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The Gates of Evangeline

The Gates of Evangeline - Hester Young This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

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.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this story but I didn't love it. I found it to be quite engaging with a lot of different mysteries to solve all tied together.