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Gateway to the Moon

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  464 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Nan A. Talese
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Angela M
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 rounded up

I’m adding this note in the beginning of this review because I noted at the end of this when I originally wrote it, some information that I had received from AncestryDNA. The database has been expanded and revised and they have informed me that the Jewish roots they originally told me were mine are not there based on their expanded data. I’m not Jewish after all but that doesn’t change how much I loved this book.
My original review with original note:
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favorites
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 ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
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
Elyse Walters
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
4.5 Stars

"Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight
Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another in that dream somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishin' on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky"

-- Somewhere Out There, Songwriters: James Horner / Cynthia Weil
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
5 extremely impressive stars

Ever wonder what makes 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
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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,
*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
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
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 ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really a truly beautiful work! Slow building. The subject matter in the current lens of time is a small town in New Mexico called Entrada - where a community has been living that can be traced back over 400 years. Arguably 500 years. This is no ordinary hispanic community. This is a community of crypto Jews, who no longer knew or remembered. Who knew their community had certain rituals, but couldn't explain why. At the novel's center is young Miguel Torres, a 16 year old astronomer, who goes to ...more
Keren Krinick
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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
Laura Pritchett
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Cheryl Suchors
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Michelle Arredondo
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 arid and ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, e-book
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
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Doubleday for the free copy as a member of the Keep Turning Pages Goodreads group! I really enjoyed reading this book and only wish I could have read it at a time in my life when I wasn’t so busy. I believe I would have enjoyed it even more if I’d had longer than 20 or 30 minutes at a time to read it. Be that as it may, I definitely appreciated Morris’ characterization, historical facts, and format of the story arc.

Columbus was even more evil than I had thought! Purely driven by greed,
Mary Bennett
Please see my review on my blog:
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Kathleen Gray
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
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Play Book Tag: Gateway to the Moon, 4.4 stars by Mary Morris 2 14 Sep 25, 2018 07:59PM  
I was born in Chicago and, though I have lived in New York for many years, my roots are still in the Midwest and many of my stories are set there. As a writer my closest influences are Willa Cather and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I travel as much as I can and travel fuels everything I do. When I travel, I keep extensive journals which are handwritten and include watercolors, collage as well as text. All ...more