By Marie-Claude Bourque
In 1755, Evangeline and Gabriel are separated when British troops attack their village in Acadie. Their people are deported to the lower British colonies and Louisiana, and in the chaos the two young lovers lose each other. Gabriel spends many years searching for Evangeline, only to find her after her death. Grief stricken over the loss of his fiancee, Gabriel becomes a member of the Priory of Callan, a brotherhood of immortal Celtic sorcerers controlled by a powerful priestess named Morag. Morag and her consort, the alchemist Iain, convince Gabriel they will help him find Evangeline again, once her soul is reincarnated. In exchange, he will help Morag and Iain battle an ancient foe threatening the Priory. After 250 years of searching, Gabriel finally locates his soul mate.
In present-day, Lily Bellefontaine is an independent, practical young woman, and she is very focused on her career as a pediatric nurse. She meets Gabriel and suddenly her ordered life is turned upside down. The connection between them is undeniable. But a tragic childhood filled with uncertainty stops her from giving herself completely to Gabriel. He must somehow convince the sensible Lily that she is his long lost fiancee Evangeline. Lily has had special, unexplainable powers her whole life, gifts she has kept hidden from others. After meeting Gabriel and with Morag's help, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. As her powers increase, she must help the Priory of Callan fight the evil mage Theuron who is bent on destroying them. Yet Lily questions Gabriel's love. Is he in love with her or the memory of Evangeline? Gabriel's very existence depends on Lily accepting him as her soul mate.
Ancient Whispers is an original and complex dark paranormal romance. The story of Gabriel and Evangeline was inspired by the poem "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I was drawn into the story from the opening scene - a heart wrenching description of Evangeline and Gabriel being torn apart, maybe forever, by forces beyond their control. It was a very sensual story filled with magical rituals and Celtic lore. What I liked most about the book was the strong female lead. Lily, though practical, is strong enough to take a leap of faith and finally embrace her true self. Ancient Whispers was a complex story with intricate characters. I would have liked more information about the Priory of Callan and their origins with Morag, a fascinating character herself who could have her own book. Maybe a prequel?
Review copy courtesy of the author.