Imagine yourself in Bob Hope Airport, Burbank, Los Angeles, at about 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. There is only one shop open because your flight is the last one leaving. That shop only seems to sell candy, pop and the new Amy Schumer book, which although doubtless hilarious, you don’t really feel like reading in front of your kids. You have just finished one of the best reads of the year, Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and you need to find another book, quickly. The woman behind the counter appears to be reading The Cursed Child by JK Rowling. You are somewhat cynical about this, wondering if it’s yet another Harry Potter moneyspinner, which is ironic given that you have just visited Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. She puts down the book to reveal another book sitting behind it. You ask her what it is. “Eight Ways to be a Better Wife” you are told. Despite the fact that The Husband would probably believe that there is much to be said for such a tome, you decide that this lady is not going to give you the help that you need.
This is the very situation that I found myself in a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never been a big Grisham, King or Roberts reader, which is unfortunate when you find yourself without a book at a small airport. This may be unthinkable to some, but I have never read a self help book and, outside of Religious Studies classes in school and a brief period of religious interest from Child Number Two, I have never sought solace from the bible. In Bob Hope Airport, this leaves only one title on the shelves, given that the lovely Amy has been dismissed, The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young. I told myself that there was no way it could be any good, but so long as it let me kill the hours between LA and San Francisco, then it would be fine. I was wrong. The Gates of Evangeline is great. Great in that way that you don’t have to think too much, but just follow along with the story. It’s a page turner in the truest sense. If you are looking for romance, death and the supernatural, you need look no further!
Charlotte Cates is a mother who has lost her only child. Unable to hold down her job at the magazine for which she has worked for many years and wracked by guilt, she takes a writing assignment exploring the mysterious disappearance of three year old Gabriel Deveau some thirty years previously. The Deveau family, longtime residents of Louisiana invite Charlotte into their home to interview the family, but once in situ she finds nothing but secrets and half-truths.
Whilst The Gates of Evangeline isn’t necessarily the book that I would recommend to my friends, I certainly enjoyed the read. Young is a pacy writer and even at the end of the short flight home, I certainly wasn’t about to cast this book to one side. It’s a beach read, or a break read, but definitely a fun read!