Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: The Endless Forest by Sara Donati

Blurb: In the spring of 1824, in the remote village of Paradise on the New York frontier, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner celebrate a glorious reunion as their children return from far-off places: Lily and her husband from Italy, and Martha Kirby, the Bonners' ward from Manhattan. In the peace that follows a devastating flood, childhood friends Martha and Daniel, Lily's twin brother, suddenly begin to see each other in a new light. But their growing bond is threatened when Martha's estranged mother arrives back in Paradise. Jemima Southern is a dangerous schemer who has destroyed more than one family, and her anger touches everyone, as do her secrets. Has Jemima come to claim her daughter - or does she have other, darker motives? Whatever transpires, Martha, Daniel and all the Bonners must stand united against the threats to both heart and home.

Sara Donati's The Endless Forest is the sixth and final book in her Wilderness series and it is just as entertaining and exciting as the first one. This is one of my favourite series of books and since it has finally come to an end, I really tried to savour this last book. This has been a journey of epic proportions. Over the books and over the years I have watched all my favourite characters develop and grow into someone wonderful and unique. Sometimes I really feel like I know these people!

The blurb perfectly sums up this book. The entire Bonner Clan (and they are a huge clan!) have come home to Hidden Wolf; each bringing their own problems and hopes for the future. The previous novel ended in 1815, so this story has jumped forward 9 years. I'm often nervous when books jump into the future. I'm afraid everything will have changed too much. This is not the case; everything was different but also exactly the same. I felt like I was meeting up with old friends; it was easy and comforting. There were plenty of new characters, including Birdie, Nathaniel and Elizabeth's unexpected child.

I was swept away by the romance between Daniel and Martha. They way Daniel teased poor, shy Martha had me laughing out loud. Daniel is such a strong and interesting character. Having severely injured his arm in the war of 1812, Daniel spiralled into a depression and became isolated from his family. But here we see him as a man who has come to terms with his injury and the fact that he cannot shoot a rifle. He has come out of his shell and is stronger in so many other ways. Martha, and Callie too, are not on the same level as Hannah, Jennet and Elizabeth. They aren't quite as strong and independent as the other women in the Bonner family. But I loved them anyway.

Overall I thought it was a spectacular and beautiful finish to a wonderful series. BUT I did have one problem; the epilogue. It is one of the most unique epilogues I have come across in a while but I wasn't ready for what it said. *Mild Spoiler coming up* I of course know, that all people eventually die of old age or illness. The story ended with me feeling happy and satisfied until I read the Epilogue, which spans across about 20 years. Of course some of the older characters have died. I feel it was unnecessary to include this information. It ruined the ending of the book for me. I was left feeling bereft. If, like me, you like characters to live on in your imagination, then skip the epilogue.

Despite this, I adore the series and the final book lived up to my expectations. So 5 out of 5 stars; no question about it.


  1. Beautiful cover art, and a wonderful review you have written! I don't know if I will be picking this series up from book 1, but your enthusiasm informs us that it is worth reading! Rae

  2. Ah the dreaded epilogue. They can really spoil a book can't they? I'm really hesitant to read them now for the exact reasons you've mentioned. Time will go on and it's inevitable that people pass away but it's not the best way to end a beloved book! Great review Lucy. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. This is a gorgeous cover. I haven't read any of the books in this series, so I won't be reading this one just yet. I better go give book #1 a try.

    Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :)

  4. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition