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Dawn on a Distant Shore
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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.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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