In Dann A. Stouten’s debut novel, The Gate, he nails it! Some may say that his first novel is reminiscent of the writer William Paul Young’s novel, The Shack. However, if you dig a little deeper and continue flipping through the pages, you will find that it is not quite true. The one thing they both have in common is the ability to share their characters’ encounters with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going! Yes, that’s right… they ain’t going! Is heaven real? What do you believe? As a body of believers, we are taught that heaven is a real place. We have the hope and faith in Jesus Christ to believe what the Bible says and that is, when this life is over, it is just the beginning.
Schuyler “Sky” Hunt stumbles upon a cottage for sale and decides to go check it out while his wife and daughters are on a shopping trip. This is not just any ordinary cottage, this could be the very cottage that Sky remembers from his childhood.
Stouten takes the reader on a stroll down memory lane, as Sky not only reminisces about his past but also longs to get away from his everyday stress… and his younger brother Ben. Sky is very annoyed! He can’t believe his little brother did it again! What is it going to take for him to get his life together? How many times will he have to bail him out?
Sky has continuously bailed Ben out of one situation after another. This time, Sky will not rescue him again. Instead, he will let him simmer until he decides what do to. This trip to the cottage will surely help him relax and clear his mind or so he thinks.
Upon arriving at the real estate office, the agent tells Sky they have been expecting him. Sky thinks this is odd because he didn’t make an appointment, but he doesn’t make too much of the comment. Perhaps, his wife made all the arrangements for him. Soon, he is ushered into the cottage where he meets Ahbee who is making breakfast. Ahbee tells Sky that he is about to experience the true taste of heaven.
What Sky is about to encounter will have the readers knocking on Angel’s Gate in order to understand and reflect on their own journey. In visiting the cottage, Sky gets an opportunity to experience something unique and divine. He is given a moment to interact with loved ones who have gone before him so they can deliver a message from God concerning regret, forgiveness, and appreciation. They not only deliver the message of hope but also delivers a message of encouragement.
The Gate examines the old question: What lies on the other side of the dirt? What actually happens when a person passes from this life to the next? Are they happy? Are they young? Will they remember their family? This awe-inspiring, thought-provoking novel gives the reader a peek into what heaven might really be like. It makes the reader evaluate and take notes on how they are living their lives. In doing so, after reading the last page and closing the book, the reader is somewhat amazed, inspired, and encouraged to live their best lives.