This is a re-post in honor of National Coffee Day!
Coffee. This rich, intense essence of life; the bold, earthy goodness that makes mornings more bearable. A whiff of the stuff can help my eyes open, get me out of bed a little faster.
But this wasn’t always the case.
I worked at Starbucks at the end of college and during the first couple of years of my marriage, and I loved it. I loved the smell of the place, the warm, enveloping dark, leathery feel of stores. But, and this is the weird part, I didn’t really drink coffee when I worked there.
Weird, right? I drank chai teas and teas and mistos (tea with steamed milk), and, every once and awhile, a frappucino. What was the strangest thing was that I could take a sip of coffee and tell you which beans they were–I had a great pallet for different coffee. But I never sat down and had a whole cup of coffee just to have a cup of coffee.
So, coffee and I were friends. Friends with benefits. I got the taste factor, but I didn’t get the sitting and sinking into a cup of coffee thing. For years, we stayed in touch. Sometimes we would hook up with some Bailey’s (holidays), or at a friend’s house (as not to be rude). But it was a friendly nod from across the room. I understood the taste, and the caffeine stuff is obvious. But I was afraid of the intense love that was hiding behind the cute coffee mug.
Through early days of motherhood, through jobs that forced me out of bed in the morning, I stayed away from what I knew would be a darkly obsessive relationship with coffee. I spied it through the Starbucks drive-through, I even tasted its sweet loving embrace. But I wouldn’t let it have a real hold on my heart.
And then, Keurig. We bought one, and I decided it was time to have a cup here and there. I let it in. I fell in love. Slowly at first, and then all at once.
Pretty quickly one K-Cup at a time wasn’t enough. I was up to two in my mug in the morning, and sometimes another a little later. I couldn’t get enough. And that’s where I am now.
I’m fully immersed in this love story now. Every morning now, coffee has me at Hello. So much so, that I’m left my Keurig and went whole hog for the French press. We have two now: they big Mama 12-cup, and the 8-cup smaller version. Nearly everyday, one of them is in use. Because coffee is necessary, sometimes even more necessary than food.
Watch out world, no one can stop this endless love. It’s me and coffee forever.
Okay, onto a review of The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young.
When Charlie (short for Charlotte) Cates starts to have eerie dreams of children, she’s sure it’s a manifestation of her dead son. Through chance and luck, though, she finds that her dreams are messages from children in danger, and she feels she must listen.
When her old editor offers her a chance to write a book about an unsolved child abduction in Louisiana, Charlie decides to turn it down. But the child comes to her in a dream, and she feels compelled to go to the renowned estate called Evangeline.
With the blessing of the Deveau family, Charlie delves into abduction and loss of the 3 year-old child more than 30 years earlier. Making new friends, she discovers family secrets and estate mysteries that are all part of the Deveau family. Through it all, Charlie finds herself starting to think she may be able to heal.
The Gates of Evangeline is a very intriguing mystery that had me hooked almost from the get go. The book has supernatural and spiritual elements, which makes it even more interesting.
The characters were likable but not very complex, and their actions are pretty predictable. The fundamental mystery of the story was quite predictable, but the spiritual and mystical unknowns gave the whole story a nuanced quality that lifts it to another level. The romance of Evangeline as well as the actual romance between Charlie and another main character add facets that made me want to keep reading even after I solved the central conundrum.
After all is said and done, I give The Gates of Evangeline 3.5 stars. If the real mystery of the story were a little less obvious, it would be more. I’ll be keeping an eye on Hester Young, though–she tells a great, nuanced story.