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
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 10th, 2018
PublisherNan A. Talese
ISBN-139780385542906
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult Fiction, Literary 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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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Gateway to the Moon is a 2018 Doubleday publication. A dark, but rich and fascinating family history-This novel spans continents and centuries in time to tell the story of Entrada de la Luna, a four-hundred -year old town located in New Mexico. The residents often perform rituals handed down through the generations, but do not understand their origins. The author adeptly connects the past with the present in an incredible family saga, as wrenching as it is fascinating and poignant- almost bitter Gateway to the Moon is a 2018 Doubleday publication. A dark, but rich and fascinating family history-This novel spans continents and centuries in time to tell the story of Entrada de la Luna, a four-hundred -year old town located in New Mexico. The residents often perform rituals handed down through the generations, but do not understand their origins. The author adeptly connects the past with the present in an incredible family saga, as wrenching as it is fascinating and poignant- almost bittersweet. In 1492, Luis de Torres, who was forced to convert from Judaism to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition, leaves his family to set sail with Christopher Columbus. His travels are the beginning of a journey, we will follow along with, as he and his future offspring settles into this new land.The time line alternates between ancient history, and 1992, where we meet fourteen-year-old Miguel, a young man who has keen interest in astronomy, and could have a bright future, but feels trapped by a lack of opportunity and poverty. His aunt Elena is a former ballerina who got out of Entrada de la Luna, and has a very good reason to stay out, but she also has a deep-seated need to return to her family and this small community. I’m ashamed to admit, I don’t know much about the Spanish Inquisition. I hear it referenced from time to time without really stopping to reflect on it, and I studied it some in school, of course, but that was a long, long, long time ago. So, reading this book was quite a learning experience for me. I was unaware of the ‘Conversos’ or ‘Crypto’ Jews, or that they continued to practice the rituals, traditions, and customs of the Jewish faith, without understanding the signficance of them. It was just something they had always done, passed down through the generations. The author explains how and why this happened, in striking and vivid details, some of which are very uncomfortable to read, but necessary all the same. The family connections linked to the historical parts of this story is so fascinating, as Miguel’s lineage is eventually traced to him and his small hometown, in present day, 1992. The various character studies will take the reader into a deeper dimension and contrasts well with chapters detailing the ancient history leading us through various good and bad times for the Jewish people. Although Rachel’s relationship with Miguel is significant, especially in light of what was revealed to him, the exploration into her marriage and personal foibles was mostly off topic and distracting. Other than that, this is very eye-opening, enlightening novel, with a few stunning revelations that leave the door open for Miguel to view his life from an entirely different perspective. The writing is beautiful and exceptional. This is a novel that will certainly have a lasting and haunting effect on me. 4 stars
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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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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    I experienced the fears, exhaustion, and betrayal from those who chose exile - the horrors of the days... during the 15th -16th century, in Spain and Portugal...( without graphic details, thank you), ....The contemporary storyline in New Mexico in the late 20th century engages characters and their backstories: Miguel, for example...( a young boy wants desperately to buy a telescope- calls himself Captain Kirk)- discovered he was a descendent of conversos...Jews who converted during the Inquisiti I experienced the fears, exhaustion, and betrayal from those who chose exile - the horrors of the days... during the 15th -16th century, in Spain and Portugal...( without graphic details, thank you), ....The contemporary storyline in New Mexico in the late 20th century engages characters and their backstories: Miguel, for example...( a young boy wants desperately to buy a telescope- calls himself Captain Kirk)- discovered he was a descendent of conversos...Jews who converted during the Inquisition. We get a tapestry of ‘very’ interesting characters - with their illusions and chaos- from different eras allowing us to feel what life was like during the Spanish Inquisition. Fleeting was like living on the moon!!! This lovely Historical novel would make a great discussion book.