• Dawn on a Distant Shore

  • A Novel
  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 20 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (2,680 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have settled into their life together at the edge of the New-York wilderness in the winter of 1794. But soon after Elizabeth gives birth to healthy twins, Nathaniel learns that his father has been arrested in British Canada. Forced to leave Hidden Wolf Mountain to help his father in Montreal, Nathaniel himself is imprisoned and in danger of being hanged as a spy.

In a desperate bid to save her husband, Elizabeth bundles her infants and sets out through the snowy wilderness and across treacherous waterways on the dangerous trek to Canada. But she soon discovers that freeing her husband will take every ounce of her courage and inventiveness - and will threaten 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 destiny they could never have imagined awaits them....

©2009 Sara Donati (P)2009 Random House

What listeners say about Dawn on a Distant Shore

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great great great

What made the experience of listening to Dawn on a Distant Shore the most enjoyable?

I read reviews about people not liking the second book as much as the first, but they never take into account that the first book is new, is an unknown story line, unknown characters etc. You have to go into the second book with that awareness. I really loved that this book picked up right where the last book left off. I loved the real emotions I felt when reading this. Genuine anger, happiness and one moment of utter shock and heartbreak. I love when I can feel the book and this one, like the last, gave me that.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I love all the characters, but who's favorite ISN'T Robbie!? He's just that lovable guy that is always there and cares way more for others than himself.

Any additional comments?

Definitely worth the read. I'm alternating between this series and "The Tea Rose" series (If you haven't read it, DO!!!) and I'm much anticipating returning to Elizabeth and Nathanial and family!!

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Second Tale of the Bonners

This is the second novel in the series of six "wilderness" novels written by the author. In order, for your reference: Into the Wilderness, Dawn on a Distant Shore, Lake in the Clouds, Fire Along the Sky, Queen of Swords, and The Endless Forest.

These novels should be read in order although each is self-contained. They do, however, refer to previous novels and its most helpful to read them in order. I strongly suggest you read them in order as that will definitely enhance your interest. It's also easier to keep track of the many characters in each novel if this is done.

All of these novels are quite lengthy, hence the cost of two credits. They're worth it. All contain highly original and fascinating stories about the Bonner family, set in rural New York during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Set on the edge of the wilderness they represent a fascinating story of the history of that period although I wouldn't limit their impact by merely thinking of them as historical novels. They should be considered literature of the highest kind.

I read all of the stories in hard copy form then purchased each of the six in unabridged form from audible.com. Long gone junkies of this series will read and listen to them again and again. I had some trouble with my iPod in listening to them and was careful to manually start or restart each of the three parts of this and the other novels at Chapter 1 of each Part. If you don't do this the audible.com recording will sometimes drop the first paragraph or two when each new part is played. This is not true simply of this series. Be careful when listening to all novels that have two or more parts. This novel has three parts of approximately 8 hours each.

I've listened to more than 200 audible.com books, primarily classic literature as that's my background. This series represents one of the best I've found in a lifetime of reading. Highly recommended. Definitely five stars.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Well Written Book

Sequels often are big let-downs, but fortunately that is not the case with "Dawn on a Distant Shore," the second book in a projected five part series that started with "Into the Wilderness."
Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner are still the focus of the story, which moves along at a fairly brisk clip, although it does falter toward the end when the action moves from Canada to Scotland.

Elizabeth still exhibits the same moral and physical courage as she did in the first book of the series. When her husband Nathaniel follows his father Daniel to Montreal, the younger man is also arrested and is likely to be hanged as a spy. Elizabeth, having given birth to twins, takes her babies to Canada in the dead of winter to try to save him. As in the previous book, no one is ever quite who or what they seem, and the Bonners encounter many shady characters in trying to determine Daniel Bonner's heritage....the secret of which lies in Scotland.

Sara Donati is a gifted storyteller. She has a good ear for natural sounding dialogue, her plotting is refreshingly original, and her characters are appealing -- even the "bad guys" have shades of gray in their character. My main criticism of this book had to do with the slowing of the action once the story moved to Scotland, and the fact that Nathaniel's daughter (Hannah or Squirrel) from his first marriage has started to take center stage.

For some reason authors seem to feel compelled to make children in historical novels into little adults, and Hannah is no exception to that "rule." Her emotions are simply too adult-like to be appealing to this reader. However, I still highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a little different in an historical family saga. The fourth book in the series will be out in hardcover this fall.

Kate Reading was again wonderful with the delivery of the story

7 people found this helpful

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Nothing Like Book 1

Any additional comments?

Once the ship disappeared (I don't want to spoil the plot by more details) I had to quit the book. It was exhausting following one unbelievable twist after another. Nothing like the Wilderness of the first book in the series, and impossible to keep up with all the royalty, soldiers, French vs. English etc.

On a petty note, I wonder if anyone besides me was annoyed by the constant references to "he/she raised one eyebrow." After endless such comments in Book 1, I started counting them in this book. There were 13 through Chapter 14, when I quit listening. I don't know anyone who can raise one brow, though I'm sure some can. But really...

I would have rated the performance higher if I could have understood what was being said when the narrator uses her Scottish accent.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Diana Galbeldon fill in

Would you listen to Dawn on a Distant Shore again? Why?

Probably not, the story is not that complex. The story is forced in some areas.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Needs a different narrator

What would have made Dawn on a Distant Shore better?

Used a different narrator and not made the main character sound so uneducated b

Would you recommend Dawn on a Distant Shore to your friends? Why or why not?

No. It isn't a very interesting story line.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kate Reading?

Davina Porter

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Dawn on a Distant Shore?

The journey to canada.

Any additional comments?

None.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this series

What did you like best about Dawn on a Distant Shore? What did you like least?

The Plot was great

Would you be willing to try another book from Sara Donati? Why or why not?

yes

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

the narration was great

Could you see Dawn on a Distant Shore being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

yes

Any additional comments?

took me a while to get into this series but could not put it down after i started

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed but not loved.

I enjoyed this book but it seemed to drag on and on, and it bothered me that some of the things that happened to these two just seemed ridiculous. Why can't they seem to stay out of trouble? lol However, I suppose if they did then we wouldn't have a book, would we? I'm not sure I'll listen to the remainder of the series because what more could happen to them?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

good book ..good series.. but 2 credits?

good book but I don't know if it is twice as good as any other bood for the 2 credits. 1 credit then I'd say definently read this series, but I'd have to think about it for 2 cedits.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Still Searching for Originality

I almost reluctantly read this book. I was not a fan of the first book in the series, although I finished it. There were moments it was pretty good, but much of it wasn't. However, there was some kernel within the story that drew me in and made me invest the time to finish it and start this 2nd book in the series.

Even though the characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series are not mentioned in this book, as they were in the first, there was no logical reason to move much of the plot to Scotland, include a perilous sea voyage with the main characters separated on two different ships, include treacherous pirates, etc. Except that each of these themes seemed to be popular in the Outlander series.

This book was actually slightly better written and the characters more developed. However, I didn't like it as much as I did the previous book and that is saying something. I think what I disliked the most was the fact that it seemed totally unconnected to the first book and almost shameless in its attempt to attract a specific audience. I would have stopped here, but I read the synopsis of Queen of Swords, a later book in the series and it intrigued me.

2 people found this helpful