Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gates Ajar or Our Loved Ones in Heaven” as Want to Read:
The Gates Ajar or Our Loved Ones in Heaven
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gates Ajar or Our Loved Ones in Heaven

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern ...more
Paperback, 164 pages
Published January 11th 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published July 8th 1869)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  63 ratings  ·  11 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Gates Ajar or Our Loved Ones in Heaven
MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart
A classic allegory of a young woman's journey toward Spiritual Maturity (a Pilgrim's Progress type journey). Set in the North East United States during the Civil War, the main character: "Mary Cabot" faces the loss of her beloved best friend, mentor and brother "Royal". Elizabeth Stuart Phelp's portrayals of characters is masterful and engaging. I love Elizabeth Stuart Phelps use of Holy Scripture throughout the book in her explanations of heaven and life hereafter!

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps began
...more
Orion
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Gates Ajar is an 1868 novel that was immensely popular following its publication soon after the American Civil War where so many men had been killed. In diary format, it tells the story of Mary Cabot, who is mourning the death of her brother Royal who was shot dead in the war. Their parents are deceased, and Mary is unable to find sympathy and relief from anyone. She is on the verge of losing her religious faith and giving in to despair when her widowed aunt Winifred Forceythe fortuitously a ...more
Andrea
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I just finished reading this for one of my university modules. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did, it has been a pleasant surprise (though not so much so because my lecturer is just THAT good at choosing books).

I am not a spiritual person, though I have read a lot about Buddhism and I feel somewhat of a connection with it. I do not believe in God and in many ways this book was so far from my understanding of life. However, I enjoyed the conversations between Mary and her aunt
...more
Nicola Pierce
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this nor its author and bought it in the famous bookshop in Porto despite the fact that I was not entirely confident I would actually read it or be able to comprehend it. Well, I did and I was. I cracked it open on holidays and was instantly hooked by the warmth of the narrator's voice. Now, it is both interesting and not terribly depending - possibly - on how you feel about reading theological discussions. Ah, but I think Phelps writing saves the day. I read it in a couple ...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
The Gates Ajar starts off with an accurate portrayal of grief over someone's death for the first 15% or so. Then the plot dies and is replaced by a series of theological discussions. Most of that part is dull, except for odd digressions about Swedenborg and how someone eaten by a cannibal would be resurrected. ...more
Chrisanne
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are reasons that its popularity did not continue. And some are valid.

But Phelps gives a startlingly legitimate portrait of grief and questioning. I remembered something I had read regarding the post-Civil War life: That there were literally towns full of women because towns full of men had been killed (because of the way that they composed their companies). These seemed to be her audience.

I liked the book, in perspective. I liked it, especially with the ties to Stowe and mourning. I also
...more
Allison
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-for-2014
This is another book that I found out about when researching the public's reaction to death in the Civil War, and read so much about it that I ordered a print-on-demand copy from Amazon. I don't know if it's quite right to say that I really enjoyed The Gates Ajar, but I was fascinated by it. The contrast between the arguments for a materialist view of heaven, complete with religious and philosophical backup and counterpoints for almost everything, and the sharp characterization of Mary, a grievi ...more
Libby
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this for research for my 19th century novel-in-progress. Described as "Spiritualist" it wasn't what I was expecting, rather lengthy descriptions of what heaven may be like, enveloped in a journal of a young girl whose brother died in the Civil War.

Phelps was a great advocate for social reform, anti-vivisection, temperance, and the emancipation of women. She was also involved in clothing reform for women, urging them to burn their corsets in 1874.
...more
steve
Meh. could have ended 138 pages sooner.
Erin
Aug 21, 2008 added it
Shelves: civil-war
First published in 1868. Intended to provide comfort to all the women who had lost husbands, sons, fathers, brothers in the Civil War. Greatly influenced the view Americans had/have of heaven.
Nigel Lepianka
rated it it was ok
Nov 23, 2015
Anna
rated it did not like it
Apr 17, 2013
Sarah
rated it liked it
Aug 22, 2013
Emily
rated it really liked it
Sep 15, 2020
ms. rose
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2008
Alanna
rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2014
Ben Hallman
rated it did not like it
Jul 03, 2013
Flora
rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2020
Sarah
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2018
Haley Eccles
rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2016
Savannah Vandiver
rated it liked it
Oct 03, 2020
Daniel Joslyn
rated it did not like it
Jan 22, 2017
Emma
rated it it was ok
Apr 22, 2020
Sarah Beth
rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2010
Meg Lebow
rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2021
Carl
rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2018
Joe McClure
rated it it was ok
Dec 01, 2012
Dan
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of good biblical truth here. Everyone needs a Winifred in their life.
Gwendolyn
rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2014
Sasha McDowell
rated it it was ok
Jan 03, 2019
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Gates Ajar By: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps 1 1 Aug 30, 2016 03:40PM  
The Gates Ajar By: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps 1 1 Aug 30, 2016 03:39PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Marrow of Tradition
  • The Bondwoman's Narrative
  • The Bostonians
  • Iola Leroy
  • The Were-Wolf
  • The House of the Seven Gables
  • Childhood
  • Youth
  • Seventy Years Young: Memories of Elizabeth, Countess of Fingall
  • Serotonin
  • Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America
  • The Water Babies
  • The Wide, Wide World
  • Jewelweed
  • The Awakening
  • As I Was Going Down Sackville Street
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield
  • Enter A Goldfish: Memoirs Of An Irish Actor, Young And Old
See similar books…
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, born Mary Gray Phelps, (August 31, 1844-January 28, 1911) was an American author.

She was born at Andover, Massachusetts. In most of her writings she used her mother's name "Elizabeth Stuart Phelps" as a pseudonym, both before and after her marriage in 1888 to Herbert Dickinson Ward, a journalist seventeen years younger. She also used the pseudonym Mary Adams. Her fath
...more

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked...
367 likes · 59 comments