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Lake in the Clouds Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews
Book 3 of 6 in the Wilderness Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this overly long and melodramatic sequel to Into the Wilderness, Donati continues the saga of the Bonner family as they struggle to survive in the wilderness of New York in 1802. They live on a secluded farmstead, high up on a mountain; the nearest town is named Paradise, a cruel joke for a place full of suspicious, fearful gossipmongers. Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner are solid citizens and loving parents, a kind of Ward and June Cleaver in buckskin. Hannah, a bright, courageous young woman who dreams of becoming a doctor, is Nathaniel's half-Mohawk daughter by his first wife. The plot involves all the Bonners, and their white and Indian relatives and friends, in the dangerous scheme of smuggling escaped slaves north to freedom in Canada. Add spurned lovers, bounty hunters, scheming women, colorful crackpots, racial prejudice, cruelty, murder, robbery, illicit sex, smallpox and an epidemic of scarlet fever, and 600 pages go by pretty quickly. There is little suspense, despite the smuggling plotline, and the reader is left merely to keep track of scores of characters (many of whom die during the epidemic). Hannah is the most compelling figure, as she tries to combine Indian and white man's medicines and be accepted in an insular, male-dominated profession while also dealing with an old flame who's tracking a runaway slave. Donati's descriptions of early 19th-century medical procedures, remedies and primitive vaccination techniques are graphic and authentic. Although the story could have been trimmed by at least 100 pages, it will still please fans of soap-opera-style historical fiction.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Set in late-eighteenth-century upstate New York on the edge of the frontier, Donati's latest novel continues the story of Elizabeth, Nathaniel, and Hannah (Nathaniel's half-Indian daughter) Bonner, other members of their extended family, and the various cast of quirky, ill-behaved, or good and honorable characters inhabiting the lonely town of Paradise. The Bonners have been through quite a lot in Donati's past two books; the action this time centers on Hannah, a beautiful and independent-minded young woman who also is celebrated in Paradise for her exceptional healing skills. When a dangerously ill and extremely pregnant runaway slave is discovered near the Bonner home, Hannah insists on nursing the woman back to health, despite the fact that hiding and helping the runaway slave puts her and her family at risk. A further plot twist arrives in the form of a bounty hunter looking to capture the runaway slave. He turns out to be Hannah's childhood friend and first love, the handsome but troubled Liam Kirby. Donati's fans have been eagerly awaiting this third installment in the dramatic lives of the Bonner family, and they will be pleased, for this is a sweeping, enjoyable historical adventure-love story. Kathleen Hughes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553582798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553582796
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,060 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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Of the three books so far in the series, this is my least favorite, and I am sure it is because the focus has shifted from Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner to Hannah, Nathaniel's daughter by his first wife, who was an Indian. Hannah is just entirely too noble for this reader to relate to comfortably, and, indeed, I found that the Bonners & many of their neighbors are starting to become a little too politically correct for their time period. In the first book of the series I felt that because Elizabeth was a follower of Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley her feminist point of view was understandable, and her character is still consistent with those principles. The fact that most of the other "good guys" feel the same way is perhaps stretching the truth of the time period a little thin, although Donati does give a more balanced portrait of a conflicted character in bounty-hunter Liam Kirby.
Hannah's determination to become a doctor couldn't have arrived at a worse time, as even female midwives were being forced out of practice in the more populated areas because the use of obstetrical forceps were reserved for men. However, in this book Hannah being part Indian is more of a barrier to becomming being a doctor than being a women, which is just not realistic. The fact that she is half Indian and cannot decide for much of the book which side of her heritage has the bigger claim is the main plot driver. That also brings in one of the more appealing characters in the book, the Indian Strikes the Sky. The most interested parts of the book in my opinion are the ones that take place in New York City, and involve the Almshouse, manumission of slaves, and the Tammany Society. In other words, the closer Donati stayed to history the better the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I love Sara Donati's writing. I love the Paradise setting and the cast of characters. I can't say positively that I loved Lake in the Clouds, though. I loved parts of it, and I found myself skipping other parts.
