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, she soon finds herself locked in conflict with the local slave owners as well as her own family.
When I first heard of Into The Wilderness I must confess I was a bit doubtful that it was the book for me. It was presented as a sequel to The Last of The Mohicans and usually the sequels are a bit (or a lot) of a letdown (it isn't exactly a sequel though as the events take place quite a few years after TLoTM and only some of the same characters appear). However Marg was so sure about it and recommended it so well that I ended up putting it in the TBR pile and this weekend I finally read it. And I am very happy that I did.
This is the story of Elizabeth Middleton who travels to the New World to meet her father and become a school teacher. Her father has other ideas though and wants to see her well married with one of his neighbours, Richard Todd, whose primary interest is Elizabeth's dowry - the mountain Hidden Wolf. But Elizabeth has other ideas, not only wants she be independent but she is also attracted to Nathaniel Bonner, Cora and Hawkeye's son, who lives with his family in the mountain and has his own reasons to dislike the Richard. To help Nathaniel gain what he wants Elizabeth must plot to apparently to her father's wishes till the moment is right to show her hand.
But there's a lot more to like than just Elizabeth and Nathaniel's story. There's the vivid portrayal of the native way of life and the settlers way of life. The tension in their relationship and the problems faced by those who live between both worlds.
I think the best thing about the story is Donati's vivid descriptions and complex characters, you really feel transported to that world for the space of the reading and when it closes you really want to know what is going to happen next with the characters. Fans of Diana Gabaldon will be happy to know that her famous characters are mentioned in the space of a page.