Welcome to 1880s Vilnius, a volatile Northeastern metropolis where Balts, Germans, Poles, Russians, and Jews compete for a place in the sun. After sustaining fatal burns in a fire instigated by his rivals, textile magnate Hermann Lichtner spends his final days in a shabby infirmary. In a hasty and bizarre deathbed transaction he gives his fifteen-year-old daughter Renate in marriage to Thaddeus, a widowed Polish farmer who rejects social hierarchy and toils side by side with his peasants.
Renate’s arrival quickly disrupts the bucolic flow of life and antagonizes every member of the household. During an excursion to the city, Renate rekindles an affair with a young Jewish painter who sells his watercolors outside the Gate of Dawn chapel. While her despairing husband might look the other way, his servants will not stand by and watch while their adored master is humiliated.
Taking us from the cobblestone streets of old Vilnius, swarming with imperial gendarmes, to the misty bogs of rural Lithuania where pagan deities still rule, The Gate of Dawn is a folkloric tale of rivalry, conspiracy, and revenge.
|Publisher:||Penmore Press LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.93(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In “The Gate of Dawn,” Marina J. Neary masterfully weaves two stories. One is about Renate, the price she pays for the mismatched marriage thrust upon her, and her rebellion against it. The other concerns Renate’s friend Aurelia, who is trying to find out why Renate disappeared, figure out her place in the world, and understand whom she loves. In this dark, disturbing, and complex tale, Ms. Neary provides three-dimensional characters and portrays vivid settings, from the diverse, cosmopolitan, and sometimes tense, Vilnius, to farms and bogs in Lithuania. She addresses the deeper issues of identity—such as religion, class, and ethnicity—within these settings, and she is true the history and the culture. Highly recommended.
This story reminded me of a twisted and gender flipped Cinderella. Renate is the wealthy princess married off to poor peasant. It’s like a look into the epilogue of the fairy tale we all know and love. Neary also has a complex and extremely well fleshed out cast of characters. I found myself interested in ALL of their stories and felt like all of her characters were important and not just mere sidekicks. Neary is an excellent writer. She has a dark sense of humor which I appreciate and it comes out in her writing. While this isn’t a comedy, I found myself smiling as much as I grimaced. “Her latest novel, “The Gate Of Dawn” is set in 19th century Lithuania, the land of her paternal ancestors. The gruesome events described in the novel took place in her ancestral estate on the border of Lithuania and what is now northwestern Belarus” ( Source: The Gate Of Dawn in the About The Author Section) I read that tidbit and my eyes bulged out of my head, granted my eyes are a bit bulgy anyway but, this time they were even more bulgier. Honestly, how does this not make the story you just ingested even more interesting? Seriously, still digesting that part. I gladly give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars! I would recommend it those who enjoy Horror, Historical, and those who prefer novels on the darker side. I loved it. It has some gruesome acts and some sexual content, but nothing too graphic so I would feel comfortable PERSONALLY letting older teens read this; say 15 and up.
Reviewed by Tracy Slowiak for Readers' Favorite In a dark and fascinating new read by author Marina Julia Neary, The Gate of Dawn: A Novel of 19th Century Lithuania is a story that readers will find themselves sucked into from the very first page, and will keep them obsessively reading all the way through until the very end. Follow the story of Renate Lichtner, a 15-year-old young girl who was given in marriage to a Polish farmer, by her father while he was on his deathbed. Thaddeus, a widower, is twice her age. Renate was used to her life as the privileged daughter of wealthy textile merchant, and is completely unhappy with her life as the wife of a farmer who is content to work alongside his peasants. Renate seeks comfort in the arms of a Jewish painter, and while Thaddeus might be willing to excuse her actions, his peasants are not, and are completely affronted by her affair. Will the couple survive? You'll need to read this dark tale to find out. I very much enjoyed The Gate of Dawn. Author Marina Julia Neary has done a wonderful job of creating characters that her readers will find incredibly believable and settings that are very realistic for the historical time in which the story is set. The relationship between Renate and Thaddeus, as well as Renate and her lover, are complex and complicated, and certainly don't make for a traditional love story. Any reader who enjoys a good work of historical fiction, or who is looking for a great work of fiction in general, should definitely read this book. I highly recommend this book, and hope that the author is already working on her next offering right now!