Here at the Gate, by Christine Campbell, is a brilliant book. It follows the journey of self-discovery for the protagonist, Mhairi, but what it really does is take you on an adventure all of your own.
Mhairi had worked hard to build herself a normal, stable life, but there had always been a dark fear inside her. No matter how happy she was, it was always there… It was as though she was standing outside a high-walled garden, barred from the secret of her past by the wrought-iron gate. She could see all the bushes and trees, the rhododendron and hydrangea. She could even smell the roses and the honeysuckle, but then the gate would swing shut and she was outside and it was dark…
She needed to remember what she had spent a lifetime forgetting.
I was curious to read a book from Christine from what she wrote on her blog. Her posts were always well-written and insightful, and I was not disappointed with this novel. I bought the paperback version, which was of excellent quality. And the cover art is stunning, too.
At first, I wasn’t sure how well I would relate to a mature Scottish woman and I took at as an exercise of challenging the way I saw the world. It was much slower paced, and more focused on families and relationships than I am. It was a good challenge.
The further through the story I got, the more I could relate to Mhairi. She needed control, craved security, and would do anything to protect herself and her own.
She wasn’t willing to face her past.
I cried while reading this story – both good and bad tears. Her pain was strong, but so was her spirit. Through the strength of this character, I was able not only to see the world in a different – slower – light, but also to reflect on my own pain and loss; and my own strength.
Thank you, Christine, for this beautiful read.
You can buy Here At The Gate on Amazon, and other retailers.