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Sara Donati's debut novel, Into the Wilderness, was hailed as "epic in scope, emotionally intense...an enrapturing, grand adventure" (BookPage) and "a captivating saga...definitely the romance of the year when it comes to transcending genre boundaries" (Booklist). Author Diana Gabaldon called it "one of those rare stories that let you breathe the air of another time, and leave your footprints on the snow of a wild, strange place." Now, in her second novel, this award-winning master storyteller once again blends fact and fiction, and re-creates her beloved characters from Into the Wilderness in an eloquent, enthralling tale of romance and adventure.
Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into their life together at the edge of the New-York wilderness in the winter of 1794 when Elizabeth gives birth to healthy twins. But soon the events in Canada draw Nathaniel far away from his new family. Word has reached them that Nathaniel's father has been arrested by crown officials in British Canada. Nathaniel reluctantly leaves Hidden Wolf Mountain to set out for the distant city, determined to see his father freed. Instead Nathaniel is imprisoned and finds himself in imminent danger of being hanged as an American spy.
In a desperate bid to save her husband, Elizabeth bundles her infants and sets out on the long trek to Montreal. Accompanied by her stepdaughter, Hannah, their wise friend Curiosity Freeman, and Runs-from-Bears, a Mohawk warrior and lifelong friend of Nathaniel's, Elizabeth journeys through the snowy wilderness and across treacherous waterways. But she soon discovers that freeing Nathaniel will take every ounce of her courage and inventiveness. It is a struggle that threatens her with the loss of what she loves most: her children.
Torn apart, the Bonners must embark on yet another perilous voyage...this time all the way across the ocean to the heart of Scotland, where a wealthy earl claims kinship with Nathaniel's father, Hawkeye. In his heart, the Mahican tribe of Hawkeye's youth is the truest kin he will ever know, just as Nathaniel will always remain loyal to the Mohawk nation. But with this journey a whole new world opens up to Nathaniel and Elizabeth--and a destiny they could never have imagined awaits them....
A sweeping epic of romance and adventure, Dawn on a Distant Shore establishes Sara Donati as one of today's most gifted storytellers. With well-drawn characters and an evocative love story that is intricately woven into the rich history of our nation's past, this extraordinary novel will enthrall readers like few others--and sweep them away to a whole other time and place.
A sweeping epic of romance and adventure, Dawn on a Distant Shore establishes Sara Donati as one of today's most gifted storytellers. With well-drawn characters and an evocative love story that is intricately woven into the history of our nation's past, this extraordinary novel will enthrall readers like few others--and sweep them away to a whole other time and place. -->
In her second foray into the genre, Donati's sequel to Into the Wilderness continues the saga of hunter and trapper Nathaniel Bonner and his wife, Elizabeth, a couple living in upper New York State, America's eastern frontier at the end of the 18th century. As established in the first book, Nathaniel is the son of Scottish-born Daniel "Hawkeye" Bonner, who was raised by Mohawks. The drama is as intriguing as a TV miniseries, and in the conventions of the genre, the dialogue can be stilted and heavy-handed: "`I want you, yes,' she hissed. Because she could not lie to him, or herself. `But I can't, I can't.'" After celebrating the birth of twins, Nathaniel travels to Canada, where his father has been arrested by the British, to aid his escape. They are discovered, however, and Nathaniel, too, is imprisoned as a spy. Concerned that Nathaniel and Hawkeye will hang if convicted, a worried, brave Elizabeth treks through the wilderness to find her husband, taking along their babies and Nathaniel's 10-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Through a series of intrigues and deceptions, the twins are kidnapped and, to retrieve them, the Bonners are forced to sail to Scotland, where the Earl of Carryck, a distant relative, is determined that these long-lost American kin claim the castle that is their birthright. His motives for taking desperate measures to draw the Bonners to Scotland are political as well as personal, as the book's conclusion reveals. But before the pieces fall together, the adventurous couple encounter much adversity (redcoats, privateers and small-minded society types, to name a few) and many interesting people, like poet Robert Burns in a cameo appearance. In fact, there are so many folks passing through the story that Donati (a pseudonym for PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author Rosina Lippi-Green) thoughtfully provides a list of major characters. The likable protagonists, a multitude of amusing secondary characters and exciting escapades make this a compelling read despite the often overblown language and melodramatic plotting.