Wowee! I literally just finished this book and had to immediately come here to write my thoughts while they’re still fresh.
**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an HONEST review**
The Gate of Dawn is a novel set in the city of Vilnius in the 1880’s, which is a melting pot of Russians, Germans, Poles, and Jews; all trying to get ahead. The story is centered around Renate Lichtner, a 15 year old art student and heiress to a textile fortune. Renate lives a life of privilege and her only concerns are her father and her art. Due to a tragic and fatal accident, her father dies and seals her fate with a bizarre deathbed contract.
He promises his beloved daughter to Thaddeus a widowed Polish landowner who fancies himself a man of the people and spends his days in the trenches with his field workers. His world and values are the complete opposite of Renate’s. Having no say in the matter, Renate finds herself isolated and alienated on her new husband’s crumbling estate.
Eventually, after a few events, she manages to return to Vilnius and her former lover. While Renate is trying to forget her new home, her husband’s loyal servants scheme behind her back and develop wild and dark fantasies about her. Ultimately this book is a tale of dark plots and old folklore twisted to suit the minds of those out for vengeance.
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.
Another book of Neary’s is Saved By The Bang, which is a satirical autobiographical account of her childhood. She grew up near Chernobyl and was there during the nuclear catastrophe. ….Read my review of that one HERE .
The Gates of Dawn are available on all the major online retailers and through Penmore Press
The Gate of Dawn located in the City Of Vilnius in Belarus