Sara Donati is the pen name of Rosina Lippi, a former academic and tenured university professor. Since 2000 she has been writing fiction full-time, haunting the intersection where history and storytelling meet, wallowing in nineteenth-century newspapers, magazines, street maps, and academic historical research. She is the internationally bestselling author of the Wilderness series (Into the Wilderness, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Lake in the Clouds, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords, and The Endless Forest) as well as The Gilded Hour, the first in a new series following the descendants of characters from the Wilderness series. She lives between the Cascades and Puget Sound with her husband, daughter, Jimmy Dean (a Havanese), and Max and Bella (the cats).
The fourth in Donati's popular Wilderness series (Into The Wilderness, etc.) takes the Scott family on a perilous journey to New Orleans on the eve of one of the War of 1812's climactic battles. The action begins with the dramatic rescue of Jennet Scott from captivity in the French Antilles. Her saviors include her husband, Luke, a prominent Montreal merchant, and Luke's Mohawk half-sister, Hannah, a physician. Jennet had given birth to a son, Nathaniel, during her captivity and enlisted Honor? Poiterin, a shady Creole merchant, to smuggle him to safety. The Scotts trek to New Orleans after discovering Poiterin and his grandmother have taken the child there and are claiming him as their own. In a city surrounded by two opposing armies, the Scotts find an ally in Ben Savard, the well-connected half-brother of a plantation owner. Out of a surfeit of characters (there are over 30 "primary characters" listed at the book's beginning), Hannah is the star surviving two brushes with death, saving countless lives and still finding time to fall in love. The conclusion is predictable and the pacing uneven, but fans of epic historical adventures will be captivated by the exotic setting and intriguing story line. (Oct. 31) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The latest volume in Donati's popular Bonner family series opens where Fire Along the Sky (2004) left off, with Luke Bonner's wife, Jennet, a captive of a renegade priest in the Caribbean. Luke and his half-sister, Hannah, rescue Jennet, but soon realize that she had to give up her newborn son, named Nathan after his grandfather, to keep him safe. The Bonners track Nathan to New Orleans, where he has been adopted by the matriarch of a prominent Creole family and her profligate grandson. Finding Nathan isn't difficult, but keeping him and avoiding the ire of the Poiterin family is, and the Bonners soon find themselves caught up in the wartime politics of 1814 New Orleans. As with the previous books in the series, Donati treats her characters with sensitivity and does not shy away from tackling thorny themes, such as racial relations between Native Americans and whites during the early 18th century. This fast-paced, engaging book is sure to draw in readers. Highly recommended. Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.