THE ENDLESS FOREST by Sara Donati

Book Quote:

“She slipped around to the rear door. She knew which steps creaked, and how to slip the latch so quietly that no one — not even her father with his hearing like a bat — would know.

Once in the hall she had little choice. The only place she could be sure of hearing them talk was the cloakroom, which opened onto both classrooms.  She  hesitated for less than a heartbeat before she made up her mind.

Jennet said, “Well, is this no a fine mess? What a good thing Daniel kept Martha behind. Jemima willna dare step foot on Hidden Wolf.”

Book Review:

Review by Katherine Petersen (MAR 20, 2010)

When Sara Donati, a pseudonym used by Rosina Lippi, first introduced us to the Bonners, it was 1792 in Into the Wilderness, the first book of her epic Wilderness series. Five books later, she gives readers the final book of the series, The Endless Forest, set 32 years from the first. Readers who have not followed the series from its inception might enjoy the story, but the book will have more meaning and answer more questions for readers who have grown to know and love the Bonners since the beginning.

The action takes place in 1824 in Paradise, N.Y., the village at the edge of the endless forest that is home to the Bonner clan. Lily and her husband, Simon, have come home from Italy and Martha, one of Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s two wards, has returned from Manhattan. Lots of early spring rain has caused flooding in Paradise, and many families have lost homes, property and kin. On the heels of this disaster, Jemima Southern, the one woman despised by nearly every resident, returns to town. Is she after Callie Wilde’s apple orchards or the money Liam Kirby left his daughter, Martha upon his death? Knowing she has nothing good in mind, the Bonners take measures to protect their wards as best they can.

Daniel, one of the Bonner twins badly injured in the war, comes out of his shell when he sees childhood friend Martha again and begins to think that happiness might be possible for a one-armed man. We also meet Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s youngest child, Birdie, who is 10 going on 25 as she feels she belongs in Daniel and Lily’s generation even though she’s less than a year older than her oldest cousin. Caught between the “little people” and the adults, she steadfastly makes adult business her own while still caring for her charges. Smart and inquisitive, she loves helping her sister, Hannah as she treats patients.

With all the children in Paradise, there are too many characters for the complex and often dangerous storylines of earlier novels. It’s true that murder, heartbreak, revenge and other mayhem doesn’t lurk at each turn of the page in this final novel, but Donati’s fans will be pleased to spend as much time with old friends as they can. As with other books in this series, what resonates most are multi-dimensional characters, the depth of true friendship and loyalty that strengthens family bonds. Whether it’s adventurous Birdie sneaking around to hear adult conversations or the peacefulness of Sunday afternoon get-togethers, Donati’s flowing prose rings with sincerity.

Vivid descriptions abound, but at its heart, this book, and the series as a whole, are about people. Reading The Endless Forest is more akin to visiting with old friends than reading a novel, and while I understand that all series must come to an end at some point, I will miss this family, their generosity, their lessons and their love for each other.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 31 readers
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press (January 19, 2010)
REVIEWER: Katherine Petersen
AMAZON PAGE: The Endless Forest
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Sara Donati
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Same time period:

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt

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March 20, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, NE & New York

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