Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Released: September 1, 2015
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★½

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.

I first saw this book mentioned over on Posting for Now (thanks, Pat!), and the blurb immediately struck me as something I’d enjoy. When I happened to see it while browsing at the library, I had to grab it.

THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is a dark Southern Gothic/mystery that I enjoyed very much, even though I got tears in my eyes several times while reading it. Soon after the death of her young son, main character Charlie Cates starts having dreams of children coming to her for help. One such dream leads her to the swamps of Louisiana, where she gets entangled in a decades-old cold case of a missing child from a wealthy and powerful family.

This book is the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and romance, with a touch of the paranormal. Charlie is a sympathetic character as a grieving mother determined to do right by her son and help others. My heart broke for her. The mystery was so intriguing – hard to put down, for sure. I will say that I was able to figure out some parts of this multi-layered mystery, but others were quite a surprise. Lots of dark & twisty goodness here. Maybe not everything that happened was plausible, but overall this book was a darn good read.

I’ve heard that this book is the start of a trilogy, which makes me a little nervous considering THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is perfect as a stand-alone novel. On the other hand, I’d love to revisit Charlie Cates and see what the future holds for her.