Your audiobook is waiting…

Into the Wilderness

A Novel
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Series: Wilderness, Book 1
Length: 30 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,509 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Weaving a vibrant tapestry of fact and fiction, Into the Wilderness sweeps us into another time and place...and into the heart of a forbidden, incandescent affair between a spinster Englishwoman and an American frontiersman. Here is an epic of romance and history that will captivate listeners from the start.  

When Elizabeth Middleton, 29 years old and unmarried, leaves her Aunt Merriweather's comfortable English estate to join her father and brother in the remote mountain village of Paradise on the edge of the New York wilderness, she does so with a strong will and an unwavering purpose: to teach school.

It is December of 1792 when she arrives in a cold climate unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man different from any she has ever encountered - a white man dressed like a Native American, tall and lean and unsettling in his blunt honesty. He is Nathaniel Bonner, also known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives.

Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village - white, black, and Native American - Elizabeth soon finds herself at odds with local slave owners. Much to her surprise, she clashes with her own father as well. Financially strapped, Judge Middleton has plans for his daughter - betrothal to local doctor Richard Todd. An alliance with Todd could extract her father from ruin but would call into question the ownership of Hidden Wolf, the mountain where Nathaniel, his father, and a small group of Native Americans live and hunt.

As Judge Middleton brings pressure to bear against his daughter, she is faced with a choice between compliance and deception, a flight into the forest, and a desire that will bend her hard will to compromise and transformation.

Elizabeth's ultimate destiny, here in the heart of the wilderness, lies in the odyssey to come: trials of faith and flesh, and passion born amid Nathaniel's own secrets and divided soul.

©2009 Sara Donati (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"My favorite kind of book is the sort you live in, rather than read. Into the Wilderness is 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. I can think of no better adventure than to explore the wilderness in the company of such engaging and independent lovers as Elizabeth and her Nathaniel." (Diana Gabaldon)
"Each time you open a book you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise." (Amanda Quick)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,045
  • 4 Stars
    927
  • 3 Stars
    346
  • 2 Stars
    108
  • 1 Stars
    83

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,041
  • 4 Stars
    618
  • 3 Stars
    223
  • 2 Stars
    51
  • 1 Stars
    53

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,761
  • 4 Stars
    747
  • 3 Stars
    319
  • 2 Stars
    95
  • 1 Stars
    67
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful surprise

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book more than I expected to. People said if you like Outlander then you'll like this, but I'm not sure why because it's totally different. I guess maybe because its a well written historical fiction?

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the rapidity of the story so you werent sitting hanging to any storyline too long. I hate when a book leaves you wondering for endless chapters. it just kept moving while still keeping the integrity of the whole story.

Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I have not. She did a great job though. Any time I listen to a new narrator, I right off think they are horrible just because they are unfamiliar, then as we move forward, I become accustomed to their voice. No narrator is perfect, and it gets kind if annoying reading reviews where people dissect one.

Any additional comments?

Loved the length. I really appreciate being able to get the most bang for my buck. Loved this book amd look forward to the entire series.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

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

So much for "if you like Gabaldon"

I kept getting recommendations for this book saying "if you liked the Outlander series, you'll like this!" No. This book is a rather juvenile attempt at being real historical fiction that gets tangled up in its Mary Sue's ripped bodice. I kept hoping it would get better. There was one part of about 3 hours where they were actually in the wilderness that was interesting, but on a whole that wasn't enough to save it. The only genuinely shocking bit was when Gabaldon's characters briefly popped up in a bit of back story. It was confirmation to what I had suspected the whole time: someone trying to imitate Gabaldon and falling way short of the mark. Their appearance solidified my decision on the book reminding me (painfully) of everything Donati's characters weren't: interesting, compelling, complicated, and imperfect. What they are is flat. Reviews I read before spending my precious one credit a month indicated that this series started rpugh and the author grew into it. I hope that is the case, but I will not be sticking around long enough to see if it's true.

50 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Into the Wilderness

I have listened to 216 books since becoming a member in 2001. Out of the Wilderness is at the top of my list. The production and narration is outstanding of this very well written book, looking forward to the next in the series.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy
  • South Beloit, IL, United States
  • 10-04-09

GREAT READ!

I LOVED THIS BOOK ! As one review stated, it reminds me of the Outlander series. I wonder how many noticed that Claire and James Fraser (from the Outlander series) were mentioned in "Into the Wilderness" story. I loved that little sneaky item. The story drags you into the story and you feel like you know each person personally. I vowed never to spend 2 credits on a book, but I am so glad that I did for this one......it was well worth it. I can't wait to continue on with the series. Thank you Sara Donati.........keep 'em coming !

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maria
  • Oscoda, MI, United States
  • 01-02-16

Terrific! Listened nearly the entire way through!

