Friday, 17 June 2011

Sara Donati - Into The Wilderness Series

There are few things more annoying than having toothache. Other than self inflicted toothache caused by the removal of a wisdom tooth which was previously pain free!  I know I had to have it out because it was "compromised" (dentist talk for "gone bad") but ... well my face is swollen and I can't eat properly so ... I'm feeling a little bit down in the dumps. 

I decided to finally read "Endless Forest" to finish off the Wilderness Series by Sara Donati.   For those of you who haven't heard of Sara Donati she is a great author and came to my attention because she "borrowed" some of the Outlander characters to make guest appearances in her first book.  I found it quite amusing as I already knew what to expect but there is still a sense of "This woman doctor seems really familiar ... but ... but ... surely ... that's Claire Fraser!!!!"

The books are very well written and whilst the plots are no where near as complex as the Outlander books they have many twists and turns to them making them really compelling reading.  The books start in 1792 when an English woman Elizabeth Middleton goes to live with her father in the wilderness of upstate New York in a small settlement by the name of Paradise in order to become a school teacher. She meets Nathaniel Bonner who is  .... as sexy as hell ... no I mean ... who is a backwoodsman living life as a Mohawk with links to Scotland. The rest is history but of course the path to true happiness doesn't come easy (and let's face it if it did then the story would probably be boring).

There are five or is it six? books in the series and I'd recommend them to any Diana Gabaldon fan as they have a very similar way of writing and very likeable and realistic characters. The time period of these books covers 1792 to 1824 so they are set after the Outlander books but at the same time a lot of the themes are very similar.

8 comments:

Annabella said...

While obviously not DG-quality reading, I found the first two books in this series very entertaining. For whatever reason, could not get into the third book "Lake in the Clouds" and stopped reading them. (Would almost prefer re-reading books 1 & 2....because of the chemistry between Elizabeth & Nathaniel....I missed them in what I read of "Lake") :) Anyone else feel this way?

Leslie said...

I agree that they are not DG-quality, but found them enjoyable. I also agree with Annabella, in that there was not enough Elizabeth & Nathaniel after the first two books.

mcQker said...

I have to admit I was disappointed - I think I had high expectations of "Into the Wilderness", because everyone said they were so similar to DG's books. Maybe it's because I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was not very good - but I found the Nathaniel/Elizabeth love very unconvincing. It was just like "poof" they're in love - I just didn't believe it. ..But I bought the second book, and I'm going to give it a try reading (not listening) to it...

Anonymous said...

Actually I have read all of Sara Donati's novels, and I find her a lot better writer than Diana Gabaldon. "DG" lost me in "The Fiery Cross" and "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" with all the over-descripted fields, blades of grass and nappy pins. I didn't finish either book, to be honest. I fell in love with Nathaniel and Elizabeth, just as much as Jamie and Claire. I also fell in love with how Donati didn't just focus on Nathaniel and Elizabeth's story, but brought out their children and gave them life too.

Belgie said...

Fans of the Wilderness Saga will enjoy this final volume, though it is decidedly less vivid and exciting than the author's previous and superlative works and may not attract new fans. Ms. Donati brings all the story lines to their denouements in an uncontrived way. Unfortunately, this results in a story decidedly more domesticated that the rest. While one ultimately expects a happy ending, the previous books were full of action and adventures that kept the reader on edge, where every plot twist had potential for heartbreak, death, or other dire and irrevocable perils. The reader rarely has the feeling in this book that things might go seriously awry for the main characters, and never for more than a few pages. While The Endless Forest is still a heartwarming and absorbing read, the characters and the village have all settled down, and consequently so have the plot twists. Some wonderful and well-loved personalities are only barely sketched. With all the children and grandchildren come home to Paradise, there is not room in the story to do them all justice. With no more wars, murderous neighbors, and scheming or vindictive acquaintances in the offing, it is appropriate to end the series.

Anonymous said...

I love the Outlander series, especially the audiobook versions. The reader is EXCELLENT. What a perfect combo; the writer and the reader! I just started listening to the Wilderness books and the reader is not very good. They should have gotten the same reader as Outlander, Davina Porter! I cannot wait until the next book in the Outlander series comes out, until then... lets hope the Wilderness books keep my attention!

Allie said...

This narrator is terrible. She's monotone and robotic :( I loved the outlander narrator

Dinky Di said...

I LOVE this series and have read them over and over and didn't want the series to end! I Much prefer Sara Donati over the Diana Gabldon and her Outlander series, whichh are great at the beginning, drop to hard to stay connected in the middle and then pick up at the end to get you hoping the next book is better. But that's my opinion and not everyone will agree.