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Into the Wilderness (Wilderness Saga 1) [Paperback]

Sara Donati
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 April 2001 Wilderness Saga 1

The beginning of a captivating saga, transcending genre boundaries, set among British colonials in the North American wilderness.

Elizabeth Middleton leaves a comfortable life in the upper-class England of 1792 to join her father in his colonial mission in a remote American outpost.

It is not long, however, before Elizabeth realises that her father has brought her to America under false pretences. While encouraging her dreams of teaching the local children, he in fact intends to marry off the fiercely independent Elizabeth to Richard Todd, a fellow pioneer, thereby ensuring his own possession of the local land. As a result, Elizabeth is increasingly drawn away from her English colonial heritage and towards that of the Mohawks, and in particular towards the man who will eventually change her life forever, the white Mohawk Nathaniel Bonner.

Beautifully written, passionate and compelling, Sara Donati interweaves the destiny of the two lovers torn between the English and Mohawk cultures in a unforgettably vivid portrait of an emerging America.

Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (2 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007108281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007108282
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 647,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘One of those rare strories that lets you breathe the air of another time and leave your footsteps on the snow of a wild, strange place.’ Diana Gabaldon

‘Each time you open a book, you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise.’
Amanda Quick

‘Epic in scope, emotionally intense.’ BookPage

From the Author

sequel? tribute? retelling? the mystery explored...
I will admit that I am fascinated and (usually) entertained by the reviews posted here by Amazon customers -- writing is a solitary undertaking with so little direct feedback, and sometimes when I'm procrastinating over a difficult scene I'll wander over to Amazon (as some wander to the water cooler) to see who's here and what they have had to say about this story of mine.

What I want to do is clear up something that seems to cause many people confusion and some of them even unhappiness. Is this a sequel to Last of the Mohicans? Why do the same characters show up? Why are some of the names changed? What gives?

To situate this story in relationship to other stories set in this time and place, you do have to begin with James Fenimore Cooper, he of the flowery dialogue (I defy thee, wretched Huron!) but interesting conflicts. This is not a sequel to Last of the Mohicans, but it is a very loose retelling of The Pioneers. I begin with some of his characters, and make them my own. Natty Bumppo, Nathaniel Po, Daniel Boone, to these I add my incarnation of Nathaniel Bonner. Just as my Elizabeth Middleton is modeled on Jane Austen's Elizabeth and Mary Bennet. Retellings are very common in fiction -- some claim there are only twenty plots that get used over and over again. Thus West Side Story might be seen as rewarmed Romeo and Juliet.

