The Gates of Evangeline

"There is nothing more unnatural than losing your child. Not even talking to the dead." Charlotte "Charlie" Cates should know; she's experienced both. At 38, Charlie is divorced, unhappily working in New York City as the managing editor of a woman's magazine, and reeling from the tragic death of her four-year-old son, Keegan. Ambien has provided a nightly escape, but when Charlie decides she no longer wants to numb herself with the drug, the dreams start.

It's one of these dream premonitions that convinces Charlie to accept a job offer she initially doesn't want. Her previous employer is publishing a series of books about high-profile unsolved crimes and wants Charlie to cover the 30-year-old kidnapping of toddler Gabriel Deveau. Charlie is disgusted by the idea of profiting from the disappearance of a small boy; however, she has a change of heart when a dream shows her a boy in a swamp: "Will you help me? The boy asked." With that, Charlie heads for Louisiana.

First-time novelist Hester Young may not have realized she was writing a Southern gothic, but the rich atmosphere of the American South clings heavily to every page in The Gates of Evangeline. From the eeriness of the swamplands, to the grandness of the Evangeline estate, the gothic mood embraces the reader much the same way Charlie's dreams envelop her.

The Gates of Evangeline is a wonderfully evocative, chilling mystery layered with themes of love, faith and devotion that is sure to haunt readers' dreams long after they've turned the last page. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

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