read by Kate Reading
This is the fourth book in Sara Donati's Wilderness series, featuring the Bonner family (and their friends and kin) of New York. This one takes place in 1812-1813, ten to eleven years after the previous book.
The original couple, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Middleton Bonner, are still a part of the story, but the focus is on their four adult children - particularly the girls, Hannah (28 when the book begins) and Lily (18). Their distant cousin Jennet (also 28) comes from Scotland, looking to rekindle her love with the oldest son, Luke, after being widowed. And Lily's twin Daniel goes off to fight in what we today call the War of 1812.
The author readily admits in a note at the end that "in pursuit of a good story, I have fiddled with the facts" (page 657). I think she gets away with it because so little is taught (in American schools at least) about the War of 1812, the backdrop for this story - what she writes seems plausible. Her depictions of city and frontier life in that era feel spot on.
I don't want to give too much of the complex plot away. Besides Paradise, the fictional town in the real Adirondacks near Lake George and Saratoga (both of which I have visited), the book also has as settings Montreal (Luke's home, where Lily goes for a while to study art), and Île aux Noix, or Nut Island, in the middle of a river in Canada just north of the border. Let's just say the story kept me engrossed.
It also ends with a major event that sets up the next book in the series. It's so compelling that I had to go borrow the book today to start reading it - I'd planned to take a break in this series for a good month! Oh well! I will miss Kate Reading's excellent narration in the audiobook format.
© Amanda Pape - 2016
[This e-audiobook, along with print and electronic copies, were borrowed from and returned to public libraries.]