Gateway to the Moon
From award-winning novelist and memoirist Mary Morris comes the story of a sleepy New Mexican community that must come to grips with a religious and political inheritance they never expected. Entrada de la Luna is the sort of town that ambitious children try to leave behind them. Poor health, broken marriages, and poverty are the norm, and luck is unusual. So when Miguel Torres notices an advertisement for a position looking after two small boys a few towns over, he jumps at the opportunity.Rachel Rothstein is not the sort of parent Miguel expected to be working for, though. A frustrated artist, Rachel moved her family away from New York looking for a fresh start, but so far New Mexico has not solved any of the problems they brought with them. But Miguel genuinely loves the work and he finds many of the Rothstein family's customs similar to ones he sees in his own community.Studded throughout this present-day narrative are historical vignettes following the ancestors of Entrada's residents, beginning in fifteenth-century Spain and moving forward to the discovery of America, highlighting the torture, pursuit, and resistance of the Jewish people throughout history, leading to the founding of the enclave that Miguel now calls home. A beautiful novel of shared history, Gateway to the Moon is a moving and memorable portrait of home and community.

Gateway to the Moon Details

TitleGateway to the Moon
Author
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherNan A. Talese
ISBN-139780385542906
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Gateway to the Moon Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 rounded up The novel opens in 1992 New Mexico where we meet Miguel Torres, a fourteen year old boy with a passion for the stars and a desire to leave this dead end place where he lives. We are then taken back in time to 1492 and we meet Luis de Torres. This “is not his real name. It is Yosef Ben Ha Levi Halvri — Joseph, Son of Levi, the Hebrew. But he became Luis de Torres earlier that year when the Alhambra Decree called for expulsion or conversion of all the Muslims and Jews. “ As a Jew yo 4.5 rounded up The novel opens in 1992 New Mexico where we meet Miguel Torres, a fourteen year old boy with a passion for the stars and a desire to leave this dead end place where he lives. We are then taken back in time to 1492 and we meet Luis de Torres. This “is not his real name. It is Yosef Ben Ha Levi Halvri — Joseph, Son of Levi, the Hebrew. But he became Luis de Torres earlier that year when the Alhambra Decree called for expulsion or conversion of all the Muslims and Jews. “ As a Jew you convert or be executed or escape if you could. Luis decides to escape, setting sail with Columbus for the new world . Thus we are presented with the link between these two characters, across continents and centuries, as well as an explanation of some rituals of the Catholic people of Entrada de la Luna such as the lighting of the candles on Friday evening. Rituals that they can’t explain, other than it is their custom. These alternate with other narratives in between - Rachel Rothstein, a sad troubled woman with a failing marriage who hires Miguel to babysit her two sons, Elena, Miguel’s aunt who has left the town and with whom Miguel feels a connection through the post cards she sends from her journeys. We follow several other characters from the past as well. These stories were skillfully brought together by lovely prose and a captivating telling. I have read only one other book by Morris, The Jazz Palace and she easily carried me to these times and places as she did in that novel . In reading the acknowledgments, it’s clear that the book is well researched and even a brief internet search will illustrate this. While this in so many way is about the Spanish Inquisition, it is about connecting characters across centuries, about beliefs, religious persecution, finding one’s identity, the pains of hiding one’s identity in order to survive, about one’s heritage, about how much of the past is present through who one’s ancestors are. This is a well written story with wonderful characters from both the past and present and I highly recommended it. (As an aside : Up until a week ago, I thought I knew all there was to know about my roots because I knew that all of my grandparents were born in Italy . I recently did an AncestryDNA test out of curiosity since my husband has been working on his genealogy and has found some interesting things about where his ancestors were from. I mention this here, because I found out I was a lot more than Italian and that made this a meaningful story for me in some ways . I am 43% Italian, 15% Mideast, 14% Caucasus, 11% Iberian Peninsula, 11% European Jewish and a smattering of other countries with lower %’s. I find this so fascinating and moving and I felt connected to this story .)I received an advanced copy of this book from Nan Talese /Doubleday through Netgalley.
