Title: "Dawn on a Distant Shore”
Author: Sara Donati
Genre(s): historical fiction, historical romance
Part of a Series: Yes, 2nd book
Why I read it: Because I adored “Into the Wilderness.”
Summary: Settled in their home in Lake in the Clouds, Nathaniel and Elizabeth believe their adventures are behind them.They turn their focus on their family: Hannah, Nathaniel’s daughter from his first marriage, and their newborn twins Daniel and Lily. But when it is revealed Nathaniel is a distant relative to a Scottish lord, their lives are turned upside again. The children are kidnapped and the Bonners must trust some shady characters in order to pursue them across the ocean to Scotland. What awaits them on the distant shore?
Review: Sara Donati continues the story of the Bonner family in this exciting sequel. When the reader thinks the Bonner will have some time to be happy, Donati sends the family on an adventure that keeps you gripped from cover to cover.
Many people compare Donati to Gabaldon—and I’ve seen the phrase “Just Outlander fanfiction” bandied about as well—and I’m sure her decision to set it in Scotland didn’t help. But novels set in Scotland have become very popular since “Outlander” was published. There’s just something about a man in a kilt. And late 18th/early 19th century Scotland was a place of political intrigue. So it’s understandable that authors are drawn to it.
Once again, Donati uses her world-building and description skills to build interesting places. From Paradise to Quebec to the ships to Carryack. All are fully realized settings with a host of great characters. In this book, Hannah becomes more of a main character than a supporting character. She is a bright, inquisitive child who takes a liking to the ship’s doctor. She is fascinated by medicine and becomes his student. In Scotland, she is the one who gathers quite a bit of information through her friendship with Jennet, a young girl in Carryack about her age.
Jennet is a great addition as well. She’s energetic and a handy guide for the Bonners. Young and small, she manages to go places unnoticed. With Jennet, Donati finds a clever way to use her research and not make it sound like she’s writing a history paper. And the mystery in Scotland keeps the reader riveted.
Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s relationship grows stronger in this book as they race after their missing children. Sometimes it seems difficult to keep the romance going after the happily-ever-after of the first book. But Donati manages it. She makes it so the reader feels their anguish over losing their children. And how they work together as a unit to rescue them, leaning on each other for support.
Bottom line: A very good follow-up to a very good book.
Sex: A few scenes here or there.
Do sequels more often live up to the original or fail to make the grade?