Book Review: Wilderness Series by Sara Donati

Last summer I did a vacation reading series of book reviews, and ever since then I’ve been reading more and more. I guess you could say I rediscovered my love of reading and made a commitment to making time for it. I read a lot of informational books on health and food, but I also love historical fiction.

Last winter, my sister-in-law recommended The Wilderness Series by Sara Donati. That night, I downloaded Into the Wilderness to my Kindle, and I was hooked by page two.

I have read all but the last book in the series, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. I’m actually kind of sad to start book #6 because I don’t want the series to end!

First, a disclaimer. I can be a bit of a prude. I’ll just put it right out there. I’m all for a little romance, but I don’t need to know the details. And I certainly don’t need to read about more violent encounters. Unfortunately, for my comfort level, Donati crossed the line a few times on both counts. But otherwise, I found the books delightful. The characters were engaging, if numerous. And I love how she worked in the history of the time — I actually learned a lot about the War of 1812, which is often glossed over in high school history class.

These stories take place mostly in the backwoods of upstate New York State around the turn of the 19th century, and the author addresses the delicate relationship between the Americans and the Native Americans at the time. The heroine, Elizabeth Middleton, an educated English spinster who comes to the rugged wilderness of America to teach school marries the son of the famed Dan’l “Hawkeye” Bonner, hero of the James Fenimore Cooper classic, Last of the Mohicans.

Much adventure ensues, and I can never close one book without downloading the next, eager to see what happens next. This is a great series to keep you entertained throughout the summer as you sit by the pool. (Ha! As if. I’m still waiting for the day that I can sit by the pool and read. They tell me it’s coming.)

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18 Responses

  1. According to my Nook, there is a 6th in the series. The Endless Forest. I put this on my wish list,

    I love historical fiction. My favorite it the Diana Gabaldon series, Outlander. I’ve read the whole series several times over the years. She’s still writing them, one every 4-5 years, they are massive and long epics, so I re-read the series the year a new one comes out.

    I’m trying to pass mine and my husbands love of reading on to our son. We seem to be succeeding so far. At 4 I will find him up in his room “reading” the books he has memorized from the many times we read them to him. We took him to Barnes & Noble when we bought our Nooks this week and bribed him with the promise of buying him a book if he behaved while we shopped. I loved turning around in the car on the way home and seeing him totally absorbed in “reading” his new books. Carefully studying the pictures on each page.

    1. Oh it is 6 – okay, I changed my post. The Endless Forest is the one I’m getting ready to read.

      Thanks for the recommendation, I have heard that Outlander series recommended a lot. I’m adding it to my must-read list.

      1. Outlander is a tad raunchy, but the series is sooo worth it. So there’s my prude alert (?) for the day. 😉

          1. I really liked the first two books in the Outlander series, then it dragged through a few books, before I got re-engaged. Overall I think the series is a little too long, but I know I’ll keep reading it. And yes, they are rather suggestive, but not crude, in my opinion.

  2. LOVE this series! I read Outlander first, then someone suggested this series. I think this is a good reminder to reread them 🙂

  3. Oh, and i think Outlander is a little more violent and “graphic.” Although I liked the Outlander series, I actually preferred the Wildreness series in that sense.

  4. I’ve read and re-read these books, and I’ve loaned them out to friends so much that I’m not even sure who has them now!

  5. I love historical fiction and have read both the Outlander and Wilderness Series books. I thought both series were great!

  6. I’ve never heard of this series, but I’m always looking for a good historical book to read! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. I enjoy books which are entertaining and have an “education” element (I mean history here)

  8. Thanks for the book recommendation JoLynne, I’m always on the hunt for new books. I looked for this series at the library the other day and was so excited to see they had five in the series, so of course I grabbed the first four (I’m sure I’ll have to recheck, but I felt *safer* having them as not to risk one being checked out when I was ready for it–I’m kind of a freak that way).

    I liked the Outlander series too but stopped with the fifth one (I think) because it was dragggging. The characters of Claire and Jaime and their adventures keep you hooked, but the *adult situations* are a bit graphic and blush inducing.

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