Truth and fiction are tightly bound in this seamless historical fiction based on a very real historical figure: Evangeline Adams. A descendant of Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, Evangeline eschewed the proper life of traditional marriage and life as a gentle wife and she left for New York City to establish her own business, much to the dismay of her family. She became one of the most successful astrologists of all time. Credo Italia | June, 2015 | Paperback | 376 pp
After a rough start trying to find a place in New York City to conduct business, Evangeline was thrust into sudden stardom when she predicted the Windsor Hotel fire. Offices and apartments were finally located at Carnegie Hall and Evangeline was immediately bringing in clients and requests by mail from the start. When J.P. Morgan became her client, her business soared yet again.
“Millionaires don’t use astrology, billionaires do.” – J.P. Morgan
Evangeline came into contact with Emma Viola Sheridan Fry, a former actress, acting coach, and suffragist. Times being what they were and before women even had the right to vote, Evangeline struggles between her love for Emma and the desire for a normal outward appearance. Any amount of lewd behavior perceived by the public could be catastrophic to the business. Another factor thrown into the mix is her impending doom. Casting charts on herself gave her the exact time and date of her death, and according to Evangeline, the stars never lie. Time is short.
Her impressive list of famous historical figures grows in notation and as clients. She has a newsletter with a healthy subscription, her horoscopes are printed in newspapers all over, books are written and successfully published, famous predictions come true, lectures and tours are given, and when charged by NYC for the crime of telling fortunes for money, the judge dismissed the case and stated that the defendant had “raised astrology to the dignity of an exact science.”
The novel is dotted with actual snippets from newspapers, appropriately credited at the end, showing a great amount of research by author Clint Adams. Although, the reader is still left to discern between fact and fiction by the end. Evangeline, perhaps, has an answer for these readers.
“No longer focused on how much time’s left, I chose to savor life in the now. In a split second, while lying there in my bed, I chose to favor mystery over certainty. Perhaps some things are left best unknown.”
The romance between Evangeline and Emma, although believable, fell a bit flat for me. But the only reason for this is the picture of Evangeline on the back of the book which was taken toward the end of her life. I saw an old lady. And I thought of an old lady during the more romantic interludes. Nothing against old ladies (I am one), it just didn’t inspire me. However, the love between them built upon her character and became a force in her internal battle between decorum and a ‘carpe diem’ attitude.
Star-crossed lovers enchant in this mystical account of Evangeline: The Seer of Wall St. And whether you believe in astrology or not, the novel itself is a magical read with the inspiring backdrop of early twentieth century New York City. The dialogue between characters makes the book, each character carefully depicted by words alone. Evangeline’s initial introduction to famous occultist Aleister Crowly was picture perfect and wonderfully bizarre.
“You do know why I’m most famous, don’t you?”
“I’ve heard of many things you’ve done. You’ve founded a new religion of sorts.”
“If I could plunge a dagger into my heart at this very moment, I’d do so in front of you so you can witness the carnage.”
“I didn’t mean to-”
“Assassin! That’s what you do to men. I can tell from your demeanor, you trivialize each one of us.”
“One again, you’re toying with me.”
“Once again, I’d love to.”
For fans of historical fiction, the occult, and magical realism, I highly suggest Evangeline: The Seer of Wall St. This novel is a solid bet – it’s in the stars.
Evangeline: The Seer of Wall St.
by Clint Adams