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Mary Morris has taken me on an unforgettable journey with her latest novel “Gateway to the Moon.” The journey stretches from Spain during the times of Columbus and the horrors and consequences of the Inquisition to recent times in Northern New Mexico. Prior to this, I was sadly lacking in knowledge about the Inquisition, but Morris’s extensive research brought that time period and the real and fictional characters vividly to life. As a lifelong resident of the Southwest, I had some awareness of Mary Morris has taken me on an unforgettable journey with her latest novel “Gateway to the Moon.” The journey stretches from Spain during the times of Columbus and the horrors and consequences of the Inquisition to recent times in Northern New Mexico. Prior to this, I was sadly lacking in knowledge about the Inquisition, but Morris’s extensive research brought that time period and the real and fictional characters vividly to life. As a lifelong resident of the Southwest, I had some awareness of the existence of crypto-Jews, and Morris greatly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of a situation which seems almost too unbelievable to be true, particularly if you’ve witnessed the strong Catholic presence and influence in towns like Chimayo and Espanola. (For readers interested in learning more about crypto-Jews, Morris references “To The End of the Earth: Crypto-Jews of Northern New Mexico” by Stanley Hordes.) I learned a lot of fascinating history from this book, but the greatest pleasures were Morris’s brilliant writing and a well-told and absorbing story. I was particularly affected by the searches the characters undertook to find their place in their families and the world, and the recurrent theme of stars and celestial navigation. The last paragraph of the book is one of the most perfect endings I’ve read in a long time and a wonderful form of benediction for new beginnings.Settle back in a comfy chair with some hot cocoa and embark on this remarkable journey. It’s an experience and book not to be missed.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    All the stars AND the moon to Gateway to the Moon! 🌟 🌝 🌟 🌙 🌟 Where to begin with this fascinating and alluring novel? Gateway to the Moon begins during the time of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Inquisition, all the way through the present day, where there is a community of “Crypto Jews” living in New Mexico who are Catholic but continuing many Jewish traditions (and not knowing why). Entrada de la Luna is the town at the center of this novel. It’s a place where people want to leave for a bet All the stars AND the moon to Gateway to the Moon! 🌟 🌝 🌟 🌙 🌟 Where to begin with this fascinating and alluring novel? Gateway to the Moon begins during the time of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish Inquisition, all the way through the present day, where there is a community of “Crypto Jews” living in New Mexico who are Catholic but continuing many Jewish traditions (and not knowing why). Entrada de la Luna is the town at the center of this novel. It’s a place where people want to leave for a better life, better opportunities, if they can. Miguel Torres, a main character, sees some similarities between his community’s culture in Entrada de la Luna and the Jewish artist for whom he works. Mary Morris’ writing is stunning, and through the unique narrative style of traveling in time via historical “vignettes,” exploring the ancestors of Entrada’s residents, a portrait is painted of a community with a new understanding of its fascinating roots. This story is a gradual-builder. It takes time to put all these beautiful puzzle pieces together. If you don’t mind being patient, you will be taken on a profound and breathtaking historical journey. Thank you to Mary Morris for writing this outstanding book, as well as Doubleday/Nan A. Tales, and Netgalley for the ARC. Gateway to the Moon will be released on April 10, 2018!
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    An enthusiastic 4 stars.Mary Morris has put together such an interesting novel. Mostly it takes place in New Mexico, focusing on Miguel and his family. But it also goes back in time to 15th to 17th century Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Miguel and his family are the descendants of Jews who fled and survived the Inquisition. In their very small community, they still practice many of the rituals of Judaism — for example, they light candles on Friday and they don’t eat pork — but they don’t know about An enthusiastic 4 stars.Mary Morris has put together such an interesting novel. Mostly it takes place in New Mexico, focusing on Miguel and his family. But it also goes back in time to 15th to 17th century Spain, Portugal and Mexico. Miguel and his family are the descendants of Jews who fled and survived the Inquisition. In their very small community, they still practice many of the rituals of Judaism — for example, they light candles on Friday and they don’t eat pork — but they don’t know about their Jewish ancestry. That’s the fascinating historical context, and in her acknowledgements Morris explains that it is based on a fair amount of research.But Morris has also created interesting and original characters. There is a lot of love in Miguel’s family, but there’s a lot of hurt too, which leaves Miguel somewhat unmoored. Besides his family, he becomes attached to a family that has newly moved to New Mexico from New York, for who he babysits. Rachel — the mother — is also a bit lost but a good soul.Morris tells the story through disparate strands, shifting points of view between a few characters, and at times going back to characters several hundred years back. You won’t like this if you like straightforward stories. But I loved the characters, the history and the meandering narrative that came together quite nicely at the end.On a personal note, I recently traveled to Spain on vacation. The trip included an area where part of the story takes place. I had never thought much about the Inquisition or Spanish history until a few weeks ago. Stumbling onto Gateway to the Moon felt like perfect synchronicity.Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    5 extremely impressive starsEver wonder what makes you...you? Ever think about the DNA that you have within you and the things that you do that might have come to you from your ancestors? Why do you have brown, blue or green or even grey eyes? Did your parents give that to you and who gave that to them and to their parents and so on and so on. Are there customs your family does, like lighting candles on Friday night or having an aversion to certain foods so much so that they are never served in 5 extremely impressive starsEver wonder what makes you...you? Ever think about the DNA that you have within you and the things that you do that might have come to you from your ancestors? Why do you have brown, blue or green or even grey eyes? Did your parents give that to you and who gave that to them and to their parents and so on and so on. Are there customs your family does, like lighting candles on Friday night or having an aversion to certain foods so much so that they are never served in any of you family's homes or ever have been? Why is it that at times you momentarily have fleeting feelings that you have been somewhere, met someone, heard something that you knew you had never experienced before? In the fifteenth century Jews and Muslims were pursued with an intense vigor by the barbaric Inquisition in Spain which eventually traveled to Portugal and even further. Jews and Muslims escaped their country of origin and in this powerful novel we are introduced to Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, who accompanies Christopher Columbus as his interpreter on his journey to find a route to the Indies. His journey is the first one related and across many generations we read of the journeys of others both the hardship, the pain, landing many of the descendants in far flung places. Jews having been forced to accept Catholicism in order to survive. They traveled to the new world, Mexico, South America, and then to New Mexico. They are Catholics in name only but they are Jews in their heart and soul.As the book continues, many centuries later, there are many people who live in the hills of New Mexico who carry on traditions that they really can't understand the why of. Why is it they light candles on Friday night? Why is it that they don't eat pork? We meet a young would be astronomer, Miguel Torres, searching for a sense of self, searching the sky's mysteries and vastness trying to understand what he is. He lives in Entrada de la Luna, a place where dreams die, a place where poverty and ruin often rear its ugly head, a place where the atmosphere is as dry as the desert sands.Miguel finds himself a babysitting job for a woman, Rachel who has two sons. She herself is aimless drifting. Her family is Jewish and Miguel starts to see that many of Rachel's customs are those done where he lives. What does this all mean?They are Catholic right, or are they?Throughout the story we learn of the awful nature of the Catholic faith to those who followed the teachings of the god of Abraham. We learn of how the people down through the centuries were pursued, murdered, tortured and yet so many resisted what was being fostered upon them. They held their faith in secret masked among their supposed belief in the faith of Christ. This is a journey through life, a life that has come down through centuries. It was indeed a powerful story to tell, a telling of what is often hidden makes us what we often are.Thank you to Mary Morris for a book that engages both the heart and mind, to Doubleday Books and to Netgalley for making this book available to this reader.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    In 1478 the Spanish Inquisition was established. The year that Columbus went on his first voyage of discovery, 1492, was also the year that all Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain. Unless they converted to Christianity--or preferred to be burned at the stake.The Christian Jews outwardly lived like Christians, attending mass, but secretly clung to their way of life, lighting candles on Friday, avoiding pork, and circumcising their sons.So, the Conversos were targeted, massacred, imprisoned, In 1478 the Spanish Inquisition was established. The year that Columbus went on his first voyage of discovery, 1492, was also the year that all Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain. Unless they converted to Christianity--or preferred to be burned at the stake.The Christian Jews outwardly lived like Christians, attending mass, but secretly clung to their way of life, lighting candles on Friday, avoiding pork, and circumcising their sons.So, the Conversos were targeted, massacred, imprisoned, tortured, and burned. The Jews fled to the New World, but the Inquisition followed to Mexico and the Jews moved into New Mexico.Gateway to the Moon by Mary Morris imagines the story of one Jewish/Converso family whose ancestor, Luis de Torres, came to the New World with Columbus, following the Torres family through the 15th and 16th centuries and into the 20th century. Living in Entada de la Luna, the Torres are good Catholics who traditionally light candles on Friday night, disdain to eat pork, and circumcise their sons. The cemetery holds generations of their ancestors. The townsfolk know that their ancestors came from Spain but no longer remember what brought them there.The story is told in two timelines, telling the contemporary story of Miguel Torres, a teenager with a passion for astronomy, and that of his ancestors beginning with Luis de Torres, a secret Jew born Leni Halvri before the Alhambra Decree. The horrific history of the Inquisition is revealed through the lives of the Torres family, providing drama and intrigue to the slower, more introspective story of Miguel. Miguel's world has also has its violence and sorrow.Morris's beautiful writing is a pleasure to read. Miguel is a wonderful, memorable character. And it was interesting to learn about this part of history. I very much enjoyed this novel, a combination of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and family history.