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At 7:30 PM one night, although I was only in the middle of the book, I set out in determination to finish Evangeline of the Bayou. I ended up reading so ardently that time didn’t seem to be passing at all. But it was, and when I finally finished it was 9:30 PM. That’s how amazing it was.

Evangeline Clement is a haunt-huntress-in-training living with her grandma in the Louisiana bayou. What’s a haunt huntress? Well, they’re women who protect people from supernatural creatures like bayou banshees, dixie demons, and graveyard ghouls, among many others. Evangeline is very excited to become an official haunt huntress and for her familiar to arrive. But what if she’s not a real haunt huntress, but just a middling?

The story begins when Evangeline and her Gran are called to New Orleans to solve a case involving a strange illness. This one is like nothing Evangeline has ever seen before. And soon, she’s gotten herself mixed up in a mystery that quickly gets very frightening and very dangerous.

The best part of this book is the clever and innovative plot, and the combination of mystery, adventure and fantasy. I also loved the different creatures. My favorite was Fader, the four-eared cat who is Gran’s familiar. I enjoyed learning about all of the magical elements. There are spells, magical items, talismans, voodoo, and more. The blend of cultures in New Orleans is a lot like the gumbo Evangeline loves.

In addition to that, I liked the realistic characters. Take Evangeline-like many people, she aspires to be something (in her case, a haunt huntress), but the problem is that in order to be approved as a haunt huntress, she has to prove that she “has heart”, and she’s worried she won’t be deemed worthy. Being a haunt huntress connects Evangeline to important women like her Gran and her dead mother. From the start, you’re rooting for her.

Evangeline of the Bayou is a wonderful, exciting and fast-paced book that I recommend for just about anyone, in particular mystery fans and avid fantasy readers. I suggest you immediately get this book. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge. Balzer + Bray, 2018. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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