Prolific fantasy writer Sharon Shinn spins another imaginative tale with gentle romance in Gateway. Taking time out from a busy summer internship, Chinese adoptee Daiyu stops at a jewelry vendor near the St. Louis Arch and is captivated by the beautiful and unusual stones that reflect her birth heritage. After wearing them for only a few moments, she is transported to Shenglang, an alternate St. Louis that resembles 19th-century China and in which Chinese culture is dominant while whites and blacks serve as ostracized laborers.
The confused teen is taken in by a biracial couple, who explain to Daiyu that she is one of the few individuals who can travel between dimensions with the aid of magical amulets. They ask for her help in bringing justice to Chenglei, their corrupt prime minister. With the help of Kalen, an orphaned, white teenage boy, and a wealthy socialite, Daiyu quickly learns espionage tricks and the finer skills of high society for her auspicious meeting with Chenglei.
Once her mission is completed, the teen is free to return home, but she will forget all that she experienced in Shenglang, including her developing and secret relationship with Kalen. Caught between two worlds, Daiyu is afraid of losing memories from both. But can love survive beyond time and space? The possibility will enthrall teen readers, as will the author’s detailed descriptions of this parallel world; her interesting explanations of travel across time and dimensions; and thought-provoking discussions of race and culture. Shinn concludes with room for a sequel and the chance to explore love and time once more.