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best things about Netgalley is that it not only allows to discover interesting debuts, but also shines the light on the previously published authors by sort of narrowing down the focus. Apparently Mary Morris has been around for a while and accumulated quite a body of work and only now have I come across her with this terrific story as a most auspicious of introductions. I love all things historical, fiction and nonfiction, and though I have read much about Columbus' voyages, I've nev One of the best things about Netgalley is that it not only allows to discover interesting debuts, but also shines the light on the previously published authors by sort of narrowing down the focus. Apparently Mary Morris has been around for a while and accumulated quite a body of work and only now have I come across her with this terrific story as a most auspicious of introductions. I love all things historical, fiction and nonfiction, and though I have read much about Columbus' voyages, I've never learned about crypto Jews until now. I knew about the Spanish inquisition and expulsion of Jews and, of course, it's certainly within the reasonable possibility that a tribe so wildly prosecuted throughout so many eras and places has found themselves migrating wildly across the globe, not much is written or known about the fate of the ones that came to the New World during the early years of its discovery, some even along with the Columbus' expeditions. And having come here, still persecuted and isolated from all they knew before, eventually assimilating into forgetting their very ancestry and believes, though, interestingly enough, not the customs. Thus Entrada de la Luna (Gateway to the Moon) came to be, an impoverish small town in New Mexico with 4 centuries of lineage traceable, but the source obscured by time. This is where a novel takes place in the recent past narrative of 1992, the rest is set back in the past starting with 1492 and on. Both accounts are stunningly compelling in their own right. The book starts with a timeline and dramatis personae, because awesomely enough many of the story's main players existed in real life. The book's main accomplishment, though, is making both factual and fictional characters seem so very real. The writing here is absolutely exceptional, not overwritten at all, despite being very descriptive and emotionally intelligent, there's vividness and clarity to the narration and the characters are immensely charismatic and completely engaging. A real book lover's book, a pleasure to read, a perfectly transporting sort of experience. Not only to learn something new, but also to be entertained, amazed and delighted. Much like Miguel, the book's protagonist, a young stargazer, you might experience something like awe at the world's randomness and interconnectedness and a grand mystery of it all. Loved this book. So glad to have discovered this author. Enthusiastically recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Keren Krinick
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I think I just finished reading my new favorite book! This quality, well written and thoroughly researched novel, was truly wonderful. Loved the span of generations- the ventures from escaping the Spanish Inquisition, to the travels of Christopher Columbus, to Mexico and New Mexico, up until Current times. The evolution of converted Jews was incredible. Thought provoking and beautiful. Tying together humanity on earth with the moon and the stars was brilliant. I wish this book never ended. Wow. I think I just finished reading my new favorite book! This quality, well written and thoroughly researched novel, was truly wonderful. Loved the span of generations- the ventures from escaping the Spanish Inquisition, to the travels of Christopher Columbus, to Mexico and New Mexico, up until Current times. The evolution of converted Jews was incredible. Thought provoking and beautiful. Tying together humanity on earth with the moon and the stars was brilliant. I wish this book never ended. Gateway to the Moon, by Mary Morris is a highly recommended masterpiece! Thank you NetGalley and Doubleday Books for this early edition copy.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fantastic book. I didn't want it to end. So much remarkable information in this book that I did not know. Pretty much won't ever think nice things about Columbus again. Will enjoy my cup of hot cocoa more often. And I now know what a crypto-Jew means. I enjoyed all of the historical fiction and the characters are wonderful. This is such a great read, I was hooked in the first few pages. Thank you Goodreads Giveaways and Mary Morris for this one of a kind story. Read it, it is a great r This is a fantastic book. I didn't want it to end. So much remarkable information in this book that I did not know. Pretty much won't ever think nice things about Columbus again. Will enjoy my cup of hot cocoa more often. And I now know what a crypto-Jew means. I enjoyed all of the historical fiction and the characters are wonderful. This is such a great read, I was hooked in the first few pages. Thank you Goodreads Giveaways and Mary Morris for this one of a kind story. Read it, it is a great read.
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  • Laura Pritchett
    January 1, 1970
    I just adore this book, a beautifully-written and compelling novel that sweeps across landscape and time. Set in present day New Mexico and 1492 Spain (when Jewish and Muslim populations were being expelled), the story unfolds in a dazzling, brilliant way. Another plus? Seeing my West from a new perspective--I wasn't aware that some Jewish communities had settled in the hills of New Mexico. Love this book, highly recommend.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Netgalley, Doubleday Books, and Mary Morris for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Told between two different timelines, Gateway to the Moon, was not just an intriguing fiction but it was interwoven with unknown history that had me reading at a slower pace but it picked up steam as Morris worked magic interweaving the two timelines to create a unique story.This has been the first time I read a book by Morris so unknowingly I knew i was going to be reading a piece of fic Thank you to Netgalley, Doubleday Books, and Mary Morris for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Told between two different timelines, Gateway to the Moon, was not just an intriguing fiction but it was interwoven with unknown history that had me reading at a slower pace but it picked up steam as Morris worked magic interweaving the two timelines to create a unique story.This has been the first time I read a book by Morris so unknowingly I knew i was going to be reading a piece of fiction from the blurb but this was so much more. I truly loved the work involved by Morris to include aspects of history that are rarely broached in the US school system and it was a great learning experience. Hopefully I manage to read more of Morris's' work in the future.
