Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review: Into The Wilderness

When I first started reading this book, I was really excited.  I went to the bookstore in the mood to read an epic romance, and this book pretty much fit the bill.  As a bonus, it's loosely based on The Last of the Mohicans, and who doesn't wish they were Cora to Daniel Day-Lewis's Hawkeye?  I DO.

Into the Wilderness is the story of Elizabeth Middleton and Nathaniel Bonner.  The book is set in late eighteenth century New York state. Elizabeth's father is a judge and landowner in the small town of Paradise.  Elizabeth was raised in England by her father's sister, but she and her brother move to America to live with their father when Elizabeth is twenty-nine.  She plans on starting a school in the town, but until she arrives she doesn't know that her father plans on her marrying Richard Todd, a wealthy doctor.  The judge has worked out a plan that when Elizabeth marries Richard, he'll deed a portion of his land in return for Richard paying off the judge's debts.  But Elizabeth isn't too keen on that plan, especially after she meets hunky Nathaniel Bonner.

Nathaniel's father's name is Daniel Bonner, but he goes by Hawkeye.  His wife was Cora, and his father is Chingachgook.  That's about it as far as The Last of the Mohicans go.  But from the physical descriptions of Nathaniel, I think it's safe to say that Sara Donati had Daniel Day-Lewis in mind.  Anyhoo, the Bonners and their Mohican family happen to live on the parcel of land that is at issue in the wedding plans.  When Elizabeth and Nathaniel develop feelings for each other, they hatch a plan to pull a fast-one on the judge and Richard: Elizabeth will pretend to agree to marry Richard, and thus she'll sign the deed giving her the land.  But in the small window between the conveyance and her wedding, she'll elope with Nathaniel.  After their marriage, the land will go to her husband.

I'm not giving anything away by telling you that they carry out their plan.  And then the book goes on.  And on.  And on.

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.  I was certainly interested and entertained the entire time I was reading.  There is plenty of action moving the plot along.  But I was a little disappointed because I never really became attached to Elizabeth and Nathaniel.  I cared about them, but their love story didn't move me.  Elizabeth comes very close to being too perfect to like.  She does have one MAJOR screw-up that I think was well done on Donati's part.  (It makes me think she knew readers were going to dislike this lady if she continued being perfect.)  But all in all the book is well-written, consistent, and enjoyable.  It just didn't capture my emotions.  Bummer.

No comments: