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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)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Meh. could have ended 138 pages sooner.
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.
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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.
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Sasha McDowell
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Jan 03, 2019
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The Gates Ajar By: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps 1 1 Aug 30, 2016 03:40PM  
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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

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