I gave it 5* out of 5*
I hadn’t read many fantasy novels and I wasn’t sure what to expect with Teagan Geneviene’s Atonement, Tennessee. So I was surprised how much I loved it. The author has a distinctive style of writing that is compelling; extraordinary fantasy woven around reality.
I try not to give spoilers so here’s the book’s blurb:
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 to, 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.
The protagonist, Esmeralda Lawton, is a brilliantly rounded figure; intuitive, empathetic, yet lacking in the confidence to believe in her instincts. Mostly the story is told subjectively in first person point of view, thus we learn about her from her reflections of both her past life and her present circumstances. The other characters are equally believable: the strange neighbour, Cael, the attractive Gwydion, both of whom attract Ralda in different ways, the three women who become friends; Racine, Bethany, and Lacey, the sheriff; all are brought alive on the page, both in the narrative and in Ralda’s observations
I also liked the idea of the cat, Lilith, as a character taking on distant third person narrator, as she moves around the house and the cemetery; showing the reader a different perspective on the story.
This is a superbly written book filled with subtle innuendos of the reality of Atonement Tennessee; of the inhabitants’ existence there. Fantasy is juxtaposed with sinister reality. The denouement is more than satisfactory – yet left me wondering if there could be a sequel. I hope so.
The author’s writing style is accessible; the mysterious plot is fascinating and immediately draws the reader in, there are wonderful descriptions of settings; evocative imagery of the house and cemetery, brilliantly rounded characters and compelling internal and spoken dialogue from different points of view. What more could a reader ask? This is a book I absolutely recommend.
Find the book here:
Just as an aside I thought you might like to watch the trailer I found of Teagan Geneviene’s Atonement, Tennessee. It portrays a tantalising hint of the story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koggOn6vcDs#t=57