She doesn't understand these dreams and doesn't realize at first that these might be real children.

The Deveau family is a proud and famous one in their part of the world.  Their home is called Evangeline and it's located in the bayous and swamps of Louisiana.  Charlie finds herself in the midst of a family that is wealthy, entitled, and at odds on many issues.  There are secrets, yes, long-held secrets.  What did happen to little Gabriel Deveau?  Charlie is determined to find out.  Along the way, there are new friends, new enemies, a bit of romance, and more dreams.  And there's danger certainly, to Charlie and to others.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  I was able to figure out some things, but not others.  I liked the Louisiana setting and I had a lot of sympathy for Charlie.  She has lost her precious child and she wants to help other parents who find themselves in similar situations, if she can.  Cathy. from Kittling: Books, saw Hester Young at an author event last fall and wrote about it here.  It's a good write-up and gives a lot of insights into the author's process.  This is a debut novel and Ms. Young says it was sold as a trilogy.  So, we'll be seeing another two books with Charlie as a character.  She also said that part of the story is based on a dream that her grandmother had about her child and Hester Young dedicates the book to her grandmother and uncle.

I felt like The Gates of Evangeline contained all the best parts of gothic fiction - an old house, a family with secrets, a little romance, and danger to the main character.  I'm pleased with my first Gothic Challenge book, and I look forward to Hester Young's next book in the trilogy, which will be set in Tucson, Arizona.  From gothic Louisiana to gothic Arizona - ha!  

38 comments:

  1. This definitely fits for a gothic read due to the atmospheric setting. The premise sounds interesting and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Onto the wishlist it goes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great review Kay! I have this book, but haven't read it yet. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm definitely putting this one on my list. Gothic Louisiana--well, can't miss that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, this is one you should try, Jenclair!

      Delete
  4. This sounds really good to me. Cathy always does a great job with her author event write ups.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy does do a great job, doesn't she. Makes you feel like you're there.

      Delete
  5. There is just something about gothic fiction that holds you spellbound, add in a Louisiana setting and you have a perfect combination. Great review, Kay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and I bet you'd like this one.

      Delete
  6. I thought this book was great - and being a Louisiana girl myself, I was also super jazzed about the setting. I wish the other two were going to be set in LA but I doubt it given the main characters don't actually live there. Can't wait to see what's in store next, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, Becky, you need to read this one. No, I don't think the other two will be set in LA. Author has already said the next is in Tucson - so, desert gothic?

      Delete
  7. I haven't read a Gothic book in awhile but usually enjoy them. Did you read Amanda Stevens Graveyard books? Excellent and a new one is coming out soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the first book in the Graveyard series on my Kindle. One day soon perhaps.

      Delete
  8. Oooh sounds good. You don't see many of those anymore. I cut my reading teeth on gothic fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayle, I think you'd like this one.

      Delete
  9. This could be the perfect book for RIP this fall. I see that the audio is narrated by January LaVoy... she is excellent. Think I'll go the audio route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JoAnn, I bet the audio would be very good. And yes, perfect for RIP.

      Delete
  10. I'm glad you liked this one! And - I'm with you - guessed some things but not others. I do wonder where she's going to go with a trilogy...esp knowing it's set in Tucson! I kind of expected something Southern again...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. It will be interesting to see. Maybe Spanish and Native American ghosts?

      Delete
  11. Oh I love the sound of this book! I love Louisiana as a setting too, especially New Orleans, so this one is right up my alley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try this one. I bet you would like the setting. Although she does call beignets 'fried dough'. Sacrilege!

      Delete
  12. Good to hear you picked a good one to get started on your challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked it and look forward to the next one that Hester Young writes.

      Delete
  13. Gothic Arizona? Ha ha. Seems like an oxymoron!

    I enjoyed the set up of THE GATES OF EVANGELINE, I just wished there was a little more depth/nuance to the story. Like you, I guessed a lot of the "surprises." Not all, though. It wasn't bad for a debut novel and I'll definitely pick up the next book in the trilogy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - a decent debut. And you don't think of gothic when you think about AZ? LOL

      Delete
  14. I liked this one but didn't love it so I'm on the fence as to whether I'll continue the series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally understand, Diane. Maybe see what the story is and read some reviews first.

      Delete
  15. I didn't know about this title and the premise is certainly different! I like how it fits the gothic fiction challenge but was something you probably would've read anyway. Enjoy the second!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm not sure when it will come out. A while probably. I'm thinking that quite a few of the books I'm likely to try might fit the 'gothic' definition.

      Delete
  16. I don't know if I'd enjoy this one or not. It sounds like an interesting story. But I'm not sure I understand what 'gothic' fiction is. I guess I should look it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take a look at Diane's gothic challenge. She gives some definitions.

      Delete
  17. How interesting! Of course when I think of Gothic fiction I think of settings in England or other places but like that this book and the next one are set in other cities not ones I would normally associate with gothic. Great start to your challenge, Kay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you start with a creepy old house....LOL!

      Delete
  18. I have my eye on this book and am glad you enjoyed it, Kay. It sounds like such an interesting story, and I am really curious to know more about the history of the Acadians. I will have to look it up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the story of the migration (not voluntary) of the Acadians is an interesting one. You might like this one, Wendy.

      Delete
  19. I'm glad you liked it too, Kay. It's one of those stories that sticks with you after you're finished, at least that's how it was for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, I emailed the author and told her I liked the book. She says the next one will be on in January 2017 and will be called THE SHIMMERING ROAD. Arizona setting. Just so you know. Children will be involved again.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!