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Into the Wildernessby Sara Donati
Synopses & Reviews
"I have a question for you."
"Yes, Mr. Bonner?" She did not raise her head.
"Will you please say my name?" he said with an intensity which caused gooseflesh to rise on her arms.
She hesitated. "Nathaniel."
"Look at me and say my name."
Elizabeth looked up slowly.
Nathaniel saw in her face an overwhelming confusion. He saw that she had never stood like this with a man, that she had never imagined doing so, and that she was flustered and even a bit frightened, but not unhappy to be here with him.
"What did you want to ask me?"
"How old are you?"
Elizabeth blinked. "Twenty-nine."
"You've never been kissed, have you?" The white cloud of his breath reached out to touch her face. His hands jerked at his sides but he kept them where they were. Now she would tell him to mind his own business, and he could put this woman out of his head.
"Why?" said Elizabeth, raising her eyes to his with a critical but composed look. "Do you intend to kiss me?"
Nathaniel pulled up abruptly and laughed. "The thought crossed my mind."
Her eyes narrowed.
"Why do you want to kiss me?"
"Well," Nathaniel said, inclining his head. "You seem set on going back to England, and the Mahicans say that you should never return from a journey the same person."
"How very thoughtful of you," she said dryly. "How benevolent. But please, do not discommode yourself, on my account." She began to turn away, but Nathaniel caught her by the upper arm.
"Now I, for one, hope you don't rush off," he said. "But I want to kiss you, either way."
"Do you?" she said tersely. "Perhaps I don't want to kiss you."
Elizabeth was afraid to look at Nathaniel directly, for how could he not see the doubt on her face, and the curiosity? And what would that mean, to let him know what she really thought, how confusing this all was to her? To tell a man what she was truly thinking--this was a thought more frightening than any kiss could be.
"I didn't mean to get you mad," Nathaniel said softly.
"What did you mean to do, then? Have some fun at my expense, but not so much that I would actually notice that you were making a fool of me?"
"No," he said, and Elizabeth was relieved to see all trace of teasing leave his face. "I'd like to see the man who could make a fool of you. I meant to kiss you, because I wanted to. But if you don't like the idea--"
She pulled away from him, her face blazing white. "I never said that. You don't know what I want." Then, finally, she blushed, all her frustration and anger pouring out in pools of color which stained her cheeks bluish-gray in the faint light of the winter moon.
"So," Nathaniel said, a hint of his smile returning. "You do want to kiss me."
"I want you to stop talking the matter to death," Elizabeth said irritably. "If you hadn't noticed, you are embarrassing me. Perhaps you don't know much about England--I don't know why you should, after all--but let me tell you that there's a reason I am twenty-nine
After Elizabeth Middleton leaves England to join her father and brother in the remote mountain village of Paradise, New York, she does so with a strong will and an unwavering purpose: to teach school.
Weaving a tapestry of fact and fiction, Sara Donati’s epic novel sweeps us into another time and place…and into a breathtaking story of love and survival in a land of savage beauty.
It is December of 1792. Elizabeth Middleton leaves her comfortable English estate to join her family in a remote New York mountain village. It is a place unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man unlike any she has ever encountered—a white man dressed like a Native American: Nathaniel Bonner, known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives. Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village, Elizabeth soon finds herself locked in conflict with the local slave owners as well as with her own family. Interweaving the fate of the Mohawk Nation with the destiny of two lovers, Sara Donati’s compelling novel creates a complex, profound, passionate portait of an emerging America.
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