Skip to main content

Review: Into the Wilderness, by Sara Donati

Pages: 876

Original date of publication: 1998

My edition: 2008 (Delta)

Why I decided to read: found it browsing in Barnes and Noble

How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, April 2010

Set during the years of 1792 and 1973, Into the Wilderness is the story of the love affair between Elizabeth Middleton, an English woman who comes to upstate New York to be a school teacher; and Nathaniel Bonner, son of “Hawkeye” Bonner.

The story takes the reader a lot of places; literally, the characters get lost in the woods at many places and therefore the story seems to chase its own tail sometimes. I loved the idea that the story started out with, but sometimes the author tended to borrow a little too much from the novels of other authors; the story about Claire and Jamie Fraser (from the Outlander series) seemed thrown in there, and not as though it really had any bearing on the rest of the book. I’ve never read James Fenimore Cooper’s book, so I can’t really comment on how close this novel sticks to the original. The author even seemed to channel Jane Austen at one point: “Aunt Merriweather loved children excessively, but Elizabeth thought of her cousin Marianne at an assembly ball, her mouth open in a small moue of disdain as she whispered behind her fan: ‘Imagine Jane Bingley dancing, and so obviously enceinte.’” (p. 555).

There are a lot of really good details of the period and place in which Into the Wilderness is set, but I thought that the characters really needed to be improved upon; they seemed very modern to me. Elizabeth is your typical feisty, independent heroine, and Nathaniel is the strong, silent type, who nonetheless exudes less sex appeal than Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series. The characters in Gabaldon’s series were much more interesting and complex than Sara Donati’s. Elizabeth’s constant harping on the fact that she’s a spinster got very, very annoying after a while, too. The romance side of the story is very heavy at first, which I enjoyed (surprisingly enough for me), but it seemed to drop off a bit towards the middle; and Richard was so much like the bad guy from Outlander that I found myself rolling my eyes in several places while reading Into the Wilderness. I’m sorry I didn’t totally love this book, but other people might; Donati does a great job of describing the places she’s writing about.


Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…