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Into the Wilderness (Wilderness #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  19,283 ratings  ·  1,254 reviews

Weaving a tapestry of fact and fiction, Sara Donati’s epic novel sweeps us into another time and place…and into a breathtaking story of love and survival in a land of savage beauty.

It is December of 1792. Elizabeth Middleton leaves her comfortable English estate to join her family in a remote New York mountain village. It is a place unlike any she has ever experienced. An
Paperback, 896 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Delta (first published January 1st 1998)
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Haydee Parella Outlander and Into the Wilderness series. Both phenomenal by writers, great detail and substance in their writing skill that I can appreciate. I love…moreOutlander and Into the Wilderness series. Both phenomenal by writers, great detail and substance in their writing skill that I can appreciate. I love how its revolves around a life in a time that has so much going on. To add to this disruptive time a match that is not wanted nor welcomed, but yet the main characters will to overcome those battles together. I love how history unfolds in both books , the morals that are built taught and gained. I have read the Outlander series , Altho I only just finished Into the Wilderness I am excited to move forward t o the next book in this series. I know Heather you mentioned not caring to much for the 4th book in Outlander, I am curious to know if you have continued to the next. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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It’s impossible not to compare Donati’s series to Diana Gabaldon’s epic ‘Outlander’. Both series are historical romance, on a grand serial scale, and the marketing of Donati’s series is largely reliant on Diana Gabaldon. Not only does a Gabaldon quote appear on the front-cover of ‘Into the Wilderness’, but Donati thanks Gabaldon in her acknowledgements. And the most obvious comparison is the fact that Donati’s books are a sort of fanfiction crossover to Diana Gabaldon’s famo
Bark's Book Nonsense
I read this as an unabridged audiobook and it seemed like tape one consisted of author thank you's and an unending listing of family trees involved in her story and I assumed I'd be in way over my head with this one. I was right.

Elizabeth is a 29 year old spinster who wants nothing more than her independence and to teach young children. With this in mind, she sets out into the wilderness that is "Paradise" to join her father and brother. What she doesn't know is that her father who faces financi
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 06, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
The book had blurbs praising it from romance writers Diana Gabaldon and Amanda Quick and the trade magazine Romantic Times. Not a good sign I'd like it, if this was being marketed to those who frequent the romance aisle. The prose was more readable than most books I've read marketed as romance, even if hardly stellar, but what killed this novel for me is how it takes the "historical" out of historical fiction.

This is set in the New York frontier in 1793, dealing with the twenty-nine-year-old El
Carolyn F.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I made the mistake of listening to someone say it was in the same vein as Outlander, which kind of ruined it for me at first. But then when I just sat back and enjoyed the book for itself, I really enjoyed it a lot.

PS How many times can I use "enjoyed" in this review - apparently 3.
For any Diana Gabaldon fans, rejoice, my friends, rejoice!

I know you've waited a long time for more Claire and Jamie, with *years* between sequals. You can bridge that horrible gap with my new find, Sara Donati.

OK, I admit, I've only read the first book. But it had that headstrong female character, the dangerous-but-charming love interest, the chorus of earthy and interesting background characters. All are positioned against a distant time in history where life was hard (really hard, dammit, no
I have read all of the books in this series. I have also read all of the outlander series. Now for me the outlander series began to fall flat especially in the last few books. However every single book in this series has held my attention and earned my love and respect. By the time you read all these books you will feel like you are reading your own family history, these characters, Elizabeth, nathaniel, Hannah, Lilly, Daniel, curiosity will move into your heart and will never leave. I have read ...more
Linda C
Sadly, this book didn't really capture my interest, especially since I had hear such good things about it. It was closer to a bodice-ripper than it is to Outlander.

