Title: “Lake in the Clouds”
Author: Sara Donati
Genre(s): historical fiction, historical romance
Part of a Series: Yes, 3rd book
Why I read it: Because I’m addicted to this series.
Summary: Set a few years after the second book, the Bonners have weathered some losses. But the twins have grown into rambunctious children and Hannah is on the cusp of adulthood. She travels down to Manhattan to stay with Elizabeth’s relatives and train as a doctor at the Pine-Cox Institute. She not only experiences intolerance and bigotry for who she is, but she also sees how society treats the people who go to the clinics: immigrants, slaves, etc. When she returns to Paradise, she debates about where her place in the world is.
Paradise has seen problems as well. A runway slave needs help getting to freedom and her presence brings back Liam Kirby, who ran away at the end of the last book. He’s a bounty hunter now and still carrying a torch for Hannah. But she doesn’t return his feelings and Liam continues his search. Hannah is soon distracted by an epidemic settling over the town just as her uncle arrives with a friend from the West. Change is coming to Paradise and Lake in the Clouds. How will the family handle it?
Review: You’ll notice this book lost half a star from its predecessors. And there are two main reasons why.
Like “Dawn on a Distant Shore,” Donati tells multiple stories in “Lake in the Cloud.” Here though, it doesn’t work as well. Especially with the alternating chapters. It feels like you get drawn into one story when BAM! you’re in another one. And then BAM! back to the other story. It got difficult to become invested until all the action returned to Paradise. And the story featuring Elizabeth and Nathaniel seemed tacked on, as if Sara Donati wanted them to be front and center and not ready to turn over the story to another character, namely Hannah.
Yes, this is Hannah’s story. This is her coming-of-age story, her journey into adulthood. Which includes a romance, the other reason I rated this lower than its predecessors. I was not a fan of the romance. I do not want to get into too much detail due to spoilers. But I found it was rushed and did not feel Hannah was in love.
Otherwise, Hannah’s journey is fascinating for the readers. We met her as a young girl and now we get to see her grow up. We get to see the woman she becomes and see if our dreams for her do come true. Or if she goes on to something greater than we thought. Hannah is like our own child. And we probably all have our answers to the question Hannah must answer for herself: Where does she belong? In the white world? In the “red” world? Neither?
Donati does give us a glimpse into Martha Kuick’s life, our antagonist. It makes her interesting if still a bit infuriating. She’s an entitled person, who believes she should be given something without having to work for it. Any work she does do is not legitimate, namely blackmail. She also has an intense hatred for Hannah, probably because Hannah represents everything Martha doesn’t have: a loving home life, intelligence, opportunities, attention from men, etc. It is quite a change, in my opinion, but a good one.
Bottom line: Another good book though with a few problems.
Sex: A few scenes here or there. There is also a same-sex scene as well.
Have you ever read a romance where you didn’t like the pairing? Why?