Veiled Eyes C.L. Bevill – An atmospheric, wonderful tale
Louisiana is, in her heart, a mystical, magical land. In the bayous, where government and politics hold little sway, the real beating heart of the land resides. Here, the songs of her blood sing out in the voices of the birds, the roar of an alligator, the sound of the wind in the leaves. Her skin is this land of water and warm air, her hair the Spanish moss, growing lushly from the limbs of cypress trees rising full and strong from the bayous. She breathes the scent of water and growth, flowers and fecundity. And in this land of age and history, even the people of the lands are strange and wonderful in their own way – and some are frightening beyond all reason. For bad reasons, but for what they consider good ones too. Frightening.
Anna St. Thais knows nothing of this land, or its people. Abandoned on the doorsteps of a church in El Paso when only a few weeks old, Anna is alone her whole life, battered from pillar to post, from orphanage to foster home. Life has never been easy, and her luck has never been good. However, she has always had a ‘little friend’ living in the back of her head, helping her to make decisions, warning her of danger. And a voice in her head that visits her on occasion, sneaking into her dreams and touching her heart.
When we first meet Anna, she is hitchhiking across the country, trying to reach New Orleans where her foster home friend, Jane, has offered her a new job and a new home. It’s tough to keep your job as a car mechanic when the bosses jerk-off son drops a car hood on your hand to try to take your job away and give it to his just as jerk-off friend. And, with her usual string of bad luck in full force, she is mugged, robbed, had her car taken – and she hasn’t even made it all the way across Texas yet. Forced into hitchhiking, her ‘little friend’ in her head, that usually protects her from making bad choices when it comes to trust, checks out and leaves here alone. Alone, to accept a ride from a psychotic.
Terrified, drugged and in pain, the presence is back with a vengeance, determined to rescue Anna, whether she believes the presence exists or not. What follows is a story of mysticism and history, of stories and family. This is a beautifully written story, blending the voice of the Lake with French Cajun patois, with a smoothness and depth that draws in the reader and sooths the soul.
This is a fantasy, but it is much more. It is a tale of history and belief, of stories and hope. The people Anna comes to know, her unknown family, are a family in truth – a group of people bound by blood and belief, and by an incredible talent that turns their face from the world.
You can’t love every person in a tale, but as a whole, these people I truly loved. They are close and caring, determined to protect their family and their way of life. The story is complex and richly written, and draws in the discerning reader immediately. There were some issues that were a bit confusing, when it came to the italics used for mind-to-mind communications, however, I am not sure that those problems weren’t due to formatting for Kindle. I have seen that sort of thing often. Otherwise? I fell into the book to the point that I could nearly feel the breeze off the bayou against my skin. It was wonderful, lush and rich as a bite of praline.