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating novel about the persecution of Jewish people in the time of Christopher Columbus and how there came to be "unknown" Jewish descendants in New Mexico. Told in alternating narratives set in different time periods (past and present), it got confusing at times, but this is one of those rare books for me that had a satisfying ending with an interesting beginning. #netgalley #gatewaytothemoon
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting and captivating read. A historical fiction beginning during the Spanish Inquisition, weaving between history and modern times. The journey begins on Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World where a Jewish translator accompanies him and the book ultimately ends in the New Mexican town of Entrada de la Luna, where the residents have practiced some interesting traditions over hundreds of years but have no idea why. The book details the plight and migration of Jews during th A very interesting and captivating read. A historical fiction beginning during the Spanish Inquisition, weaving between history and modern times. The journey begins on Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World where a Jewish translator accompanies him and the book ultimately ends in the New Mexican town of Entrada de la Luna, where the residents have practiced some interesting traditions over hundreds of years but have no idea why. The book details the plight and migration of Jews during the inquisition in Spain, Mexico and the new colonies, including those who became conversos, those who converted to Roman Catholicism although some secretly continued to practice or adhere to Jewish traditions. Although sometimes a little slow in parts, the characters were well defined and generally likeable. I really enjoyed this book, particularly the historical aspects.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    This is an exceptional read. Morris has written the story of the conversos or crypto-Jews, in a way that brings the story to the heart. Set initially in 1492 and in 1992, it tells the tale of the Torres family, through both the ancestors and Miguel, an incredibly smart kid in a tough place. I didn't know this bit of history and appreciate the incredible amount of research Morris did. She has written educational historical fiction with a huge heart. This is a family saga as well as the tale of a This is an exceptional read. Morris has written the story of the conversos or crypto-Jews, in a way that brings the story to the heart. Set initially in 1492 and in 1992, it tells the tale of the Torres family, through both the ancestors and Miguel, an incredibly smart kid in a tough place. I didn't know this bit of history and appreciate the incredible amount of research Morris did. She has written educational historical fiction with a huge heart. This is a family saga as well as the tale of a people. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is one I'm going to recommend to others.
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  • Kati Berman
    January 1, 1970
    I received Gateway to the Moon from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The novel has two interconnecting story lines. One starts in 1492 with Columbus’s first voyage to the New World and the eventual discovery of America. 1492 is also the year when the Jews of Spain were expelled or were required to convert to Catholicism. Many Jews converted, many were killed and many left. Those who converted secretly retained many of their Jewish customs, though outwardly they declared Christianity. I received Gateway to the Moon from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The novel has two interconnecting story lines. One starts in 1492 with Columbus’s first voyage to the New World and the eventual discovery of America. 1492 is also the year when the Jews of Spain were expelled or were required to convert to Catholicism. Many Jews converted, many were killed and many left. Those who converted secretly retained many of their Jewish customs, though outwardly they declared Christianity. In Spain they were called the Marranos, secret Jews. I have known about the Marranos in Spain and Portugal, but I was not aware of the crypto-Jews who left Europe, settled in the New World , lived as Christians, but maintained many Jewish customs over centuries and after a while not even knowing why they followed some rituals or that they had any connection to Judaism. The second story line picks up in 1992 in Entrada de Luna (Gateway to the Moon) New México. Most of this story centers around Miguel Torres, a teenager and his family, who can trace their ancestors back 400 years at that location. Miguel spends much of his time in an ancient cemetery established by his ancestors, where he is fascinated by the stars, the moon and is very interested in astronomy. Miguel takes a babysitting job with a Jewish family who have recently moved from New York to New Mexico. He is much liked by Rachel, the Mom, but has hardly any connection with the Dad, Nathan. After a freak accident, for which Miguel blames himself he doesn’t return to his job. There is much I liked about this book, especially the historical elements, and how the author traced the current inhabitants of New Mexico to the original secret Jews based on facts. However I felt distracted by some details that had no real connection to the story, for example, Rachel’s marriage issues. First I didn’t understand why a great kid, like Miguel had such a low self esteem, but towards the end of the book, this became clearer. I found some of the story lines a little convoluted, both in the past and present. Overall I would give this book 3.5 stars. Thanks NetGalley, Doubleday Books and the author, Mary Morris for the advanced copy.