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlightSomeone's thinking of me and loving me tonightSomewhere out there someone's saying a prayerThat we'll find one another in that dream somewhere out thereAnd even though I know how very far apart we areIt helps to think we might be wishin' on the same bright starAnd when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullabyIt helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky" -- Somewhere Out There, Songwriters: James Horner / Cynthia Weil 4.5 Stars"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlightSomeone's thinking of me and loving me tonightSomewhere out there someone's saying a prayerThat we'll find one another in that dream somewhere out thereAnd even though I know how very far apart we areIt helps to think we might be wishin' on the same bright starAnd when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullabyIt helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky" -- Somewhere Out There, Songwriters: James Horner / Cynthia Weil / Barry MannFrom the present time, we travel back in time to the days of the Spanish Inquisition, and Christopher Columbus, where families practicing the Jewish faith were all banished from Spain, and then back again to the present day and to this land in New Mexico. A unique culture where many traditions of the religion of their birth continue to be kept, without reasons or knowledge of the reasons behind the generations of their family in between keeping these traditions. ”Luis de Torres 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 the expulsion or conversion of all the Muslims and Jews. He converted, as did Catalina. She has become a devout Catholic, but in secret he remains a Jew. He says his prayers, keeps the Sabbath. He will never eat pork. He cannot stay in Murcia long. He is certain that he will be discovered as have others like him.” Luis has had hopes of using his knowledge of five languages to assist a young explorer named Columbus on a voyage to the Far East. How different life would be away from this place, free of the persecution they’ve endured.Entrada de la Luna, a town whose name even sounds lovely, and while this town is the type of place that most people who are living there dream of leaving, for bigger and better things, a few others have moved there looking for a place away from cities. A place where artists move to, seeking inspiration perhaps, or maybe seeking the quiet, the endless skies, or the vision of the night skies, that moon. Rachel, an artist, and her husband, a doctor, moved there from New York City with their two young sons, but life here is not what she had imagined it would be. She looks for someone to help with the boys, imagining more uninterrupted time for herself, for her art will provide the inspiration she needs. Miguel, a young man, is drawn to the moon, to space and our relationship to the universe. How very small we are. He wonders how the universe manages to continue working as it does. He hopes for a way to make more of his life than here. He makes his own telescope and spends his time watching the sky at night, usually up by the old cemetery. One day, Miguel finds the ‘help wanted’ note that Rachel left, looking for someone to help with her boys, and he ends up working for Rachel.Generations of family have lived in the same places, same homes, Vincent Roybal’s family has operated the same rundown store. Vincent has been trying to piece together the names and any facts he can gather about his ancestors, he knows his ancestors came over from Spain, one of the first explorers of the New World, but he can’t understand why, out of all places, they settled here. ”While he spends his time in dusty archives and writes letters to the records offices in Spain and studies documents whose yellowed pages crumble in his hands, none of it has explained why four hundred years ago his ancestors decided to settle on this dried-up and distant parcel of land. And yet he knows he will never move to Orlando or San Diego or anywhere else because for as far back as anyone can remember Entrada de la Luna is the only place that his people have ever called home, and that upon the hillside in the old cemetery under the oak tree all of their bones and all of their stories are buried.” I loved this story, loved all the glimpses at other lives in other times, and other places. I loved the linking of people to people, the genealogy of this place and these people. I loved the writing, which was lovely, such a visual connection it created for me with these people and this place that seemed so lovely, and all these people who made me feel every emotion, as well. Many thanks to my friend Angela for her review, which prompted me to add my name to my library wait-list, which was, luckily, very short. Angela’s review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...Recommended
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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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  • Bam
