First, let me say why I picked up this book. I always see the newest book (The Endless Forest) at the library and it has a pretty cover. I know, I know… don’t just a book by it’s cover. But it’s worked pretty well for me in the past. Anyways, then I was in a used bookstore one day when I saw this book, Into the Wilderness, for $1. And if you look above on the cover, see who wrote a blurb praising the book? Diana Gabaldon, my absolutely favorite author. So, I bought it – if Diana likes it, then it must be pretty good. But it sat on my shelf for a few months, and THEN I read online that Ian, Claire, and Jamie from the Outlander series actually make an appearance in the book. So, I started reading it the next day.
Also, this is like a continuation of The Last of the Mohicans. The son of Hawkeye and Cora is Nathaniel Bonner, the main male character in this book.
Elizabeth Middleton comes to New York in 1792 from England. She’s looking forward to living out her spinsterhood with her father and brother, and starting a school. Her father, however, has different plans – he wants to marry her off to the local doctor, Richard Todd. If she does, he’ll give her a lot of land, including the local mountain, which would then all become her husband’s. She doesn’t want to marry at all, but when she meets Nathaniel Bonner, who lives up the mountain with the natives, she starts to change her mind… especially when she learns what Todd has in store for the mountain if it becomes his.
The romance between Nathaniel and Elizabeth is really sweet. In a lot of ways, this story is a lot like other stories – the prissy but admirable lady falling in love with someone “inappropriate”, but I love those stories. And Elizabeth is a hell of a female character – she’s smart and stubborn, and refuses to bend to the will of the men around her. She has a razor-sharp tongue and wit, and I loved watching her use it against pig-headed people. She’s tough too – she certainly proves that she’s up to the task of living in the woods with the Kahnyen’kehaka. I really like reading about the Mohawks (and the Scots, a little bit). Nathaniel is everything the male hero should be – smart, tough, and kind with a sense of humor. There was a lot of action and drama, and though this book was a hefty 876 pages, I flew through it in less than 2 days.
All in all, I loved this first book and I’m already enjoying the second. It’s engaging and fascinating, with great characters. And it’s the perfect substitute if you’re missing and craving the Outlander series.
5 stars 🙂