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    There are many factors that contribute to the creation of a person. Three of them are highlighted in Mary Morris’ expansive family saga, Gateway to the Moon. First, there is our family history, portrayed here by the harrowing tale of the Cordero de Torres family from 1492 to the 1600s. Next, there is what happens to someone during their life, seen in the struggles of Elena Torres to make peace with the night a group of teenage boys attacked and raped her. Lastly, there is one’s own internal fire There are many factors that contribute to the creation of a person. Three of them are highlighted in Mary Morris’ expansive family saga, Gateway to the Moon. First, there is our family history, portrayed here by the harrowing tale of the Cordero de Torres family from 1492 to the 1600s. Next, there is what happens to someone during their life, seen in the struggles of Elena Torres to make peace with the night a group of teenage boys attacked and raped her. Lastly, there is one’s own internal fire, which can propel a person like Miguel Torres out of his poor circumstances, past his mistakes, to a distinguished career as an astrobiologist. This novel moves slowly, but offers plenty of food for thought...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, for review consideration.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly thought this book was terrific. 4.5 but not rounding up mostly because I wanted more closure/more of the earlier story. To commend it: a well-written interesting story of history and historical fiction.Setting: "In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I honestly thought this book was terrific. 4.5 but not rounding up mostly because I wanted more closure/more of the earlier story. To commend it: a well-written interesting story of history and historical fiction.Setting: "In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning of a long migration, across many generations. Over the centuries, de Torres’ descendants travel from Spain and Portugal to Mexico, finally settling in the hills of New Mexico. Five hundred years later, it is in these same hills that Miguel Torres, a young [teenage] amateur astronomer, finds himself trying to understand the mystery that surrounds him and the town he grew up in. "The moon has an integral part of the narrative. It is used in navigation [early story]. Miguel is fascinated with it. And it even plays a role in menstrual cycles and impregnation. They all are tied together in this entrancing narrative. And the setting in New Mexico is a small town called Entrada de la Luna--Gateway to the Moon.Columbus and his translator [Luis de Torres] are the genesis of the story. Some of the crossovers/mysteries [noted later in the novel]: why were some of the traditions observed in New Mexico so simlar to those of the Jews of the 15th century? For example, not eating pork, and lighting candles on Friday nites. Certain dishes that resonated across centuries and continents [i.e., Elena's visit to Morocco]. The earlier story was both heartbreaking and enchanting. Each time another piece was revealed I was more fascinated. The families that had to hide their Jewishness under the pretense of being conversos/New Christians. Many of the characters in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were real people [there is a list in the front of principal characters and they are duly noted as historical figures]. Some of the more interesting storylines: the love stories, the Inquisition, the history of cacao, the desire to die as a Jew (before the priests can give a Christian burial). The story of the crypto-Jews--in Spain and Portugal--and how they came to be in New Mexico was extremely engaging. I knew about the latter, but not the former. The novel is populated with many characters past and present. But I liked the older story better. There were so many characters I loved--but they were primarily from the older story: including Inez Cordero, Beatrice, Francisco, Alejandro, Sofia, and Federico.The later story (1992), also quite interesting in terms of the various characters [New Mexico]. Introduced here to Miguel, Roberto, MG, Vincent Roybal, the Rothsteins, Elena. And how they were interwoven--with each other and the earlier story--masterful.And I learned the avocado was earlier called an alligator pear!I am so fortunate to have read this book before its expected publication in April 2018. Put it on your to read lists.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    In this immensely readable novel, we are introduced to*Christopher Columbus, sailing west to find China, in 1492, with a man on board who speaks 5 languages, and is a Jew. Yosef ben Ha Levin Halvri [Joseph, son of Levi the Hebrew] became Luis de Torres, the year that the Alhambra Decree called for the expulsion or conversion of all Muslims and Jews. *500 years later, Miguel Torres is trying to understand his place in the Universe, looking at the Night Sky in New Mexico. Jews in New Mexico, desce In this immensely readable novel, we are introduced to*Christopher Columbus, sailing west to find China, in 1492, with a man on board who speaks 5 languages, and is a Jew. Yosef ben Ha Levin Halvri [Joseph, son of Levi the Hebrew] became Luis de Torres, the year that the Alhambra Decree called for the expulsion or conversion of all Muslims and Jews. *500 years later, Miguel Torres is trying to understand his place in the Universe, looking at the Night Sky in New Mexico. Jews in New Mexico, descendant from Spanish Jews who fled the inquisition, after generations forgot that they were Jews. But they never forgot their rituals, even though they couldn't tell you why a turkey and swiss sandwich is forbidden or why candles are lit on Friday night.Oh, is that all? Oh, no, it absolutely is not. This is a truly wonderful book. Pick it up. Start the adventure!I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Random House/Nan Talese pub date 04/10/18
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  • Artemis
    January 1, 1970
    Looking forward to reading your book, Mary!