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars rounded up. This is the August, 2018 read for the Doubleday Keep Turning Pages Group. I was fortunate enough to win a hardcover copy in their giveaway--many thanks!In her Historical Note that begins the novel, author Mary Morris states that "in 1492 with the Alhambra Decree, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella orders all Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain." Perhaps around 100,000 Jews do convert but many of those are suspected of doing so in name only *4.5 stars rounded up. This is the August, 2018 read for the Doubleday Keep Turning Pages Group. I was fortunate enough to win a hardcover copy in their giveaway--many thanks!In her Historical Note that begins the novel, author Mary Morris states that "in 1492 with the Alhambra Decree, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella orders all Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or be expelled from Spain." Perhaps around 100,000 Jews do convert but many of those are suspected of doing so in name only and come to be known as 'crypto-Jews.' And supposedly for such secret practices, they continue to be persecuted. Among these is Luis de Torres who sails away with Columbus that same year, employed as the ship's interpreter. When they reach an island, a fort is built there from the remains of the Santa Maria, and Luis and a handful of others stay behind when Columbus returns to Spain. Years later when Columbus and crew return to the island, they find the fort in ruins and no trace of the settlers, except for one small, blue-eyed boy, believed to be Luis's son, whom they bring back to Spain.Mary Morris imagines this family's story as they come to settle first in New Spain and then in what would become the state of New Mexico--again to escape the Inquisition which has spread to the New World--and weaves an interesting story that spans two timelines from 1492 onward and then leaping forward to 1992. Over the years, the practice of religion might have changed, but some old traditions remain--such as lighting a candle on Friday and not eating pork. Astronomy is a great thread that runs through the story beginning with Christopher Columbus using the stars to navigate their journey, then later, Luis's descendants name their village in the desert Entrada de la Luna, Gateway to the Moon, and finally 500 years after that first journey of discovery, one of his descendants will become fascinated with the stars. Thank goodness for the family tree that Morris includes--it would be impossible to keep track of the family relationships without it! I found this book to be very interesting and learned so much that I didn't know about the Spanish Inquisition and how it was carried on even in the New World. Mary Morris is a fine writer and I look forward to reading more of her novels. Thanks again to Doubleday for the opportunity to read this fascinating work of historical fiction. PS: I love to cook and grew very curious about the lamb stew with Moroccan spices, apricots and garbanzo beans that was made by this family for generations so I did an online search and found this recipe that sounds very much like theirs: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/...Can't wait to try it!
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  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    Entrada de la Luna (Gateway to the Moon) is a small town near the canyons of northern New Mexico. Teenager Miguel Torres, an amateur astronomer, takes a job providing childcare to Rachel Rothstein's two sons after school. He notices the similarities between her Jewish traditions and those of the Christian families of Entrada. Chapters set in 1992 are interwoven with historical chapters going back five centuries to the Inquisition in Spain. Jewish Luis de Torres had converted to Christianity to s Entrada de la Luna (Gateway to the Moon) is a small town near the canyons of northern New Mexico. Teenager Miguel Torres, an amateur astronomer, takes a job providing childcare to Rachel Rothstein's two sons after school. He notices the similarities between her Jewish traditions and those of the Christian families of Entrada. Chapters set in 1992 are interwoven with historical chapters going back five centuries to the Inquisition in Spain. Jewish Luis de Torres had converted to Christianity to save his life, but the Inquisition is now rounding up the conversos. Fluent in many languages, Luis takes a job as an interpreter on one of Christopher Columbus' ships sailing west in search of gold in 1492. One wonders how people can be so unfeeling when reading about the brutal tortures of the Inquisition and the explorers' treatment of the native Americans. The book later follows members of the family to Lisbon and Mexico where they are also persecuted. Taking few belongings, these immigrants are on the move in the New World, hiding their Jewish heritage and looking for a place where they will be safe. After five centuries the only remnants of their prior life are in the Hebrew inscriptions etched on the tombstones in the Old Cemetery of Entrada. The dark cemetery is Miguel's favorite location to view the stars through his telescope.The characters and story lines in both the modern and historical chapters were fascinating. Author Mary Morris has written travel memoirs, and this novel also shows a journey. It's a journey of the crypto-Jews from Europe to the New World looking for a safe place to raise their families. Miguel is also on a journey as he reaches back to understand his past and stretches to the stars where his future lies. This beautifully written saga is one of my favorite books this year. 4.5 stars.Thank you to Goodreads, Doubleday Books, and Mary Morris for a copy of the book to review.
