Review Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati
What will we do to squeeze in time for our cherished historical sagas? I’m finally getting back to the WILDERNESS series by Sara Donati. What’s on your mountain?
Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati
Book 3 of the Wilderness series.
ISBN-13: 978-0553582796 | Review Rated: 5 out of 5 Stars
Print version read from the TBR Mountain Range purchased by me.
Many years ago, I read INTO THE WILDERNESS by Sara Donati. Then, I read DAWN ON A DISTANT SHORE by Sara Donati as soon as I could get my greedy hands on it. Have you ever read a novel that you loved so much that you were afraid to read the next one? That’s how I felt, waiting for LAKE IN THE CLOUDS to be published. I wanted it, yet I was afraid to read it for fear that I wouldn’t find more books like it when I was done.
I knew I’d need all the books before I dared read another, or I’d start that search all over again for historicals that wouldn’t meet my expectations. I just kept adding the WILDERNESS series to my TBR Mountain Range until I had them all to read back-to-back. Why do I enjoy them so much? I think it’s the historical time period and how the struggles of that time are met by bold characters who are not afraid to challenge themselves for their beliefs and desires.
Another reason that I love them is that they’re huge books. There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than immersing myself into a descriptive historical. Years ago when I started the series, I never read a historical novel less than 600 pages. The number of pages within a historical novel usually determines whether I buy it or not. I do read shorter historicals because they fit in with my hectic lifestyle, but I have never lost my craving for my treasured “saga tomes” as I lovingly call them. I love the depth that you can get with a large historical book.
I have a habit of stockpiling 600 plus page historical novels for that “someday” when I have more time to read them. Last year, I finally discovered that I can read two or three books at once without confusion, if I don’t genre cross. No more waiting for time to read large historicals ‒ I’ll just squeeze them in-between my contemporary and paranormal reads. I read LAKE IN THE CLOUDS during my fifteen minutes to a half hour bedtime reading last fall. It was a long process reading it like that but I didn’t want to rush, so I read a few minutes each night, savoring every detail until I finished it. Of course, sometimes I’d forget what I read and have to go backwards so it’s not my preferred way to read a historical, but I just couldn’t wait any longer! So good!
Being able to travel along with some of the same characters throughout the WILDERNESS series is like visiting with old friends. Sara Donati writes a colorful novel that takes you on a historical journey with her characters as your guide. You can’t help but love them, as well as hope that the villains will get what they justly deserve. The world comes alive and personally, I can picture it as if it were my own.
LAKE IN THE CLOUDS was everything I’d hoped for and I was surprised by how easily the details from the previous two books came back without re-reading. I’m sure my enjoyment would have been enhanced had I re-read the first two books, but it’s a tribute to how much I enjoyed them to have the details come back so readily.
I especially enjoyed the focus on Hannah, who is half Native American, and her training as a healer in LAKE IN THE CLOUDS. Hannah has to face prejudice against women working in the medical field when it’s a white male dominated calling during the early 1800s. She has professional backing and encouragement, but there are still those who scoff at her abilities. Her Native American looks and being female are just two obstacles she faces. Her involvement with a runaway slave adds more suspense and emotions of the times. Add in a man who suits her perfectly, as well as challenges her, and Hannah has much to contend with as she grows into a woman.
This novel’s underlying message of treating people as equals is especially poignant for this time period. I especially liked the idea that the Bonners gather all people to them, forming a community based on their relationships rather than race or where they’ve come from. There are plenty who don’t believe in the Bonner family’s outlook, so even if it does sound Utopian in theory, they don’t give in when tested. Their heartache is easily felt when their lives intertwine with others, even when they know becoming involved might risk their lives or the lives of their families. Expect to shed a few tears because I found many of their struggles emotionally riveting.
Sara Donati’s WILDERNESS series is so vivid that you can’t help but picture it as if you’re watching THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS movie. When an author can make me see their books as a movie while I’m reading them, then I know I’ve found books that will stay with me for a lifetime.
Now I’m ready to move on to book four, FIRE ALONG THE SKY, and savor it for as long as possible. Heartfelt thanks to Sara Donati for giving us such an engrossing series to anticipate and appreciate. I just wish I had more time to devote to the series so that I could hurry to the end and then start the books all over again!