  • RMazin
    January 1, 1970
    In the early 1990s, Entrada de la Luna is an old Latino community in Northern New Mexico. Beset by poverty, broken homes and poor prospects, the people still hold onto their traditions. These are traditions that unite them and they consider to be an integral part of their heritage. They light candles on Friday evenings, they won’t eat pork, and the men are circumcised. Yet they are fervent church-going people. Meanwhile, back in the Old World of Inquisition Spain and Portugal, there are groups o In the early 1990s, Entrada de la Luna is an old Latino community in Northern New Mexico. Beset by poverty, broken homes and poor prospects, the people still hold onto their traditions. These are traditions that unite them and they consider to be an integral part of their heritage. They light candles on Friday evenings, they won’t eat pork, and the men are circumcised. Yet they are fervent church-going people. Meanwhile, back in the Old World of Inquisition Spain and Portugal, there are groups of Conversos (converted Jews) and practicing Jews who wish to flee their land. Though generations, Mary Morris tracks these people from the past to a future in the New World.Yet the over-arching story is one about a Miguel, a smart kid from Entrada. He is aware of his traditions, but does not know if they really have much meaning or why they are maintained. When Miguel takes a baby-sitting job at an upscale Jewish household, he realizes some of Rachel’s religious practices are analogous to ones his family observes. At this point, the reader wonders how Morris will unite the themes running through her book. She does succeed with alternating timelines, dramatic devices, and the compelling stories of Miguel and Rachel. Along the way, the reader will learn about the Inquisition and the hardship in the New World for those who thought they had escaped. Morris also portrays what crypto-Jews in New Mexico may have pondered about their traditions. At times I found the thread of scientific inquiry, embedded in the characters, a bit too mythologized and neat for a plot line. Yet at other times, it was a unifying and fascinating exploration. Conclusion….the dichotomy is what makes a book worth reading. Recommended, especially for the portrayals of the contemporary people of Entrada.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Gateway to the Moon should be up for awards. I’ll be surprised if the Pulitzer committee hasn’t already taken note. Their standard is distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. Gateway is truer to that standard than some I’ve read. I’m sure there are many other prize committees who have this novel on their short list.The ambitious size of the story’s vision is mind stretching. And the volume of research needed to fill that mind-stretching vision is daunti Gateway to the Moon should be up for awards. I’ll be surprised if the Pulitzer committee hasn’t already taken note. Their standard is distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life. Gateway is truer to that standard than some I’ve read. I’m sure there are many other prize committees who have this novel on their short list.The ambitious size of the story’s vision is mind stretching. And the volume of research needed to fill that mind-stretching vision is daunting to consider. What an enormous and extended effort! But the immediate follow-on to the wonder at the size of the vision is the wonder at the closely-observed details that fill out that vision. It reminds me of pointillism – so many small impressions to fill a large canvass. In addition, Morris’s landscapes and events are rich with symbolism and metaphor, most of which (thankfully) she lays in without elaboration for the reader to understand.Each chapter is a tightly-crafted unit of its own as well as a step in the forward motion of the narrative. And the balance between heavier historical scenes (I found Inez’s betrayal especially powerful.) and the lighter contemporary scenes works well to vary the reading experience. But, despite the separation of time and emotional weight, Morris creates points of connection and resonance between past and present that are pleasant to encounter. These speak nicely to the universality of human experience.So, heaps of praise to Mary Morris for this amazing (word not used casually) achievement of research, creativity and craftsmanship. Gateway deserves a world of recognition and outright awards.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/Mary Morris has done an excellent job of researching the Spanish Inquisition and the travels of Christopher Columbus in her new novel, GATEWAY TO THE MOON. The author takes those hideous events of history and juxtaposes them with the history of a small community living in New Mexico. Fifteenth century Spain led to many Jews desperate to escape torture and death by fleeing the country. A few refugees found themselves on a ship bound for Cathay with Columbus. O https://cavebookreviews.blogspot.com/Mary Morris has done an excellent job of researching the Spanish Inquisition and the travels of Christopher Columbus in her new novel, GATEWAY TO THE MOON. The author takes those hideous events of history and juxtaposes them with the history of a small community living in New Mexico. Fifteenth century Spain led to many Jews desperate to escape torture and death by fleeing the country. A few refugees found themselves on a ship bound for Cathay with Columbus. Of the few that survived, a community located itself in New Mexico and the stories of Miguel, Elena, and her family provide an incredible saga connecting today with five hundred years of history.This novel portrays much suffering, but also love and hope. The bonds of marriage and children provide a glimpse into who will become the descendants of the unspeakable horrors under the Spanish church and the hardships endured while wandering the seas, looking for gold and other riches with Columbus. We all know the history. This novel provides an enthralling story of who those descendants are and how they are faring in today's world where equal doesn't mean the same thing for everyone.Thank you, NetGalley and Nan Talese for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    Mary Morris’ latest novel, Gateway to the Moon, combines a coming of age story with historical fiction to explore ideas of identity and how history echoes across time. The remote New Mexico community of Entrada de la Luna is rooted in the history of the Spanish inquisition and converesos, or crypto-Jews, who fled from persecution. But the residents have lost touch with their past and don’t remember why they maintain certain rituals, such as shunning pork and lighting candles on Friday.Gateway to Mary Morris’ latest novel, Gateway to the Moon, combines a coming of age story with historical fiction to explore ideas of identity and how history echoes across time. The remote New Mexico community of Entrada de la Luna is rooted in the history of the Spanish inquisition and converesos, or crypto-Jews, who fled from persecution. But the residents have lost touch with their past and don’t remember why they maintain certain rituals, such as shunning pork and lighting candles on Friday.Gateway to the Moon (Doubleday Books, digital galley) primarily follows Miguel, a poor high school student who discovers some unexpected similarities between his own life and that of the transplanted Jewish family for whom he babysits. The novel alternates between Miguel and his forebearers, who made their way to Entrada along with Spanish explorers.This unique novel works hard to wed the contemporary with the historical and for the most part succeeds. But the story of Miguel and his relationship with those around him is most captivating. The interludes into the past are brief, fill in the backstory and tie in nicely with a personal discovery Miguel makes at the end of the book.