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  • Lorna
    January 1, 1970
    Gateway to the Moon is a beautiful historical fiction novel beginning across the world in Spain at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. In 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered all Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or to leave Spain resulting in many conversions, but often in name only as they secretly continued their religious rites, identities and traditions. But the magic of this book is the weaving of the narrative between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the twen Gateway to the Moon is a beautiful historical fiction novel beginning across the world in Spain at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. In 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered all Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity or to leave Spain resulting in many conversions, but often in name only as they secretly continued their religious rites, identities and traditions. But the magic of this book is the weaving of the narrative between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the twentieth century where we first meet Luis de Torres, an interpreter for Christopher Columbus. However de Torres is Yosef ben Ha Levi Halvri--Joseph, Son of Levi the Hebrew, and although he converted, he remains a Jew in private. In the late twentieth century we meet teenager Miguel Torres in the fictional New Mexico town of Entrada de la Luna north of Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Miguel, in addition to his love of astronomy to the point of making his own telescope to better view the galaxy from the old cemetery, has long been interested in the genealogy tracked by the old storekeeper, Vincent Roybal, for the residents of Entrada. We learn of the migration of the de Torres family from Spain to Portugal to northern New Mexico over the centuries. This is story of family, traditions and spiritual beliefs all beautifully woven throughout the book using the metaphor of the celestial galaxy. "Before it became the 'Blood of Christ' range, these mountains were known as the Sierra Nevada or the Sierra Madre or just the Sierra. No one remembers when or why they became the Sangre de Cristo. Some say that it is because of the color of blood that the mountains take on at sunset after a snow. Others think that it is because it's hard to live here and everyday is a sacrifice."
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Cheryl Suchors
    January 1, 1970
    The writing in this book blew me away! I couldn't stop reading it, despite the fact that the subject matter, Jews who were forced to pretend to be Christians in 1492, wasn't something I'd normally decide to read about. Nonetheless, I'm glad I did. Learned a lot and Morris made me feel great empathy for their plight. Really enjoyed how she showed the modern-day effects on their progeny, who, in the US, didn't even know they'd been Jews. Fascinating slice of history and characters who lived as ful The writing in this book blew me away! I couldn't stop reading it, despite the fact that the subject matter, Jews who were forced to pretend to be Christians in 1492, wasn't something I'd normally decide to read about. Nonetheless, I'm glad I did. Learned a lot and Morris made me feel great empathy for their plight. Really enjoyed how she showed the modern-day effects on their progeny, who, in the US, didn't even know they'd been Jews. Fascinating slice of history and characters who lived as full human beings, alive in my mind, and about whom I cared. Incredibly well done!
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  • Michelle Arredondo
    January 1, 1970
    Gateway To The Moon by Mary Morris, I found such a joy to read. Easy to get into....we travel between two different times. 1992, New Mexico, a small town....lots of canyons and rugged and beautiful scenery...atmospheric and interesting and illuminating. Families..and their interesting and complicated little lives. One particular boy, Miguel...intrigued by astronomy, driven to working odd jobs. Reading about the stars...constellations...planets...high above a totally different world...an arid and Gateway To The Moon by Mary Morris, I found such a joy to read. Easy to get into....we travel between two different times. 1992, New Mexico, a small town....lots of canyons and rugged and beautiful scenery...atmospheric and interesting and illuminating. Families..and their interesting and complicated little lives. One particular boy, Miguel...intrigued by astronomy, driven to working odd jobs. Reading about the stars...constellations...planets...high above a totally different world...an arid and beautiful place..but a place of dead ends and stand stills..a life some people are anxious to flee from. I loved the complication of these lives...the dysfunctions...the Mexican culture...the everyday dilemmas and the not so everyday dilemmas. That's just the first story....We traveled between worlds. The second being 1492...Christopher Columbus..recruiting a team of people to board and man his ship...traveling to unknown worlds..or rather discovering unknown worlds. We delve into the view of Luis de Torres....a Jewish man among Christians. are united with the beauty of the skies...the stars, constellations, the mystery....and right below, a raw world of destruction, barbaric actions, disease, pestilence, fear, and sacrifice. The Spanish Inquisition...and what it meant for the Jews and the Christians. So many intriguing topics..so many historical references...and all so beautifully written. I had so much fun reading this book. The two worlds..so different...and yet so connected. Highly recommend. A big thank you to Mary Morris, Nan A. Talese Publishing, and the wonderful people of goodreads for this free giveaway. I received the book. Read the book. I have voluntarily and honestly reviewed this book.