It was entertaining enough, and I may, at some point, pick up the next one in the series, but the central plot, i.e. the romance between Nathaniel and Elizabeth, didn't grab me. I just didn't get it. While there were moments that Nathaniel was rather sexy (the long dark hair, the silver earring), at the end of the day, he was a backwo
Elizabeth Middleton has a mind of her own. In the twilight of the 1700's that is not a good thing. English born, she has made her way to fledgling America to live with her widowed father and brother in upstate New York. And it takes no time at all for her to be at odds with current convention and the local townsmen. In matters of politic and romance, Elizabeth and her outspoken beliefs stand alone....almost.
I have enjoyed this sweeping historical drama from the first page. It has been quite a
Something must be very wrong with me since I did not LOVE this novel despite all its 5 star reviews. I am a huge fan of the Outlander series and pretty much anything Diana Gabaldon decides to write so I read Into the Wilderness because of her praise and her fans' praise for this novel. And I have to say that it was just OKAY; it was not bad. The author definitely put a good amount of research into the story but it failed complexity. The characters were not as developed as they could have been an ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Kimberly rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kimberly by: Michelle
Into the Wilderness left me very underwhelmed. It had all the elements of a story that I would typically like: romance, nature/wilderness, drama, etc. But, the writing was just off. Here is an example of a clunky passage (two characters are making out):

"He realized that she was trying to talk to him, and he came back to himself a little. His name. She was summoning him to her. He drew it from her mouth, swallowed it whole. Gave her back her own name, fed it to her with his tongue."

It brings ima

I'm so surprised that the majority of the reviews for Into the Wilderness are most concerned about explaining why it has nothing to do with the Outlander series or why, on the contrary, its author, Sara Donati, is Ms. Gabaldon's perfect little disciple, just because she's friends with her and writes HR.

Guys, get over Outlander! Not even Ms. Gabaldon wrote the same book twice, why would another person - another author - with her own writing style and brain, and voice and ideas, want to replicate
Ok, so really I am only about 1/2 way through this book, so it may or may not be fair to give a full review. But I am going to write one anyway because I can't say for sure that I will be finishing the book. I gave it 3 stars because over all the story isn't bad and there are some good points about it. The characters are pretty likeable or unlikeable depending on what we are supposed to think of them and the plot is pretty decent with enough description to allow you to "see" what the character i ...more
Into the Wilderness was quite a surprise for me. Firstly, I wasn't expecting an 876 page brick. Then, given said dimensions, I was expecting an epic saga. It may be epic in scale, but was surprisingly narrow in scope and plot.

The book spans 12 months in the life of the people of a small settlement called Paradise, and focuses on the fight for ownership of Hidden Wolf, the mountain where a small group of Native Americans live and hunt.

The primary characters are Nathaniel, son of Hawkeye from the
I listened to the audio version of this book, an epic 30 hours of lengthy narrative, very detailed descriptions about nature, terrain, and cultures. I am sure it could have been cut down immensely, but being a Ny'er myself, I actually enjoyed the descriptions of 1792 upstate NY.
That aside, the love story between Nathaniel and Elizabeth was beautiful and filled with many road blocks and prejudice that they manage to get through. If you have ever read The Last of the Mohicans you will recognize
I was utterly swept away by this book. From the very first page I was pulled into the story and completely emotionally invested in the characters and their journeys. I adored Elizabeth (such a strong character) and I swooned over Nathaniel (where can I find me a man like him? :-P ). I loved how it was a sequel of sorts to The Last of the Mohicans (one of my favorite movies). I return to this book whenever I'm in need of a well thought out historical romance and I relish every minutes spent withi ...more
Shell Schroth
This is among the top 4 favorite series ever... I love everything about these books. You love, cry, laugh, hurt, hope, believe and grow with the entire Bonner clan... Sara Donati is a genius.. and I hope she graces us with another series very, very soon... Having finished this series left me with a hollow feeling... And that doesn't happen often with me..
Beth F.
Jul 23, 2008 Beth F. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diana Gabaldon lovers
Recommended to Beth F. by: goodreads members who love Diana Gabaldon!
After hearing all the Outlander fans raving about this book, I knew I needed to pick it up because I count myself among their ranks!

The story was very engrossing and I raced through the first third of the book because I could not put it down. The middle part of the book was also enjoyable, but I felt myself losing some interest towards the end. Aaaand…maybe “losing interest” is too harsh because that doesn’t sound right to me, but it certainly lost that magic that happens when you can’t put a p
Although this didn't take me as long as I had originally thought it would, I still struggled to finish it. Really, I'm not finished, because there are several more books in the series, but I'm in no rush to read them. I hate to say that after 758 pages, but it's the truth. I didn't love the book, but I didn't hate it either. It was just kinda meh. I hate it when that happens, but whatcha gonna do?

