Heather asked:

How does this compare to the Outlander books? I really loved the first two of that series but the 4th really turned me off. I stumbled across this by chance on here and am intrigued.

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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 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!
Pam I have enjoyed both series of books, and in my opinion neither deserve to be compared side by side, I understand that Donatii's reference to "Auntie Claire" was indeed blessed. I strongly feel Donati and Gabaldon both produced fine stories that stand alone with endearing characters and strong plots. They both have proven to me they have used exceptionally detailed and accurate research. I have been deeply satisfied by the minutia interwoven and examined in each of these books.

Haydee do give the Outlander books another look I do not think you will be disappointed ! However here are some others you might try...

Another series I have sampled are the books authored by the Gears "People of the ..." Lightening; Ice; Lakes, etc., all based on actual archeological findings. Which reminds me of yet another book of this ilk, the Source, by James Michner one of the first, fictional pre-historical stories I had ever read that piqued my interest in that genre, an exceptional read (I would recommend any and all of Michner books they are superb)

I also enjoyed and would recommend, another sweeping series of pre-history "Clan of the Cave Bear" the author did extensive research regarding locations, artifacts, flora and fauna. My favorites of that series were actually the three middle volumes, created by Jean Auel. I have read this series several times as the heroine in these books is inspiring, strong through great trials, disappointment and many challenges.

Happy reading, hope my views helped!
Cindy Griffith Big fan of the Outlander series. The characters are so grand in that series. Into the Wilderness does have much of the same characteristics as Outlander, some characters are endearing. But none have the depth of character as in Outlander. I've read all Outlander series, most twice. Now watching the Starz series. As with any series, some books are not as delightful as others - even with Outlander (Heather mentioned that one she didn't care for). So, I may read more of the Donati series just to see if the characters warm up a bit more to me. Poor Nathaniel, it's tough to live up to Jamie Fraser. :-) All in all, a fine read.
Cheryl As you'll see from my review, Diana Gabaldon is somewhat of a mentor to Sara Donati. I believe Sara intially was Diana's webmaster, and they are personal friends. Her style of writing is very similar. I have found this the closest in style to the Outlander series. I believe the quality of Donati's writing is as good as Gabaldon. It does not have the time travel quality of the Outlander books, but I would say the writing is superior to much of the historical fiction that exists. Wish I could find more authors like Gabaldon and Donati.
Cat I enjoy both authors, but I must admit that Gabaldon's Outlander series is a much better read for me.
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 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.
Madeline I'm not sure that I can add much to this that has not already been stated, but wanted to put in my 2 cents. I started reading this because I've seen it recommended to fans of Gabaldon's Outlander series. I am madly in love with everything Gabaldon writes and have read all her stories (including the Lord John series and her other novellas) multiple times, so perhaps my expectations were too high.

Overall, I agree with the points made by Cameron and Cindy. In the beginning of the novel, Donati's attempts to portray Elizabeth as a strong, independent female lacked subtlety, and came off like a juvenile attempt at best. The reader is told how fervently Elizabeth is committed to staying single, and not much later she has fallen in love with Nathaniel, a man she barely knows, and is willing to marry him. As for Nathaniel.. I'm now halfway through know little about his true character.

Claire and Jamie Fraser have so much depth to their characters that they feel to me like close friends I've known for years. Gabaldon is a master storyteller and Donati, while clearly trying to emulate her, misses the mark.
Dorothy Welburn I love them, even if they are a bit over-long in some instances. But I do enjoy that the characters keep returning like long lost friends. I have learned a lot of history too.
Deana Foster I am just 30% through the first book and I can't find a reason to keep reading. As some have indicated below, the two (2) main characters' interaction is stiff and though I want to believe this is what it would have been like during the period, I can't get past the fact that they had sex so quickly and she still seems to hate him in some way....what's up and how long does it take to actually get it.
Jennifer Hmmm. Good question. Feels a teensy bit like Outlander fan fiction. I wonder if Diana gave permission for her to use Ian and Auntie Claire and her Kanyenkahaka (sp??) characters...

Not nearly as good as Outlander, but not a bad read.
Leanne I loved this series by Donati, and I've read the Outlander books series while it does not have the time travel theme it does have a protagonist who is just as memorable.
Kymm I couldn't get past 300 pages of the first Outlander book. The story wasn't bad, but all the seemingly unnecessary and descriptive sex on every page got very tiresome to me. In this one Donati allows the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks more about Boots and Nathaniel's encounters. There are several scenes where they are having sex, but it's not in your face long drawn out and descriptive, it's a more mysterious, let your mind fill in the blanks kind of love making that I enjoy. I don't like reading sex scenes like they're rape scenes, which is the feeling I got reading Outlander. This one was so much better than Outlander for me and Sara Donati is the queen of family saga historical fiction in my book. Just my opinion.
Myriam Williams Honestly I don't think it should be compared at all...
I prefered this series to Outlander tbh - unpopular opinion, i know. I got fed up with the almost voyeuristic way the sexual violence is portrayed - again and again and again - in Outlander, and I didn't really like Claire as a character (this is one thing the TV show got right, Claire is much more likeable, imo).
I found the Wilderness series really nice, and especially as the books went on, the stories of the children & grandchildren, and friends of the family. It stands on its own and is quite different from Outlander.
Gwennith Angasan I don’t think this series can compare to Outlander. Reading Gabaldon’s series was like eating good buttery popcorn. I devoured them. Couldn’t put them down. The characters in this series seemed so wooden. I don’t think they were developed very well. I don’t often abandon a book, but I set aside the first one after reading about 2/3 of it. I may have to revisit it sometime.
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by Sara Donati (Goodreads Author)
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