I felt that the book was inaccurately named -- it should have been called "Hannah's Story" rather than "Lake in the Clouds". This book (when not distracted by a storyline about runaway slaves) deals almost entirely with Hannah Bonner's coming of age, and her choices -- is she white, or is she Kahnyenkehaka (that's Mohawk to those not in the know).
I was pleased by LitC after reading Dawn on a Distant Shore. Donati returned to the setting that made her story, and it shines like a jewel in the pages of LitC. We return to all the foibles and passions of a little town named Paradise set in the wilderness, and the supporting cast are the characters that truly shine in this book.
Overall it starts out a bit slower than I anticipated, but by the end I was unable to put it down. Well done, Sara!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book, the 3rd in the Wilderness series, was an extremely welcome return of both the characters and Donati's style and form showcased in the 1st book, but absent in the 2nd. In my opinion, of course. The characters are now back on US soil which makes for a better read. In Dawn on A Distant Shore, most of the story takes place on the high seas and in Scottland which had the characters out of their element. In, Lake in The Clouds, Donati returns readers to Paradise, NY, and many of the original secondary characters reappear. Much of this tale focuses on Hannah Bonner, her medical education, and her journey into womanhood. Hawkeye, Nathiel and Elizabeth Bonner play a major role in the plot surrounding Curiosity Freeman and her family. The pace is fast, filled with danger, villains, and intrigue. Although I was disappointed in the fate of a particular character, Liam Kirby, I was satisfied with the conclusion. This book is a must read for Donati/Wilderness fans.
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Format: Hardcover
I must say that I was not sure how good this book was going to be, because I was a bit disappointed with Dawn on a Distant Shore. But Donati is back on sure footing here, and is writing about what she knows. I found the 8 year or so time lapse from the end of Dawn on a Distant Shore disconcerting at first, but it ended up being effective, allowing us to see the maturing of LIly and Daniel & especially Hannah (although Lily spoke a bit too maturely for a girl of her young years). It was nice to see all of the old characters and to meet some new ones. Hannah is very likable (and for Diana Gabaldon fans who are also Sara Donati fans perhaps you might appreciate that Hannah is a character entirely unto herself, rather than an extension of her father, as Brianna Fraser seems to be). Some bits were confusing, but will clear up after a second read--however, the last 200 pages or so are tremendously exciting, as the reader is back in Paradise with a terrific plot. All in all, I would say it was a very good book--I enjoyed it and will definitely read it again and again. I have to say that I feared the series would tire itself out, but it has not--in fact, it leaves me with anticipation of another book. Fantastic job, Ms. Donati!
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Format: Hardcover
Third in the Bonner family series, following INTO THE WILDERNESS AND DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE, this latest installment in Ms. Donati's historical saga lives up to reader's high expectations following the first two novels. Set in the early 1800's in Northwestern New York State, Lake in the Clouds is the Bonner's family settlement. Near the fictitious village of Paradise, west of Albany, Nathaniel Bonner, his second wife Elizabeth, and their eight-year-old twins Lily and Daniel, struggle to maintain their principles of equality amidst a world of hatred and prejudice. Nathaniel's daughter Hannah, from his first marriage, is half Mohawk and half white and has apprenticed under the local physician, Dr. Richard Todd. As Hannah journeys to New York City to learn the practice of administering the small pox vaccination, Nathaniel and Elizabeth must deal with a complication of their own.
A fugitive slave woman is discovered on Lake in the Clouds, and freed slaves and friends of the Bonners, Curiosity and Galileo Freeman , ask for the Bonners' help. Though their family may be at peril, the Bonners along with Hannah's aunt and uncle, Many- Doves and Runs-from-Bears, must decide what action to take next when a bounty hunter and childhood friend of Hannah's appears in Paradise.
Rich historical detail enhances this novel, thereby creating realism that adds power to a story line involving the almost insurmountable obstacles faced by early American settlers. Though romance is found in the ever-changing relationship between Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner, Ms. Donati's latest unveiling of the early nineteenth century world dispels notions of romanticism of the times. With a multitude of life-threatening illness and lack of medical care, life on the frontier and in the cities was filled with peril.
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