So take this for what it's meant to be (a good solid adventure/love story with careful attention to historical detail, and characters who keep you intrigued) or take it for warmed over Cooper -- the choice is yours. Another point of some contention -- If you'd like to call it a romance, that's fine with me too -- there's a love story at the heart of it, after all. If you're looking for a traditional romance, you will find that it doesn't quite follow all the rules of the genre -- but you might like it anyway. You never know. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Elizabeth Middleton, twenty-nine years old and unmarried, overly educated and excessively rational, knowing right from wrong and fancy from fact, woke in a nest of marten and fox pelts to the sight of an eagle circling overhead, and saw at once that it could not be far to Paradise. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
This novel is the first in a series of three such novels published to date. It is a riveting, page-turning work of well-written historical fiction. It is a story woven from the gossamer threads of history and infused with the creativity of this author, so as to produce an utterly spellbinding and ambitious, sweeping epic novel. This is a novel that will appeal to those who love rousing historical fiction that carries with it a sense of teeming and timeless adventure.
Those readers who have enjoyed the enormously popular
"Outlander" series of novels by author Diana Gabaldon will especially enjoy this book. It should be noted that Diana Gabaldon herself has warmly endorsed this book. Moreover, that its author is herself a fan of Ms. Gabaldon, there can be little doubt, as the two main characters in Ms. Gabaldon's best selling "Outlander" series make a brief appearance nearly midway through this book. Moreover, the author also incorporates James Fennimore Cooper's character "Hawkeye" from his book, "The Last of the Mohicans", adding to the intriguing pastiche of characters, historical, literary, and imaginative, who pepper this book.
The book is simple in its premise. An independent and outspoken, intelligent Englishwoman in her twenties, Elizabeth Middleton, leaves England with her brother Julian, to join their father, Judge Alfred Middleton, in the mountains of upstate New York, northwest of Albany. There, she meets Hawkeye's son, handsome backwoods man Nathaniel Bonner, a man who straddles two worlds, that of the white man and that of the native American, and finds herself falling head-over-heels in love with him.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, inauthentic 26 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book starts off promising enough, but after about a hundred pages or so, you realize you are dealing with simple, one-dimensional characters. The good people are very, very good, and the bad people are very, very bad, with no gray area or subtlety in between.
Naturally, the Indians and black people are all kind, noble, intelligent and brave. The bad white people are vicious, venal, murderous and stupid. Like most dull novels, there is also a contrivance which makes our heroes almost invulnerable.
I was initially attracted to this novel because it takes place in 1792 upstate New York, but other than there being a lot of trees and lakes, one never gets the sense of colonial America. At least, one never gets the sense of colonial America beyond what one has already learned from grade school texts. This could have taken place in 1892 or 1692, or, in the way Nathaniel is cupping his hand around Elizabeth's breast every thirty pages or so, 1992.
I gave up
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars too long...and too predictable 1 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I guess I missed something. I couln't find many vibrant passages, or engaging writing here. The characters in this romantic novel are highly predictable, and shallow. I don't get the 'fully-rounded' and 'highly intelligent' phrases which were used to describe them. The protagonist, Elizabeth, giggles, blushes, and can't seem to concentrate on anything but kisses, much like a thirteen year old school girl. Come on! I wanted her actions to convey her be focused and more mature in her arguements with her overbearing father, and languid lout of a brother. Instead, there are shallow attempts at out-witting her papa, and the law regarding a deed of land...and all for the sake of Nathaniel's approval and strong, manly chest...It's high school, all over again. Elizabeth is an unbelievable mix of aloof spinster, schoolmarm...vixen...psychic and empty-headed moppet. When the house servant, Curiosity, sets up ruse after ruse, to fool her old man, Elizabeth still needs to be walked through all the major tricks. Yet, she has the uncanny ability, just before bedding down, to gaze out the window, on the moonlit winter snow, and spy her lover, who just happens to be out the wilderness. She, of course, rushes out, into the winter night, with a candle?!, and brings it, into the barn, where the two arrange their future, with a bit of breathless groping. Over 900 pages of 'wolfish' looks...gasping groans...and well, some good, yet highly questionable love-making, in the swamps, caves, and backwoods of upper New York. Romping around and on top of martin and fisher pelts, swimming with turtles...whispering wild words in each other's ears...but, darnit, we never get to hear those 'highly historical' passages! Let's call this stuff what it is! Romantic fiction, rather than a historical novel. No big deal..but, then, no disappointment for those of us who will continue to search out a worthwhile read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blah 30 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was hoping Elizabeth would end up being a black bear's main entree, but no luck. Of course, with her amazing luck, she'd have brained him with one of her "boots" and eaten him for dinner.
Oh, I forgot. Elizabeth is so ahead of her time, she's no doubt a vegan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No humor! Contrived plot! 20 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this b/c Diana Gabaldon recommended it. I was very disappointed. The plot was so contrived, it was laughable.
Elizabeth is supposed to come across as a headstrong, intelligent woman (think Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice). Elizabeth Bennet was a woman ahead of her time: she read books, went through long walks in the rain, she spoke her mind, and she had a razor wit. But, equally important, she also had vulnerabilities: her love of her family who frequently mortified her, her snap judgments about people, her quick tongue, and her pride.
Donati's Elizabeth possessed all of Bennet's headstrong qualities, with nothing to soften her. No fast wit, no vulnerabilities, no humor. And certainly no love of family. And while we as 20th century readers can understand and respect her opinions on slavery and equal opportunity, it's hard to believe that an 18th century woman would be so ahead of her time. I half expected her to start up the suffragette movement.
In the end, I thought this book was contrived and way too serious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the wilderness
The first one of her books i have read and i thoroughly enjoyed it. Shall read the others in due course
Published 16 months ago by S. M. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati
I am very much enjoying Sara Donati's 1st book in the Wilderness series, "Into the Wilderness" so much so that I have ordered the next 3 books in the series. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Mrs. Josephine Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars into the Wilderness
I have read all the Diana Gabaldon "Jamie and Clare" books and I am hooked. read them over and over again - this book will be just like that - am just finishing it (and got the... Read more
Published on 6 Jan 2011 by dawn1007
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Wilderness
I am a great fan of Diana Gabaldon and the review from her tempted me to try this book. Sara Donati has captured the characters and the thrill of living in the remote countryside... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Mrs. Pjm Knighton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent late 18th century historical fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as I had been suffering from withdrawal symptoms since reading the last of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books (Echo in the Bone). Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2010 by Lorna Doone
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read..
I am a great fan of DG and was sucked in by her reviews for the wilderness saga. What a great treat it is. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2010 by Carly Peck
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant
Amazon recommended this book to me as I am a big fan of Diana Gabaldon and I am just so happy I bought it. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2009 by Anne Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel lucky to have discovered this wonderful series.
I happened upon this series whilst holidaying in New Zealand and was so impressed by it I had to buy every other book in the Bonner family saga. Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2007 by J. Brockhurst
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give it more stars
Into the Wilderness is one of my all time favourite books along with Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. Read more
Published on 7 May 2007 by M. Lugg
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
What a super book - I could not put it down. You can really get lost in the story. I have now read all the current books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed them and can... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2006
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