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Dawn on a Distant Shore (Wilderness) Mass Market Paperback – May 29, 2001

295 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Wilderness Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Sara Donati's novel Dawn on a Distant Shore picks up soon after the conclusion of her prior book, Into the Wilderness. In the winter of 1794, on the edge of the New York wilderness, Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into the comforts of domestic bliss. Typically, however, adventure seeks these two out. Alone but for her stepdaughter Hannah, Elizabeth gives birth to twins, while Nathaniel and his father Hawkeye are imprisoned in Montreal. Determined to help her men, Elizabeth packs up the children and sets off to free them. Liberty does not bring relief to the Bonner clan, however, as sinister forces conspire to pirate them to Scotland and embroil them in a complex family feud.

History and adventure are slathered on thickly throughout this epic tale. Donati's talent for dialect and detail bring the large cast of characters to life, though the steady pace of dramatic catastrophe is somewhat exhausting. Will our heroes never get a break? Fans of Donati's earlier work will enjoy seeing the familiar characters, but new readers would benefit by reading the books in the series in order. --Nancy R.E. O'Brien --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In her second foray into the genre, Donati's sequel to Into the Wilderness continues the saga of hunter and trapper Nathaniel Bonner and his wife, Elizabeth, a couple living in upper New York State, America's eastern frontier at the end of the 18th century. As established in the first book, Nathaniel is the son of Scottish-born Daniel "Hawkeye" Bonner, who was raised by Mohawks. The drama is as intriguing as a TV miniseries, and in the conventions of the genre, the dialogue can be stilted and heavy-handed: "'I want you, yes,' she hissed. Because she could not lie to him, or herself. 'But I can't, I can't.'" After celebrating the birth of twins, Nathaniel travels to Canada, where his father has been arrested by the British, to aid his escape. They are discovered, however, and Nathaniel, too, is imprisoned as a spy. Concerned that Nathaniel and Hawkeye will hang if convicted, a worried, brave Elizabeth treks through the wilderness to find her husband, taking along their babies and Nathaniel's 10-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Through a series of intrigues and deceptions, the twins are kidnapped and, to retrieve them, the Bonners are forced to sail to Scotland, where the Earl of Carryck, a distant relative, is determined that these long-lost American kin claim the castle that is their birthright. His motives for taking desperate measures to draw the Bonners to Scotland are political as well as personal, as the book's conclusion reveals. But before the pieces fall together, the adventurous couple encounter much adversity (redcoats, privateers and small-minded society types, to name a few) and many interesting people, like poet Robert Burns in a cameo appearance. In fact, there are so many folks passing through the story that Donati (a pseudonym for PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author Rosina Lippi-Green) thoughtfully provides a list of major characters. The likable protagonists, a multitude of amusing secondary characters and exciting escapades make this a compelling read despite the often overblown language and melodramatic plotting. Agent, Jill Grinberg. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wilderness (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 647 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (May 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553578553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553578553
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sara Donati is the pen name of Rosina Lippi. She lives with her husband, daughter, and various pets in an area between the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By ladybug10 on April 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are new to this series, read this review - then go buy INTO THE WILDERNESS and read it first. Some series stories can be read out of sequence, but this is not one of them. DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE assumes the reader already has some background knowledge about the main characters, and wastes little time bringing newcomers up to speed on their history. Instead, the tale plunges headfirst into the action and intrigue, and you'll miss out on some enjoyment if you have to play guess and catch-up with the events that precede it.
The Bonners of New York State, in early post-revolutionary America, trade the wildness of the New World for the jaded Old, as they are forced into a trans-Atlantic chase to Scotland orchestrated by Nathaniel's distant older cousin, the Earl of Carryck. The Earl, a shadow figure about whom we learn only from others' perceptions for almost two-thirds of the book, is desperate to induce one of the male Bonners to stand as his heir, and thus help him avoid forfeiture of his ancestral lands. Although it is Hawkeye, the eldest in the Bonner line, whom he originally covets (yes, new readers, this is the same LAST OF THE MOHICANS Hawkeye), any male Bonner will do - which, of course, means that Nathaniel and his baby son, Daniel, are also at risk. In WILDERNESS, fresh characters populated a virgin land, with all its beauty, sharp edges, and savage nature. In DAWN, almost a third of the story is spent at sea, and the dangers are more human than natural.
Sara Donati's sequel to INTO THE WILDERNESS is a different sort of book, and it is hard to avoid comparisons. However, DAWN stands on its own as a complex story about family and political relationships.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sara Donati sure isn't afraid to take risks! Within pages of the beginning of the book she separates Elizabeth and Nathaniel, the heroine and hero she brought to life in INTO THE WILDERNESS. In the middle of winter Elizabeth delivers twins, but when the couple learns that Nathaniel's father, Hawkeye, and their friend Robbie MacLachlan are in prison in Canada, Nathaniel sets off to free them. He ends up being arrested, and this triggers a thrilling chain of events that leads the Bonner family and their friend, Curiosity Freeman, all the way to Scotland where they become the unwilling participants in age old political and religious conflict. Donati continues to explore the evolving relationship between Elizabeth and Nathaniel while bringing Nathaniel's daughter from his first marriage, Hannah, front and center. The end leaves open the possibility of further additions to Donati's saga. This is very good news, indeed, for her many readers who have come to care about this marvelous cast of characters. (And any book which cleverly manages to give Scottish poet Robert Burns a cameo is a winner in this reviewer's estimation!)
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amy Greaney on July 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read Into the Wilderness and had to immediately pick up Dawn on a Distant Shore to continue reading the detailed way in which Sara Donati writes to take me back into a different time. I have to say that now that I have finished both books and compared the two,they are written a little differently. I enjoyed both books immensly. Dawn on a Different Shore is packed full of adventure and detail however there isn't the slow pace detail in the story to savor like Into the Wilderness had. I too look forward to another book from Sara Donati that will let us enjoy Hidden Wolf and the wonderful characters and setting she has created for us there.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In 1794 at the edge of the wilderness in Upstate New York, Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner live in marital bliss. Their idyllic life turns even more blissful when Elizabeth gives birth to twins. However, Nathaniel soon learns that the British government in Canada has arrested his father, Hawkeye.

Nathaniel travels to Canada to help his father, but instead finds himself incarcerated as an American spy. When Elizabeth discovers that her spouse could be hung for espionage, she takes her two children and Nathaniel's pre-teenage daughter from another marriage in order to intercede on his behalf. Her efforts go astray when someone kidnaps the twins. Elizabeth and Nathaniel follow the trail to his ancestral home in Scotland where they hope to once again become the loving family they were before Hawkeye was imprisoned.

The sequel to the exciting INTO THE WILDERNESS, DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE continues the post Revolutionary War adventures of the Bonner family. The lead couple is an invigorating duo who will charm readers even though at times their discussions seem so emoted that they feel comical. The support cast provides humor and depth as they help bring the late eighteenth century to life. The story line is impressive as the plot fully entertains the audience. Sara Donati creates an Americana epic that will receive much acclaim from fans and critics.

Harriet Klausner
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sara Donati is a master of her genre. Her work is exceptionally well researched and her characters are sincere and very endearing. In Dawn of a Distant Shore, the relationships and characters that were introduced in Into the Wilderness grow and surprise us. (Just take the touching relationship between Nathaniel and his exceptionally perceptive daughter Hannah.) If you loved Curiousity in the first book, get ready for a wonderful dose of her and her wisdom in the second. Get the book, settle down in your most comfortable chair, and buckle up! You're in for a wonderful ride!
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