The Baby-Catcher Gate by Wendy Jo Cerna was an absolute beautifully written Christian novel. The author has a lovely style of writing. It is engaging and drew me in immediately not wanting to let me go. Within the first few pages I was caught up in the story.
Author Cerna’s vivid descriptive writing took me to the time and place of her story. I felt like I was back in 1980 again. The conversations were authentic and flowed easily. Using two points of view she switches between them seamlessly. Her style is easy and pleasant to read. There were even recipes at the back of the book as an added treat.
All of the characters are well defined. I felt like I knew each one well and had some new friends. The main character, Pearl, was a typical twelve year old girl growing up in 1980s. Yet she was anything but typical it seems. It was easy to become invested in Pearl’s story. I connected with her mother, Lizzie, also, and enjoyed Fritz. The characters have unique characteristics and quirks. There are so many that stood out as likable.
Pearl’s mother and grandmother were both “baby catchers,” but Pearl does not want to be one. Her spirit is too gentle. She will assist her mother at times but unlike her sister, Susan, Pearl isn’t cut out for this type of work. I thought the book was going to be about midwifery but it was about so much more. Baby catching was just a small portion of the book.
This is the tale of Pearl, who ends up in the hospital and Heaven. In Heaven Pearl receives a gift and a task. Then she returns to earth to help people. Pearl shares her unique experience with family and friends. Reading this brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart.
This story is filled with twists and turns to make it a page turning gem. A few parts drag a bit but overall it moves along at a nice pace. The surprises keep it interesting. I enjoyed the author’s idea of Heaven, God, and what eternal life will be. Gregory, the angel, was spot on for what an angel might be.
There are many life lessons and spiritual messages in this book. The foremost is life after death in Heaven. The author has stated in her notes that she prayed for and received God’s guidance when writing this unique book about the baby-catcher’s gate in Heaven. It is definitely a God glorifying tale.
Family, forgiveness, bullying, death, relationships, miscarriage, violence, and gossiping are all subjects approached in the captivating offering from author Cerna. It is an exceptionally well planned and well written book. I loved it. There was a phase she used that I had never heard: “we are in a thin place” meaning someone was between life and death there. It suited the story well.
I would highly recommend this book to mature readers because of some of the adult situations. It would have been nice if it had discussion questions. A book club would still be able to enjoy and examine this thought provoking offering from author Cerna easily. I rated it a 5 out of 5 stars. I won a copy of this book from Good Reads but was under no obligation to write a review. These are my honest words.
About the Book:
On a stormy summer night in 1982, twelve-year-old Pearl must accompany her midwife mother on a call to client in labor. Pressed into service as a birthing assistant, Pearl is called upon to swaddle the newborn boy and hold him in her arms. As she gazes into his face, she is drawn into what her mother likes to call a thin place – a place where the distance between heaven and earth becomes so small you can see into one from the other.
In this thin place, Pearl travels to The Baby-Catcher Gate. What she experiences there transforms her and she becomes a catalyst of change for her hometown in the north woods of Minnesota. Folks will never be the same.
The Baby-Catcher Gate is a story about the beautiful consequences of peeking into heaven. Follow Pearl’s adventure and catch a glimpse for yourself.
About the Author
Born and raised in a family of educators in Minnesota, Wendy Jo traveled to the University of Washington in Seattle to complete her bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts. In 1986, she married her college sweetheart. They settled in Bellevue, WA to run their contracting business and raise their three children. In 2009, she received a master’s degree in Psychology which she has used to educate and counsel hurting people in a variety of settings. In writing her first novel, she has found a way to combine her love of the arts and education with her passion for healing the brokenhearted.