First off, the length really didn't bother me. It's one of the longest books I've tackled in reading
I'm perplexed as to why this series, and this book in particular, are compared to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I'm a big Outlander fan, and while I feel her most recent books are somewhat self-indulgent and episodic, I still like them. They are well-written and despite being long-winded and sometimes far-fetched, they are usually entertaining. Not so with this book.

The author had a genius idea to write the sequel to the The Last of the Mohicans movie, which is still one of my favorite movies. It
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I would classify this book as historical fiction with romance in it. The setting is the New York frontier in the late 1700's. I think the author took the characters from the movie last of the Mohicans, then wrote the story of what happened to Hawkeye and Cora's son. The book was very interesting. The secondary characters and the setting were described in great detail. This book is the beginning of a series but I haven't read the rest of the books yet. I think the rest of the books might be even ...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Well, it is much slower then Outlander, and not as emotionally connecting...and although I would recommend it for Outlander fans, I would also warn them not to expect another series like Diana Gabaldon's.

I listened to this book and liked it a lot. Not up to Outlander quality, but still very good and I’m looking forward to next book in series.
♥︎♥︎ Demaris  ♥︎♥︎
I have read many a review that compares Sara Donati's Wilderness series to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. So I came to Into The Wilderness with certain expectations and though I can't say I was disappointed, with what I found within the pages of this book, I'd be lying if I said the comparison is a fair one. Donati has a great deal of talent, she is an accomplished and engaging writer but Into the Wilderness is no Outlander.

Elizabeth Middleton is a woman with 20th century sensibilities stuck in th
Amy Holloway
To call this series historical romance, I think, only scratches the surface of what makes these books so compelling for me. It's the richness of characters and the family saga against the landscape of a newly formed nation that kept me engaged through all 6 books. I haven't read the Highlander series, so can't speak to that comparison. These novels remind me of the sweeping family sagas of John Jakes and James Michener, for those who can remember that far back. In fact this series begs for a scr ...more
Ana T.
When I first heard of Into The Wilderness I must confess I was a bit doubtful that it was the book for me. It was presented as a sequel to The Last of The Mohicans and usually the sequels are a bit (or a lot) of a letdown (it isn't exactly a sequel though as the events take place quite a few years after TLoTM and only some of the same characters appear). However Marg was so sure about it and recommended it so well that I ended up putting it in the TBR pile and this weekend I finally read it. And ...more
A poignant love story set in upstate New York in the 1700’s. The story is based around Elizabeth Middleton, a spinster school teacher freshly out of England intending to teach the children of her father’s community. However, enter Nathaniel Bonner, strikingly handsome and a rare mix of Native American traditions and white man influence. Here begins the story of forbidden love, adventure, romance, and history tied into a story which has Nathaniel and Elizabeth marrying secretly and running away b ...more
Lise *friends don't flag*
2nd favorite historical romance


I mostly really enjoyed this story and the characters. It had early America historical elements without being a "history" book. It felt real to me, from the setting, to the speech, to the attitudes of the people, I believed I was in that time period. The story moved along at a nice pace... there were some predictable outcomes, but it wasn't distracting. The characters had some struggles and obstacles to overcome but nothing too angsty or heart-wrenching. By th
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Sara Donati is a pen name of Rosina Lippi. Notice: Sara does not age. Rosina does. R is also here on Goodreads; any and all reviews will show up under Rosina Lippi, so she's the one to follow. Sara just sits here eating bonbons.
More about Sara Donati...

Other Books in the Series

Wilderness (6 books)
  • Dawn on a Distant Shore (Wilderness, #2)
  • Lake in the Clouds (Wilderness, #3)
  • Fire Along the Sky (Wilderness, #4)
  • Queen of Swords (Wilderness, #5)
  • The Endless Forest (Wilderness, #6)
Dawn on a Distant Shore (Wilderness, #2) Lake in the Clouds (Wilderness, #3) Fire Along the Sky (Wilderness, #4) Queen of Swords (Wilderness, #5) The Endless Forest (Wilderness, #6)

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“Elizabeth Middleton, twenty-nine years old and unmarried, overly educated and excessively rational, knowing right from wrong and fancy from fact, woke in a nest of marten and fox pelts to the sight of an eagle circling overhead, and saw at once that it could not be far to Paradise.” 22 likes
“She wore her determination like war paint.” 3 likes
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