October 06, 2011

Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati

I think this is my favorite book of the series so far. As a recap (and spoiler if you haven't read the first few books) Elizabeth was a spinster woman who came to America to teach school. However, she meets Nathaniel Bonner and falls in love and together they must elope and find a way to restore property back to its rightful owners, the Mahican. When this has settled they are inexplicably rushed to Scotland to rescue their twins who have been kidnapped. An earl there wants an heir and Nathaniel's son could be it. It leaves with Nathaniel discovering a long lost son who decides to go in his place and they return home to America.

This book has to deal with runaway slaves, smallpox, and other adventures. When Hannah (Nathaniel's daughter) and Elizabeth find a sickly runaway in the woods that is linked to Curiosity (another character in all three books) they know they have to help her gain her freedom and get to Canada. Hannah though is being sent by the local doctor Richard Todd to study in New York on how to give smallpox vaccinations. Though she is half Indian and a woman, she is regarded as a curiosity in New York and allowed to continue her studies. She brings the method back to Paradise with her to inoculate the people there. But unfortunately no one is ever content to let everybody bring happy and strife and lawsuits soon come along.

Donati's writing is always very clear. Luckily in this book she returns to explaining what some of her accents and different languages mean instead of leading it to the reader to try to figure out. There is plenty of description and once again it is written in the third person.

Most of the story is told about Nathaniel's daughter, Hannah, this time. I really like her character and actually enjoy hearing about her more than I do the rest of the Bonners. To be honest, I can't stand the twins. I feel that they were just used as a filler and not very fleshed out by Donati. Elizabeth and Nathaniel take a back seat in this book so their characters are also a little faded away.

Regardless though, it was an interesting book and a good look at what happened in the times back then. The issues of slavery and disease are ones that everyone is familiar with. I definitely recommend this book.

Lake in the Clouds
Copyright 2002
610 pages

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