• Into the Wilderness

  • A Novel
  • By: Sara Donati
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 30 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,612 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Into the Wilderness  By  cover art

Into the Wilderness

By: Sara Donati
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $49.00

Buy for $49.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Weaving a vibrant tapestry of fact and fiction, Into the Wilderness sweeps us into another time and place...and into the heart of a forbidden, incandescent affair between a spinster Englishwoman and an American frontiersman. Here is an epic of romance and history that will captivate listeners from the start.  

When Elizabeth Middleton, 29 years old and unmarried, leaves her Aunt Merriweather's comfortable English estate to join her father and brother in the remote mountain village of Paradise on the edge of the New York wilderness, she does so with a strong will and an unwavering purpose: to teach school.

It is December of 1792 when she arrives in a cold climate unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man different from any she has ever encountered - a white man dressed like a Native American, tall and lean and unsettling in his blunt honesty. He is Nathaniel Bonner, also known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives.

Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village - White, Black, and Native American - Elizabeth soon finds herself at odds with local slave owners. Much to her surprise, she clashes with her own father as well. Financially strapped, Judge Middleton has plans for his daughter - betrothal to local doctor Richard Todd. An alliance with Todd could extract her father from ruin but would call into question the ownership of Hidden Wolf, the mountain where Nathaniel, his father, and a small group of Native Americans live and hunt.

As Judge Middleton brings pressure to bear against his daughter, she is faced with a choice between compliance and deception, a flight into the forest, and a desire that will bend her hard will to compromise and transformation.

Elizabeth's ultimate destiny, here in the heart of the wilderness, lies in the odyssey to come: trials of faith and flesh, and passion born amid Nathaniel's own secrets and divided soul.

Interweaving the fate of the remnants of the Mohawk Nation with the destiny of two lovers, Sara Donati's compelling novel creates a complex, profound, passionate portrait of an emerging America.

©2009 Sara Donati (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"My favorite kind of book is the sort you live in, rather than read. Into the Wilderness is one of those rare stories that let you breathe the air of another time, and leave your footprints on the snow of a wild, strange place. I can think of no better adventure than to explore the wilderness in the company of such engaging and independent lovers as Elizabeth and her Nathaniel." (Diana Gabaldon)
"Each time you open a book you hope to discover a story that will make your spirit of adventure and romance sing. This book delivers on that promise." (Amanda Quick)

What listeners say about Into the Wilderness

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,866
  • 4 Stars
    1,109
  • 3 Stars
    403
  • 2 Stars
    136
  • 1 Stars
    98
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,804
  • 4 Stars
    748
  • 3 Stars
    262
  • 2 Stars
    64
  • 1 Stars
    63
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,447
  • 4 Stars
    912
  • 3 Stars
    379
  • 2 Stars
    118
  • 1 Stars
    83

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

So much for "if you like Gabaldon"

I kept getting recommendations for this book saying "if you liked the Outlander series, you'll like this!" No. This book is a rather juvenile attempt at being real historical fiction that gets tangled up in its Mary Sue's ripped bodice. I kept hoping it would get better. There was one part of about 3 hours where they were actually in the wilderness that was interesting, but on a whole that wasn't enough to save it. The only genuinely shocking bit was when Gabaldon's characters briefly popped up in a bit of back story. It was confirmation to what I had suspected the whole time: someone trying to imitate Gabaldon and falling way short of the mark. Their appearance solidified my decision on the book reminding me (painfully) of everything Donati's characters weren't: interesting, compelling, complicated, and imperfect. What they are is flat. Reviews I read before spending my precious one credit a month indicated that this series started rpugh and the author grew into it. I hope that is the case, but I will not be sticking around long enough to see if it's true.

79 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Into the Wilderness

I have listened to 216 books since becoming a member in 2001. Out of the Wilderness is at the top of my list. The production and narration is outstanding of this very well written book, looking forward to the next in the series.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

NOT OUTLANDER!!!

I read in the description that this book was similar to the Outlander series, and the first book was good, not great, but good. Then I bought the second thinking maybe it will be better, OH HOW WRONG I WAS! The second book was just bad, hard to believe and I had to try very hard to get through it. I do not recommend this series, and if your buying it because you loved outlander, dont expect Jamie and Claire, the characters are lacking, and 2 dimensional, and kinda wimpy and whiny.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful surprise

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book more than I expected to. People said if you like Outlander then you'll like this, but I'm not sure why because it's totally different. I guess maybe because its a well written historical fiction?

