read by Kate Reading
This is a historical romance, set in upstate New York in (mostly) 1793. I became interested in reading it after I finished The Gilded Hour, which features descendants of the characters in this book. I was also intrigued by the setting, in the Adirondacks near Lake George and Saratoga, both of which I have visited.
Elizabeth Middleton is a 29-year-old spinster when she and her younger brother come from England to join their father in the town of Paradise in New York. Elizabeth only wants to stay single and start a school, but she soon falls in love with Nathaniel Bonner, a 35-year-old widower of a Mohican wife.
Elizabeth and Nathaniel have an incredible amount of adventure over the next year and 876 pages (over 30 hours in audio). Also an incredible amount of (good!) sex. The plot was intriguing enough to keep me going, though.
Despite the unlikelihood of a woman teaching school in the United States in the late 1700s, I felt author Sara Donati researched the era well. Details made me feel like I was there experiencing frontier life in that era.
I was interested to learn that Donati based Nathaniel's father Hawkeye on the character of the same nickname in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales (of which The Last of the Mohicans is best known). Donati says this book is a "very loose retelling" of The Pioneers from those tales. Not having read that book, I can't comment (although I am interested in reading the Tales now). Donati has Hawkeye marry Cora (from Last of the Mohicans) and Nathaniel is their son. Elizabeth is apparently an amalgamation of female characters in Jane Austen's books, which I also have not read.
I liked this book well enough to continue on with the series (five more books). Kate Reading's narration is excellent, especially the Scottish brogues of some of the characters - which, I understand, will come in to play even more in the next book.
© Amanda Pape - 2016
[The audiobook, and a print copy for reference, were borrowed from and returned to public libraries.]