Title: Into the Wildnerness
Author: Sara Donati
Genre: historical fiction
Length: 876 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library
Plot Basics: Elizabeth Middleton has come to the small village in upstate New-York where her father serves as judge. Her plan is start a school and remain unmarried. But that's before she meets Nathaniel Bonner -- a rugged trapper and outdoorsman who moves between both the village and the local Mohawk Indian tribe. Nathaniel interests Elizabeth in ways she's not expecting and she becomes caught up in his cause to save the land for the Mohawk people. The fight takes them across the wilderness of 1793 New York, trying to outrun and outwit those who would see the Mohawk forever gone from the land. And as they run, Elizabeth and Nathaniel realize they are stronger together as a team.
Banter Points: Word Nerd won a copy of the sixth book of Donati's series in a contest, but she hadn't read any of the rest of the series. So, she went back to the beginning and has thoroughly enjoyed getting immersed in this world.
Historical fiction isn't usuall Word Nerd's thing, but this one is so compelling because the characters are so real. It's easy to get swept up in the lives of this village and the conflicts of the time. Donati gives flesh to all her characters, even the minor ones. Nobody is a throw-away character and they all have roles to play in this epic story she's woven.
The amount of research she must have done for these books is astounding. Word Nerd vaguely remembers studying what happened after the Revolutionary War in her American History class in high school, but it's all sort of fuzzy. Donati's created a vibrant world with believable details for how life must have been like then.
Bummer Points: This first one is long and feels in the second half a little bit like Donati didn't quite know where to end the story. Luckily, book 2 (Dawn on a Distant Shore) picks up really soon after where she ended book 1.
Word Nerd Recommendation: If you are looking for a series to really sink into, this might be the answer. Action, adventure, some romance, political intrigue -- it's got it all.