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the rapidity of the story so you werent sitting hanging to any storyline too long. I hate when a book leaves you wondering for endless chapters. it just kept moving while still keeping the integrity of the whole story.

Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I have not. She did a great job though. Any time I listen to a new narrator, I right off think they are horrible just because they are unfamiliar, then as we move forward, I become accustomed to their voice. No narrator is perfect, and it gets kind if annoying reading reviews where people dissect one.

Any additional comments?

Loved the length. I really appreciate being able to get the most bang for my buck. Loved this book amd look forward to the entire series.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Only Worth Reading for Background on Future Books

I tried to read this book a few years ago. I quit because it seemed to be so unoriginal and blatantly commercial. The author borrowed one of her primary characters from James Fenimore Cooper's "Last of the Mohicans" and also brought in characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, all of which said to me that the author was so unsure of her own ability to write a book people would like on its own merits, that she resorted to gimmicks to attract an audience. And as I read a little about the author, including her own words from her own website, I read nothing that convinced me her book was nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on others success. She seemed to have a real chip on her shoulder about other's success.

However, several months ago I purchased "The Gilded Hour" because the time period attracted me and I failed to note the author until I'd already purchased. I read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised. This made me decide to give her earlier series another chance. Especially because "The Gilded Hour" follows a later generation of the characters in "Into the Wilderness."

This time I made it through. "Into the Wilderness" is not a great book. There are moments when it is good. Much of the storyline makes little sense or is implausible at best, and her historical research is weak. Donati tries too hard in this book. And she fails to follow the one rule that is critical when you are at the beginning of a long book that is part of a longer series following the same characters. You have to take the time for the reader to get to know the characters as themselves. And you can't do this when they are thrown from crisis to crisis and constantly in danger from somewhere. There needs to be some downtime, where they lead normal lives without catastrophe hovering about. My guess is it is hard to write that kind of scene into a book and make it interesting to the reader, but good writers of sagas do it well. Donati did not.

Nevertheless, there was something appealing about the book and I not only finished it, I moved on and read the rest of the series. I was very happy that I did.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

GREAT READ!

I LOVED THIS BOOK ! As one review stated, it reminds me of the Outlander series. I wonder how many noticed that Claire and James Fraser (from the Outlander series) were mentioned in "Into the Wilderness" story. I loved that little sneaky item. The story drags you into the story and you feel like you know each person personally. I vowed never to spend 2 credits on a book, but I am so glad that I did for this one......it was well worth it. I can't wait to continue on with the series. Thank you Sara Donati.........keep 'em coming !

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

good book ..good start to the series

...A good book. This is a good start to the series. A little slow in starting but worth the wait. I was so surprised by the "Outlook Series reference", by D. Gabaldon ,in the story line. I would recommend this book to anyone.

The down side is that this is 2 credit/book and The Outlook series is only 1 credit/book( an excellent series in the same style.) Both worth the time as they are both long books and in a series. If this was 1 credit I would definitely finish this series. As I did the "Outland series." At 2 credits I have to think about it as it uses up my monthly amount and I can read it in a few days

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good, if you miss the Outlander series

...but not worth 2 credits, especially the ones that follow.

Obvious borrowing is really distracting, from the Gabaldon series (the hanging scene in a later book in the series and names from Cooper and Gabaldon) and details that are interesting but don't add to the story (like including Burns as exciseman and poet but not AT ALL necessary to the plot) are distracting.

It's like an historical epic that might be better abridged than unabridged. It lacks the wit and complexity of Gabaldon's Outlander series, but it has adventures on sea and land, and it is--for the most part--historically accurate.

I admit, I stopped listening to the author's notes at the end, so it is possible that the factual/timeline errors are addressed.

That said, I did listen to them all and I enjoyed them; yet I'm sorry I paid two credits for the rest after listening to the first novel; not because I begrudge the credits, I love audio books and would happily pay two credits for many of the audiobooks I have purchased, but not this series.


15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not Diana Gabaldon

This is the first book I have reviewed, even though I have listened to more than several hundred books. I guess it is because Donati had the temerity to make a nod to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series (with a short passage about a few of Outlander's characters). I love the Outlander series, and I appreciate the nod. In fact, my esteem for the writer of this book has risen due to this nod. However, this book is not comparable to Outlander. This book is full of "kissing," "thrusting," and "riding" — to the extent that I have quickly forwarded through these scenes to return to the plot.

