17 August 2010

Book Banter -- Lake in the Clouds

Title: Lake in the Clouds
Series: Book Three of the Wilderness Saga
Author: Sara Donati
Genre: Historical or Romance
Length: 655 pages
Where Stacie's Copy Came From: Purchased

Plot Basics: Several years have passed since the reader last saw the Bonner family. Hannah has grown-up and is well on her way to becoming a doctor. Enough that Richard Todd is willing to send her to New York in order to learn the procedures for the small pox vaccination. Elizabeth has lost loved ones to the harsh winters, including her son Robbie. Nathaniel continues to be amused and entertained by those he loves.

The Bonner family finds themselves in a variety of troubles, including runaway slaves, the blackbirders looking for them, and a vindictive girl who is jealous of them all.

Banter Points: Word Nerd recommended this series as I am a fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Both series fit my main reading criteria: Fat books that are well written.

That being said, I can see where this book will disappoint some readers. The first two titles, Into the Wilderness and Dawn on a Distant Shore, occur very close together - the two stories cover two or three years of the Bonner's lives - while this title introduces an eight year lag. After the jammed backed adventures of books one and two, it's tough to believe that nothing novel-worthy has happened to the family.

However, I liked the lag. Elizabeth, Hannah and Curiosity have had to live their own lives without the reader knowing the events that have shaped them. What has changed? Are they still the same people? Will they react in the same way? The eight year delay enhanced the story for me by introducing some very unknown elements. Elizabeth, for example, holds much tighter to her family now than ever before. The reasons are readily understood, but the details are not shared. Isn't Elizabeth allowed some of her own secrets?

Bummer Points: This is not the epic love story of Jamie and Claire Frasier. Readers wanting another series of with a grand and wide stretching love story won't find it here. Donati's focus shifts to her other characters like Hannah and Liam Kirby, and new characters like Strikes the Sky. Personally, I don't see this as a fault in the novels; others may.

Stacie's Recommendation: Well-written, fat books should be on every readers list.

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