Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

Before I continue to catch up on reviewing books I read last year, I want to take a moment to thank my ones of loyal readers who have all been waiting so patiently for more posts; silently and without interruption, or page views of the site to disturb my concentration, ignoring my blog completely to make sure I felt no pressure, going about your lives as though my sporadic reviews all of books in exactly the same genre are not the fulcrum of your very existence, and now you will be rewarded with a cursory and uninspired review of a book I liked well enough: Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati.

From Amazon: (Proof! “Cursory”. I’m not even going to write my own plot summary.)

When Elizabeth Middleton, twenty-nine years old and unmarried, leaves her Aunt Merriweather’s comfortable English estate to join her father and brother in the remote mountain village of Paradise on the edge of the New York wilderness, she does so with a strong will and an unwavering purpose: to teach school. (This is really just the first chapter or so.)

It is December of 1792 when she arrives in a cold climate unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man different from any she has ever encountered–a white man dressed like a Native American, tall and lean and unsettling in his blunt honesty. He is Nathaniel Bonner, also known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives. (Hero alert!)

The first book in a larger series, Into the Wilderness is a historical novel in the vein of Outlander – a comparison the author no doubt finds tiresome – but without all that pesky time travel. A grand adventure and a great romance, the heroine is building a new life for herself in a strange country.  Elizabeth has been thrown into new cultures, both one that looks a lot like what she left behind in England and another that is completely new and foreign, plus there’s an attractive young man in the area. The hero is capable, stalwart, and other handy to have around frontiery things.  Nathaniel and Elizabeth take an instant interest in each other and manage to triumph over all machinations, travails, and travel (but not time travel as was previously clarified), to be together.

Historical books of the romantical variety can fall one side or tother of the verisimilitude divide and the ones which feel realistic are my preference. Most romances I read are not of the epic, multi-tome variety and I enjoy the plunge into detail that books like this one provide. I want to know everything: What are their clothes made of?  Who knit their socks? What are their pillows stuffed with? Did they even have pillows? How long does it take to travel? Where did they get the yeast for the bread? and so on. I can’t get enough of that kind of thing, but while I enjoyed this book, I had virtually no interest in the rest of the series in which the story continues for several more books, its chronology jumping ahead years at a time and Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s story takes a back seat to that of their family. Into the Wilderness was a consistently entertaining read, but, like that other series I can’t seem to help/am unwilling to stop comparing it to, the plot could be a bit Perils of Pauline as Elizabeth moves from adventure to crisis to challenge and back again.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by writer or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful which includes the aforementioned observations.

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