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    The premise behind Gateway to the Moon really intrigued me. The idea that there are people who follow Jewish tradition without openly considering themselves Jewish was totally new to me and I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I feel that the writing and narrative in general were choppy, which made the story very difficult to follow. There were a lot of characters mentioned, particularly in the flashbacks, so I struggled to keep track of everyone. I finally figured out towards the e The premise behind Gateway to the Moon really intrigued me. The idea that there are people who follow Jewish tradition without openly considering themselves Jewish was totally new to me and I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, I feel that the writing and narrative in general were choppy, which made the story very difficult to follow. There were a lot of characters mentioned, particularly in the flashbacks, so I struggled to keep track of everyone. I finally figured out towards the end of the book that the majority of the characters were related. The weird tangents about sex did not fit with the tone of story; parts of the book actually read like historical erotic fiction.Overall, I don't think this book delivered. I read an ARC, so hopefully the final version has been edited and will be less disjointed. Gateway to the Moon is definitely not the worst book I've ever read, but it certainly wasn't very good and I would not recommend this book to anyone I know.
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  • Lisa Francine
    January 1, 1970
    Morris is an exemplary storyteller! Told in alternating time periods (1992 and the late 16th century) about the community of Entrada de la Luna (New Mexico) and the history of crypto-Jews. High schooler Miguel loves the stars, and science, but not much else about his life in Entrada. As the story unfolds we learn that his Jewish ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, and eventually settled in present day Entrada. Pick this book up if you enjoy stories about identity Morris is an exemplary storyteller! Told in alternating time periods (1992 and the late 16th century) about the community of Entrada de la Luna (New Mexico) and the history of crypto-Jews. High schooler Miguel loves the stars, and science, but not much else about his life in Entrada. As the story unfolds we learn that his Jewish ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the Spanish Inquisition, and eventually settled in present day Entrada. Pick this book up if you enjoy stories about identity, community, faith, and family.Another thanks to NetGalley for the eARC.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Gateway to the Moon was one of those books where the story is so incredible that at the end of chapters you have the chills and you ask how yourself, how did the author do that? The writing was superb and the story absolutely enchanting and moving. I could not put it down. I don’t want to reveal too much, but the story focus on two major characters and jumps around in time spanning from 1492-1992. I was never bored or disinterested in any character. Each narrative was compelling and the way it a Gateway to the Moon was one of those books where the story is so incredible that at the end of chapters you have the chills and you ask how yourself, how did the author do that? The writing was superb and the story absolutely enchanting and moving. I could not put it down. I don’t want to reveal too much, but the story focus on two major characters and jumps around in time spanning from 1492-1992. I was never bored or disinterested in any character. Each narrative was compelling and the way it all came together in the end was just unbelievable. Highly recommend!
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  • Carol Dimitriou
    January 1, 1970
    This is an engrossing novel of the crypto-Jews of New Mexico, and their ancestors, the Jews who escaped the Spanish Inquisition. I love it when an interesting book also teaches me something, and this book did both. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good story, as well as some history.I won this book in a GOODREADS giveaway, and I want to thank both GOODREADS and the publisher, DOUBLEDAY, for giving me the chance to read it before it's publication.
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  • Beachi
    January 1, 1970
    What an absorbing read! I couldn't put it down and read it in a day because that's all I felt like doing. Tracing the history of a Jewish family from the Inquisition to modern day, with exquisitely researched details and authentic characters, this story is entrancing. I will have to look up everything Mary Morris writes from this day forward. The ending was as satisfying as every single page before it.
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  • Marcy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 - Fascinating story of how the people from a small New Mexico town are descended from the Spanish Jews who fled the Inquisition. After 400 years they forgot they were Jews but didn't forget their rituals. Alternating chapters between Columbus's explorations, the Spanish Inquisition, and the 1990's covered some incredibly interesting territory. Highly recommend
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  • Karen Raskin
    January 1, 1970
    This is an enormously interesting novel telling the origin story of several families of "crypto Jews" who were expelled from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition and eventually settled in the New World. So well written and researched, covering 500 years starting with the voyage of Christopher Columbus and ending with present day Hispanic and Jewish families in New Mexico. Highly recommend.
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