Gatehaven, by Molly Noble Bull, was an interesting surprise. Though billed as a Christian Gothic story for young readers, which I do not usually enjoy, I enjoyed it. Here I need to admit, however, that I am not a pre-teen or teen any longer. In my younger days I would have found the story tense. Though the plot involves the stalking and capture of Shannon, a naïve young lady, by grown men with dishonorable intent to her and her family Bull handles the situations appropriately for her younger audience. The two heroes, Ian and Peter, do their best to save and help Shannon see the danger and to see what love really is before it is too late but, to their frustration, she learns the hard way. Bull cites a lot of Bible scriptures, which I really enjoyed, but they could be irritating to someone who believes differently than I do. I found that for the most part the scriptures fit with the plot where they are used.
Shannon is sometimes very irritating in her naivety, but not unlike some friends I grew up with. The characters Peter and Ian were believable up to and including their frustration with Shannon. The protagonists were a bit shallow but did the job well enough to carry the storyline. Cally, a minor character but a catalyst in the plot, had a depth that I enjoyed. All of the characters Bull presents had a purpose in fleshing out the storyline so that by the end of the novel closure was realized.
I will read Gatehaven again and will recommend it to Christian preteen and young teen readers. Like the setting, Victorian era, I found the style and the moral of the storyline obvious but tasteful. Good job Ms. Bull.