Cover image for Dawn on a distant shore
Title:
Dawn on a distant shore
Author:
Donati, Sara, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
463 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553107487
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Sara Donati's debut novel,Into the Wilderness, was hailed as "epic in scope, emotionally intense...an enrapturing, grand adventure"(BookPage)  and "a captivating saga...definitely the romance of the year when it comes to transcending genre boundaries"(Booklist). Author Diana Gabaldon called it "one of those rare stories that let you breathe the air of another time, and leave your footprints on the snow of a wild, strange place." Now, in her second novel, this award-winning master storyteller once again blends fact and fiction, and re-creates her beloved characters fromInto the Wildernessin an eloquent, enthralling tale of romance and adventure. Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into their life together at the edge of the New-York wilderness in the winter of 1794 when Elizabeth gives birth to healthy twins. But soon the events in Canada draw Nathaniel far away from his new family. Word has reached them that Nathaniel's father has been arrested by crown officials in British Canada. Nathaniel reluctantly leaves Hidden Wolf Mountain to set out for the distant city, determined to see his father freed. Instead Nathaniel is imprisoned and finds himself in imminent danger of being hanged as an American spy. In a desperate bid to save her husband, Elizabeth bundles her infants and sets out on the long trek to Montreal. Accompanied by her stepdaughter, Hannah, their wise friend Curiosity Freeman, and Runs-from-Bears, a Mohawk warrior and lifelong friend of Nathaniel's, Elizabeth journeys through the snowy wilderness and across treacherous waterways. But she soon discovers that freeing Nathaniel will take every ounce of her courage and inventiveness. It is a struggle that threatens her with the loss of what she loves most: her children. Torn apart, the Bonners must embark on yet another perilous voyage...this time all the way across the ocean to the heart of Scotland, where a wealthy earl claims kinship with Nathaniel's father, Hawkeye. In his heart, the Mahican tribe of Hawkeye's youth is the truest kin he will ever know, just as Nathaniel will always remain loyal to the Mohawk nation. But with this journey a whole new world opens up to Nathaniel and Elizabeth--and a destiny they could never have imagined awaits them.... A sweeping epic of romance and adventure,Dawn on a Distant Shoreestablishes Sara Donati as one of today's most gifted storytellers. With well-drawn characters and an evocative love story that is intricately woven into the rich history of our nation's past, this extraordinary novel will enthrall readers like few others--and sweep them away to a whole other time and place. A sweeping epic of romance and adventure, Dawn on a Distant Shore establishes Sara Donati as one of today's most gifted storytellers. With well-drawn characters and an evocative love story that is intricately woven into the history of our nation's past, this extraordinary novel will enthrall readers like few others--and sweep them away to a whole other time and place. -->


Author Notes

Rosina Lippi was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 14, 1956. She received a PhD in linguistics from Princeton University. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a professor. She writes the Wilderness series under the pen name Sara Donati. Her title The Gilded Hour is a New York Times bestseller.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Donati picks up the romantic epic of Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner shortly after the events dramatized in Into the Wilderness [BKL Jl 98] in this involving tale. As the second volume begins in 1794, Elizabeth gives birth to twins on the New York frontier, alone except for her young stepdaughter. While the Bonners' married life is still blissful, it is turning out to be too short-lived as word arrives that Nathaniel's father, Hawkeye, is being held in a Canadian prison. Nathaniel rushes to his rescue and then becomes a prisoner himself. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and the babies trek north through the treacherous wilderness waterways during the arduous winter, intent on freeing the Bonner men and their friends. But when they arrive, they discover that the men are already freed. Dontai's vivid re-creation of the danger and chaos of frontier life is a prelude to the novel's most exciting action, which kicks in when the Bonner twins are kidnapped by a man intent on forcing Nathaniel and Buckeye to return to Scotland, where their presence as the heirs of the earl of Carryck is in great demand. A wild race across the sea in a privateer's ship reunites the family only, in yet another reversal, to plunge them into a morass of political intrigue. Donati's skillfully told and captivating romantic historical saga brings a tumultuous era and dashing characters to life in what promises to be a very popular and rewarding series. --Diana Tixier Herald


