Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1)” as Want to Read:
Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Into the Wilderness (Wilderness #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  24,189 Ratings  ·  1,528 Reviews
Weaving a tapestry of fact and fiction, Sara Donati's epic novel sweeps us into another time and place...and into the heart of a forbidden affair between an unconventional Englishwoman and an American frontiersman.

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
Paperback, 876 pages
Published August 3rd 1999 by Bantam Books (first published August 3rd 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Into the Wilderness, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Cameron It took me two books into this series to figure out what was bothering me. You know how, even though you love all the characters in Outlander, you…moreIt took me two books into this series to figure out what was bothering me. You know how, even though you love all the characters in Outlander, you just can't wait for Jamie and Claire to be alone? Just to eavesdrop on their coversations, get a glimpse into their thoughts, and by golly, to be a fly on the wall when they make love? Donati's are like the Outlander series, except without two such compelling central characters. I love the history, the world building, all of the "secondary" characters like Curiosity and Hannah, Aunt Merriwether and Runs From Bears. But the minute Elizabeth starts talking or thinking, or God forbid, interacting with Nathaniel, I speed-read ahead. Both are so wooden and so devoid of any nuance, shading or humor that it's impossible to root for them and difficult just to go along for the ride. But the plot and the rest of the characters keep me hooked. So it's a bumpy ride. You may find them less boring or off-putting than I do, and if so, Enjoy!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Sara Donati Yes, Diana formally gave permission for the brief mention of her characters.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Best Historical Fiction
144th out of 5,717 books — 22,029 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenOutlander by Diana GabaldonDevil in Winter by Lisa KleypasJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Favorite Historical Romance Novels
72nd out of 2,558 books — 4,835 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 11, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it really liked it

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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 06, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it
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
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
Carolyn F.
Aug 25, 2012 Carolyn F. rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 09, 2009 Belinda rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2015 Lucia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
With my new found love for historical fiction (thanks to Outlander) and with my love for Last of Mohicans movie, it was just question of time when I would read this book. And I am glad that I chose it for my summer read. I got somehow lighter read than I expected but I enjoyed it nonetheless and I definitely plan to read next instalment!
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 O'Donnell F.
I have really enjoyed the first book in the series entitled Into the Wilderness. The basic storyline has been well-researched and there is great depth in the character development. It is refreshing to have the main character depicted for her intelligence, her analytical skills, and her strong resourcefulness. This is not your typical historical fiction with bodice ripping and muscular physiques on every page. Elizabeth is even deemed a spinster, being a woman in her late twenties, not a robust 1 ...more
Linda C
Aug 01, 2010 Linda C rated it it was ok
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
Feb 24, 2015 Melodie rated it it was amazing
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
I've had this book for years, but was always reluctant both to crack it open and to give it away. Until I decided to do both: read it first and give it away after. The result is, I'm keeping the book till it rots.

Ironic, isn't it?

Looking back, I can pinpoint my wariness as stemming from two things: for one, that it was compared to, linked to, and said to be copied from "Outlander" and heartily recommended for and by fans of Gabaldon. And the thing is, I disliked that book, so the surest way to g
Cam *is the worst*

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
Jun 29, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was ok
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
Feb 23, 2015 Maliha rated it liked it
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
Nov 13, 2013 Mary rated it did not like it
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
B the BookAddict
Dec 12, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: GR
Shelves: hist-fiction

No review, I'm too busy getting stuck into book #2 of the series. 4
Beth F.
Jul 23, 2008 Beth F. rated it really liked it
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
Diane Lynn
Sep 28, 2015 Diane Lynn rated it it was amazing
I loved this story set in the 1790's, mostly in upper New York State. I was immediately drawn into their lives, the characters and plot were very well done. There is a large cast of characters but fortunately there is a list at the beginning of my book which I had to refer to from time to time. I enjoyed the survival bits in the wilderness and some parts were also suspenseful. My only one minor complaint is that one love scene had a little too much information for me. That didn't affect my overa ...more
Mishelle LaBrash
Aug 28, 2011 Mishelle LaBrash rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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..
Aug 10, 2012 SummerAmethyst rated it liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
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
Jul 23, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
This was a solid 4 stars for me. I enjoyed reading this. I've read some of the other reviews....some say it's similar to the Outlander series, some say it definitely is not. For me, it had some similarities when it came to the love story and the time period, but it is its own thing. I liked the nod that it gave to Ian Murray and his red headed giant Scot of an uncle. That was fun to see a couple of my favorite characters mentioned in this.

I loved the historical story. (I came across one inaccura
Nov 13, 2011 Toni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2010 Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 11, 2009 Marguerite rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2008 MelissaB rated it really liked it
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.

May 31, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. . .nice break from the deeper than deep Diana Gabaldon series's. I really liked the characters. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.
1st Read 12/3/11

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Into the Wildernesss by Sarah Donati - 4 Stars 3 9 Jul 09, 2016 12:40PM  
The Pioneers? 2 16 Feb 08, 2016 05:47PM  
The Book Travelers: Into the Wilderness, by Sara Donati 4 9 Dec 09, 2015 04:19PM  
Finding ebook of Into The Wilderness by Sara Donati in Australia 11 133 Apr 24, 2015 11:34AM  
Soul Gems Book Club: August is over & September is almost here! 1 5 Aug 31, 2014 11:52AM  
Round Lake Librar...: Soooooooo? 15 29 Sep 27, 2013 09:17AM  
  • On a Highland Shore (Highland, #1)
  • The Pride of Lions (Highlands, #1)
  • The Champion
  • Ride the Wind
  • Untamed (MacKinnon's Rangers, #2)
  • Blue Bells of Scotland (Blue Bells Trilogy, #1)
  • Dancing on Coals
  • Under the Same Sky (The MacDonnells, #1)
  • Heart of the West
  • Flowers from the Storm
  • Celia Garth
  • Texas Splendor (Leigh Brothers Texas Trilogy, #3)
  • Island of the Swans
  • Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1)
  • Now Face to Face (Tamworth Saga, #3)
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.

BUT: Sara has been busy. She has a new novel coming out September 1, The Gilded Hour. More about the novel here. Or you can have a look at the weblog. Rosina writes the pos
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)

Share This Book

“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.” 28 likes
“She wore her determination like war paint.” 5 likes
More quotes…