IN THE AUTHOR’S WORDS:
Esmeralda Lawton is sick of the big city. “Ralda” was betrayed until trust became a theoretical concept. So it’s a dream come true when she buys an old estate, complete with historic cemetery. Okay, she isn’t excited about the cemetery, but she’s strangely drawn to the estate. Atonement, Tennessee, a quaint town, seems like the perfect place for her. However, her new life isn’t quiet.
The house is full of antiques. Some have extraordinary properties — a brass bed causes strange dreams, and a mirror shows the truth of who you are.
A mysterious neighbor secretly watches over the graveyard. There’s more to him than meets the eye, but what? Then there’s Gwydion, owner of Fae’s Flowers. She stubbornly resists her feelings for him.
Ralda suspects that people are drawn to Atonement too, well — atone. She wonders what sins led her there. However, her ancestress made the mistakes.
Atonement is home to more than humans. Supernaturals go there too. Some have fallen far.
This urban fantasy, seasoned with Celtic mythology, comes with a side-order of mystery. Are you sad to see the “Sookie Stackhouse” stories end? Make a visit to Atonement, Tennessee!
In a stroke of good luck, Esmeralda (Ralda) Lawton wins the Sunhold Mansion located in Atonement, Tennessee in an online auction which sets her transition into a new life into motion. As a professional editor, she’s ready to move away from the city to enjoy living in a small town setting. Along with her cat, Lilith they travel to Atonement and take up residence in the old manor house.
The rumor around town is that the house is haunted, but Ralda is enchanted with the charm the home and its furnishings have to offer. Included in the sale of the Mansion is a cemetery that contains the tombs of the past owners of the house. Ralda is looking for peace, and intuitively she keeps her distance seeking solace in her surroundings, until one night when Lilith escapes from the mansion.
Eventually, Ralda finds the cat in the cemetery where she has a chance encounter with her new neighbor, the mysterious Cael. Where he came from at that exact moment is never clear, but Ralda is shaken by the chance meeting. Things get even stranger when she finds a large black feather on the ground where they met.
When the owner of the florist shop, Gwydion introduces himself, Ralda is mesmerized by his accent and good looks. Gwydion offers to help fix up the place after Ralda explains that Lilith is somehow getting out. Ralda agrees, realizing that the house does need repairs. Yet something is not quite right with Gwydion’s interest in the house. He is obsessed with the antiques left for the new owner.
The plot moves forward quickly, and Ralda meets her eclectic neighbors, Racine, Lacy, and Bethany. The women bond and friendship blossoms. That’s when the strange events within the house rock Ralda to her core and set the reader on a wild adventure they will not forget.
What I found most fun about Atonement, was the way the POV shifted to the third person when Lilith, the cat was on her own. The reader gained an entirely different perspective from the cat’s narrative. It was excellent tension builder and moved the story along until Esmeralda comes back in the first person. I got the sense that Lilith and Ralda’s personalities played off of one another, yet were one in the same, another magical element I enjoyed in the story.
I loved this book and October was the perfect time to read this eerie story. The elements of light and dark and an ancient magic possibly too evil to understand surround the storytelling. Esmeralda Lawton is tied genetically to the home, and as that history is revealed, the reader is drawn into the realization of the power the Sunhold mansion holds over Esmeralda. There is more of this story waiting to be told, and I anxiously await a sequel to find out more.
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies
Author, Teagan Geneviene
About the Author
Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a major east coast city, but she calls the desert southwest home. She longs to return to those magical lands.
Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.
Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.
Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.
See her book trailer videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q?disable_polymer=true
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Image by Chris Graham