I loved this book! I don't know how I've gone so long without reading this series. It was enjoyable the entire way through, and I almost listened non-stop. I can't believe there are several more in the series, and am looking forward to downloading all of them. Sara Donati is brilliant in her writing, with enough action and dialog to keep it interesting and moving along at just the perfect pace. Oh, and for all you Outlander fans out there, you'll get a kick out of the Claire and Jamie Fraser reference. That was fun! I kept picturing Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary, from Downton Abbey) as Elizabeth Middleton. I hope this gets turned into a TV series or movie someday. It's brilliant! I highly recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction and Americana.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • Sutton, Australia
  • 04-23-17

Fantastic Book

It was a wonderful escape and offered a very accurate and adventurous perspective of fiction and history, mixed together in an articulate and lovely manner. While there are some minor grammatical errors I noticed, this didn't stop me from really liking the book.
I am also an Outlander fan, which is why I tried this book out. It's not as nuanced as Diana's writing, (in my opinion), but if you're looking for a pleasurable and relaxing listen, I'd recommend this. It's very easy, makes you think about history, and extends a voice to First Nations' way of life too. I try not to directly compare authors or their books, as that can be detrimental to the experience of reading said book.
Basically, you'll either like this and read it through, or you'll not care for it, and put it aside. For some readers, it will depend on how much comparison you weigh it with Outlander. In my personal opinion, Diana's books are such saga-like, rare, unique, and rich pieces of literature, that it's hard to compare most books in the similar genre to them. Whatever you choose, I wish you happiness in your listening!

Kate Reading was outstanding with the delivery of the story

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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

Slower than Heinz Ketchup

What would have made Into the Wilderness better?

It would have been improved by hiring an editor.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I thought this was "historical fiction". Turns out it's a romance novel with some history thrown in.

Any additional comments?

It is so plodding and slow, it's maddening! I am only about half-way through and not sure I'll get to the end (and that has only happened once before).

This author seems to believe that you should never say something in ten words, when you can do it in a thousand. There is so much beating around the bush, it's enough to drive one mad. For example, one character is supposed to be making a revelation to another and it just goes on and on and on, and stops before it's actually revealed (maybe all of this "extra padding" is supposed to create tension, but it was simply irritating to this listener) because this excruciating sequence, you hear about the sound of birds fluttering, what the air smells like, how one can see a vein throbbing on the other's temple, or see a muscle twitch, etc, etc... Many times I found myself saying, "For cryin' out loud, stop rambling and get to the point!".

I'm not a lover of romance novels, and felt deceived here. I, too, read the comparisons to the "Outlander" series, but I believe we're talking apples and oranges here. While Outlander featured a love story, this one is first and foremost a love story, and took forever discussing kisses and "wanting" and kisses and more "wanting".

It says something when the heroine waits for weeks for her hero to return with very important news which will heavily impact upon their future together, and when he finally does return and she anxiously asks happened, he convinces her that they can talk about it later, after the "wanting" is satisfied. She goes along with this, because, well, what could be more important than yet more fluttery kisses and him being "in the center of her"? Just mush.

Ugh.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Outlander Series - it is not

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I purchased this book because of the reviewers who said it reminded them of the Outlander Series. I disagree. It is a historical novel and there is a love affair, but that's as close as it gets. I don't know how to explain it - other than, i could listen to the Outlander series over and over. I don't want to listen to this book again. The characters did not come alive for me. Perhaps if I hadn't read the Outlander series first or didn't go into this book - thinking it was a Outlander want-a-be, I might feel differently.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Beverly
  • West Point, GA, USA
  • 04-09-10

Could not stop listening

Started the audiobook upon my departure to my vacation spot 5 hours away. Listened in the apartment, at the grocers, on the beach, during daily bike rides, just could not put it down. Wasn't even tempted to go shopping, just wanted to hear this story! Saved tons of money! I didn't even watch TV. Great book! Just downloaded the second audiobook in this series! Well written, extremely well read!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Melissa
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 06-14-10

Good, if you miss the Outlander series

...but not worth 2 credits, especially the ones that follow.

Obvious borrowing is really distracting, from the Gabaldon series (the hanging scene in a later book in the series and names from Cooper and Gabaldon) and details that are interesting but don't add to the story (like including Burns as exciseman and poet but not AT ALL necessary to the plot) are distracting.

It's like an historical epic that might be better abridged than unabridged. It lacks the wit and complexity of Gabaldon's Outlander series, but it has adventures on sea and land, and it is--for the most part--historically accurate.

I admit, I stopped listening to the author's notes at the end, so it is possible that the factual/timeline errors are addressed.

That said, I did listen to them all and I enjoyed them; yet I'm sorry I paid two credits for the rest after listening to the first novel; not because I begrudge the credits, I love audio books and would happily pay two credits for many of the audiobooks I have purchased, but not this series.


15 of 19 people found this review helpful