In addition, I would swear this book was not written by a woman at all. I find the lead female character inconsistently intelligent, inconsistently rational, inconsistently inexperienced, and rude to her husband as a result. While she encounters new situation that challenge her world view, she does not convey this as a dillemma in a convincig manner. While Gabaldon's main character, Clair, is comprehensible in her moods, Donati's Elizabeth is an embarrassingly cliché example of female irrationality. Being female myself, I find this disappointing.

My first observation about the book was that it is, primarily, a romance novel. I like historical novels, which is the category in which I discovered this book. I also like thrillers, science, fiction, and anything that presents women in a refreshingly truthful manner (see Stieg Larsson). This book does not meet that criteria.

However, I will continue to listen to it. In addition to the fact that I can't help but be charmingly amused by Donati's reference to Outlander, I paid good money for a nice, long book. It is not the worst book I have listened to.

I think Donati has potential. I hope she can develop, as a writer, the ability to convey a deeper understanding of human and, in particular, female, issues. And of how to convey sexy scenes and other scenes without clichés and with some novelty. (Ribbons?! — ugh!)

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book

It reminded me of the Outlander books, which I'm addicted to. It was fun to have Jamie Fraser show up.

14 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for john
  • john
  • 11-26-22

Good story

A great tale of daring do,,, many adventures crammed into this novel !!A romantic tale set with the backdrop of the birth of a nation

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Margaret Lang
  • Margaret Lang
  • 08-25-22

problems listening

I have this book in paperback but decided to try it in audible form. The reader is pleasant enough but the scottish accent is, im afraid, dire. I was tempted to fast forward those parts...they are a tad cringe worthy. Anyhoo, the audible app must have agreed with me as it happily skipped over chapters repeatedly and rudely stopped playing mid sentence!!
Im not sure what was going on with the playback so i have returned the audible book and dusted off my trusty paperback.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for R Griffiths
  • R Griffiths
  • 08-04-22

At Last!!!

I have loved this book for years and had to be content with the printed version and a terribly abridged cassette. It is such a treat to have full length audio versions of this and the following books in the series, and I feel like Christmas has come early. Kate Reading is a superb narrator.
These days so few writers tell real stories and fewer write at length. The length of this book allows the reader/listener to get to know the characters and to become immersed in the story and the period. Sara Donati is a brilliant story teller and has created some wonderful characters. I especially love Robbie, Curiosity, Hannah and Otter in addition to the main players. I appreciate the nod to James Fennimore Cooper and the brief mention of characters from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander and for me Sara Donati's books outshine the latter considerably.
Thank you Audible for giving us this series.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Pia Horan-Gross
  • Pia Horan-Gross
  • 11-15-22

To sigh for!

I loved the main heroine, feisty yet vulnerable and realistically portrayed.

The plot is superbly weaved together, always holding tension and suspense. There are fascinating and credible characters in this novel, some endearing, some troublesome, who play a dramatic and impacting role in the unfolding story.

The novel gives a historical overview of the complex interactions of various people groups and their historical backgrounds in the 18th Century, in the Northern parts of what is now the USA.

Finally, it is a breathtaking and tastefully portrayed romantic love story between two unlikely characters, breaking all conventions of the day and successfully fighting to find a place to live out their passionate love for each other, their chosen tribe and lifestyle.

I listened to it twice, masterfully narrated by Kate Reading!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-14-22

Just Outstanding

Have long waited for the wilderness series to come available. Kate Reading's narration is superb. The story catches you from the first line. It is so well written it takes you into the world completely. Have listened to this book many times. Love the characters especially Curiosity.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-26-22

Great Read

I first read this a few years ago and loved it. Liken to Diana Gabaldon Outlander but with a unique slant. Audio version did not dissapoint, looking forward to No 2 in series 💖💖💖

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-22

Amazing tale of history and romance

What a great story.
Told with the right amount of empathy and historical facts.
Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this.
Narrator spoke well with nice voice changes.
Will definitely be looking for that next book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for lindsey r.
  • lindsey r.
  • 07-14-22

Love

Read this before, and just wanted to listen to it this time, excited for the rest of the series.