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

When Elizabeth Bonner, fresh from childbirth, learns that her husband, Nathaniel, and his father are imprisoned in Montreal, she embarks on a voyage to save them with her infant twins, her stepdaughter, freed slave Curiosity Freeman, and Mohawk Indian Runs-from-Bears. Before returning home, she loses and regains her children; sees her husband shot; witnesses piracy, kidnapping, and murder; and sails to Scotland as part of a scheme to save the land of a laird. That all the events occur within only a few months seems incredible. As in the prequel Into the Wilderness (Bantam, 1998), Donati freely borrows elements from other authors, including James Fenimore Cooper. Her complicated plot contains numerous subplots and side issues that eventually tie together. Readers who enjoy a dollop of American history in a "bodice-ripper" will enjoy this book. It's not great literature, but it's fun.--Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 February, 1794 On the edge of the New-York wilderness In the middle of a blizzard in the second half of the hardest, snowiest winter anyone in Paradise could remember, Elizabeth Middleton Bonner, sweat soaked, naked, and adrift in burning pain, wondered if she might just die of the heat. Once again she grabbed the leather straps tied to the bed frame to haul herself forward, and bore down with all her considerable strength. "Come, little one," sang the girl who crouched, waiting, at the foot of the bed. Her ten-year-old face was alight with excitement and fierce concentration, her bloodied hands outstretched, beckoning. From a basket before the warmth of the hearth came the high, keen wail of Elizabeth's firstborn: a daughter, just twenty minutes old. "Come, child," crooned Hannah. "We are waiting for you." We are all waiting for you. In the grip of a contraction that threatened to set her on fire, Elizabeth bore down again and was rewarded with the blessed sight of a crowning head. With shaking fingers she touched the slick, wet curls and her own flesh, stretched drumtight: her body on the brink of splitting itself in two. One last time, one last time, one last time. She strained, feeling the child flex and turn, feeling its will, as strong as her own. Elizabeth blinked the sweat from her eyes and looked up to find Hannah's gaze fixed on her. "Let him come," the girl said in Kahnyen'keh^ka. "It is his time." Elizabeth pushed. In a rush of fluid her son, blue-white and already howling, slid out into her stepdaughter's waiting hands. With a groan of relief and thanksgiving, Elizabeth collapsed backward. For one sweet moment, the wailing of the newborns was louder than the scream of the blizzard rampaging through the Endless Forests. Their father was out there, trying to make his way home to them. With her arms crossed over the warm, squirming bundles Hannah laid against her skin, Elizabeth muttered a prayer for Nathaniel Bonner's safe delivery from the storm. As Elizabeth labored, the small handful of farmers and trappers with the good sense to be stranded by the blizzard in Paradise's only tavern sat huddled over cards and ale, waiting out the weather. While the winds worked the rafters like starving wolves at a carcass, they told stories in easy, slurred voices, but they watched their cards and tankards and the long, straight back of the man who stood, motionless, at the window. "Strung as tight as my fiddle," muttered one of the card players. "Say something to him, Axel." Axel Metzler shrugged a shoulder in frustration, but he turned toward the window. "Set down, Nathaniel, and have a drink. I broke out my best ale, here. And the storm won't be letting up for you staring at it." "Women will have babies at the worst times," announced the youngest of the men solemnly. "Now, what would you know about it, Charlie? You got a wife hid away somewhere?" "A man don't need a wife of his own to see that it's damn hard luck to have run into this weather." The storm raised its voice as if to argue. The roof groaned in response, and a fine sifting of dust settled over the room and the uncovered tankards. Axel plucked the pipe from his mouth in disgust and pointed his tattered white beard toward the heavens, exposing a long neck much like that of a plucked turkey. "Shut up, you old Teufel! Quiet!" The winds howled once more, let out a longish whine, and fell silent. For a moment the men stared at each other and then Axel tucked his pipe back in the corner of his mouth with a satisfied grunt. A woman appeared at the door from the living quarters just as the man at the window turned. The light of the fire threw his face into relief: half shadow, all worry, his high brow furrowed and his mouth pressed hard. In his hand was a crumpled sheet of paper, which he tucked into his shirt with one hand while he reached for his mantle with the other. "Curiosity?" he asked, his voice hoarse with disuse. "I'm right here, Nathaniel." Long and wiry, straight backed in spite of her near sixty years, Curiosity Freeman moved briskly through the room, her skirts snapping and swirling. The hands adjusting the turban that towered above her head were deep brown against the sprigged fabric. She turned to a boy who sat near the fire, big boned, ginger haired, and pale with sleeplessness. "You there, Liam Kirby. Look lively, now. You fetch me my snowshoes, will you?" He sprang up, rubbing his eyes. "Yes'm." Axel stood and stretched. "Good luck, Nathaniel! Give Miz Elizabeth our best!" Nathaniel raised a hand in acknowledgment. "Thank you, Axel. Jed, I was supposed to send Martha Southern word, would you take care of that for me?" "I will. Tomorrow we'll wet the child's head, proper like." "We'll do that, God willing." Liam had gone out onto the porch, but the older woman hung back to put a hand on Nathaniel's arm. "Elizabeth's strong, and Hannah's with her. That girl of yours has got the touch, you know that." She's only ten years old. Nathaniel could see that thought sitting there in the troubled lines that bracketed Curiosity's mouth. "Elizabeth asked for you. She wanted you." And me. I should be there. Curiosity squinted at him. Never the kind to offer false comfort, she nodded, and followed him outside. Strung out in single file with Nathaniel leading and Liam bringing up the rear, they left the village on snowshoes. They carried tin lanterns that cast dancing pinpricks of light over the new snow: a scattering of golden stars to match the fiery ones overhead. The night sky had been scrubbed clean; the moon was knife edged and cold, as cold as the air that stung the throat and nose. Nathaniel glanced over his shoulder now and then to gauge Curiosity's pace. Thus far she showed no signs of tiring, in spite of the late hour and interrupted sleep. Frontier women, his father often said. When one of their own is in need, they can set creation on its ear. He had set out to fetch her almost twenty-four hours ago. She was his father-in-law's housekeeper, but Curiosity Freeman was more than that: Elizabeth's friend, and his own, the clearest head in the village and the closest thing Paradise had to a doctor since Richard Todd had decided to spend the winter in Johnstown; she had always been a better midwife, anyway. With a midwife's sense of timing, she had been ready for him, her basket packed. She wiped the flour from her hands and arms and passed the kneading over to her daughter, calling out to her husband, Galileo, that she was on her way. Judge Middleton was still abed, and they left without disturbing him. "Let him sleep," she had said, strapping on her snowshoes. "Ain't nothing a man can do to ease a daughter in labor anyways, and my Polly will see to his breakfast. Did you send Anna word? I'd be glad of her help, with the rest of your womenfolk away." "Liam's gone to fetch her." "Let's get moving, then. First children ain't usually in a hurry, but you never know." Excerpted from Dawn on a Distant Shore by Sara Donati All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.