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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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  • 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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  • Mary Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    Please see my review on my blog:marysreadallaboutit.wordpress.com
  • Elisabeth
    January 1, 1970
    This exquisite novel, about the forced migration of Spanish Jews during the Inquisition and their resettlement in the stony hills of New Mexico, is both epic and intimate in scope. Award-winning author Mary Morris alternates between past and present, fascinating us with the lives she gives historical characters, and intriguing us with their modern-day descendants. Where did we come from, and who are we as a people? Why do we not eat pork, and why do we light candles on Friday night? Seemingly si This exquisite novel, about the forced migration of Spanish Jews during the Inquisition and their resettlement in the stony hills of New Mexico, is both epic and intimate in scope. Award-winning author Mary Morris alternates between past and present, fascinating us with the lives she gives historical characters, and intriguing us with their modern-day descendants. Where did we come from, and who are we as a people? Why do we not eat pork, and why do we light candles on Friday night? Seemingly simple questions, with momentous answers. This book is a perfect blend of elegant prose and compelling story-line, with an ending that is just about as perfect as you can get. I absolutely adored it and highly recommend it to everyone!
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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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  • 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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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    This book's subject matter and milieus were a crux of interests and heritage for me, but I could not get through it. I just want books to not be depressing and horrible. This is too much to ask, it turns out. I was enjoying it enough, and then had the sinking feeling of knowledge that no matter how much I intended to continue with it, I would never be compelled to open it again with all the other good books I have to read, after the interlude of a character being incestuously attracted to his ow This book's subject matter and milieus were a crux of interests and heritage for me, but I could not get through it. I just want books to not be depressing and horrible. This is too much to ask, it turns out. I was enjoying it enough, and then had the sinking feeling of knowledge that no matter how much I intended to continue with it, I would never be compelled to open it again with all the other good books I have to read, after the interlude of a character being incestuously attracted to his own sister. It was true, that was the end. Sorry. (Addendum, to clarify: this is coming from someone who finds Crime and Punishment a cozy read, so it has to be pretty slimy to get turned down forever).
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  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    January 1, 1970
    4 - 4.5 stars for the story, 3-3.5 stars for the audiobook.Originally I started this one out in audio and it was just okay. Narrator was fine, but had this tendency to read like his audience was sitting in circle-time with small children. So he over-enunciated and read slowly and Very Clearly. Also, the Chronology and Cast of Characters/Family Trees were (obviously) not read and I found this was vital to grounding the story - also being able to flip back to the timeline and genealogical map was 4 - 4.5 stars for the story, 3-3.5 stars for the audiobook.Originally I started this one out in audio and it was just okay. Narrator was fine, but had this tendency to read like his audience was sitting in circle-time with small children. So he over-enunciated and read slowly and Very Clearly. Also, the Chronology and Cast of Characters/Family Trees were (obviously) not read and I found this was vital to grounding the story - also being able to flip back to the timeline and genealogical map was necessary for me many times while reading. Fantastic story! Covering the Inquisition in Spain, Portugal and Mexico, Christopher Columbus and a contemporary timeline. Sweeping and epic it was wonderful! If you do wish to listen to the audio, I would say that grabbing the book from the library so that you can see the important details at the front of the book and can refer to them when listening would be very helpful.
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