Gates of Paradise - V.C. Andrews
Reading Challenge Category: Follow-on Book
The car crash that killed Heaven and Logan left Annie Casteel Stonewall orphaned and crippled. Whisked off to Farthinggale Manor by the possessive Tony Tatterton, Annie pines for her lost family, but especially for Luke, her half-brother. Friend of her childhood, her fantasy prince, her loving confidante…without the warm glow of Luke’s love, she is lost in the shadows of despair. When Annie discovers Troy’s cottage hidden in Farthinggale’s woods, the mystery of her past deepens. And even as she yearns to see Luke again, her hopes and dreams are darkened by the sinister Casteel spell…treacherous, powerful, and evil.
It is so bittersweet to be back in this world again. I took a few days off in-between reading the first three books and this one. In this book, we are following Annie, Heaven’s daughter. We see her as a grown-up 18-year-old and living a fanciful, happy and free life. She has everything she could possibly wish for and everything Heaven didn’t have when she was growing up. It is strange seeing Heaven as only a peripheral character and not the main voice of the story. I always feel a sense of loss when reading this book as if she has moved on and wants to live her life privately. However, this factor and the small break I took did lessen the pain when disaster struck. Annie is forced through circumstances to go to Farthingale Manor and stay with who she believes is her step great-grandfather, Tony. She is crippled and needs to recuperate, and everyone around decides that this would be the best environment for her. However, the sinister ghosts that have lived at Farthy for many years have grown restless and aren’t prepared to give Annie the peace she needs. Instead, her nightmare has only just begun. This has never been my favourite book in the series, mainly for no longer following Heaven. However, this time around, I have enjoyed it much more. I truly felt the despair that Annie was feeling and felt as trapped as she was; there was no way out of the situation; she was truly at Tony’s mercy. Knowing all the secrets up front as well, I was spurred on to read and revisit Annie’s involvement of them unravelling around her. It was great to read this book once more, and I feel emotionally wrung out, and I still have the final instalment to read, which always breaks me. I’m going to move straight on to it, and rip it off like a plaster.