The Endless Forest (Wilderness Series #6)

The Endless Forest (Wilderness Series #6)

Audio CD

View All Available Formats & Editions


A rich, passionate, multilayered portrayal of family strength and endurance from bestselling author Sara Donati
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781415966150
Publisher: Random House, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/01/2010
Series: Sara Donati's Wilderness Series , #6
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.50(h) x 5.00(d)

About the Author

Sara Donati is the pen name of Rosina Lippi, a former academic and tenured university professor. Since 2000 she has been writing fiction full-time, haunting the intersection where history and storytelling meet, wallowing in nineteenth-century newspapers, magazines, street maps, and academic historical research. She is the internationally bestselling author of the Wilderness series (Into the WildernessDawn on a Distant ShoreLake in the CloudsFire Along the SkyQueen of Swords, and The Endless Forest) as well as The Gilded Hour, the first in a new series following the descendants of characters from the Wilderness series. She lives between the Cascades and Puget Sound with her husband, daughter, Jimmy Dean (a Havanese), and Max and Bella (the cats).

Read an Excerpt

1 Letters elizabeth bonner to her daughter lily ballentyne

4th day of August 1823

Dear Daughter,

This letter is overdue, I know. I hope you forgive me when you learn that I have held it back in order to share good news. Yesterday your sister Hannah was delivered of a healthy son. Both mother and child are in good health and spirits.

Your nephews Henry and John are beside themselves with joy, but the girls were disappointed. When Ben brought them in to see Hannah and meet their new brother, Amelie patted her mother on the shoulder in a consoling manner. Eliza told her to never mind, the next one was sure to be a girl.

It was all Curiosity and I could do not to laugh aloud.

It is my impression that Hannah is finished with childbearing. She said to me not so long ago that five healthy children are more than enough, though she believes Ben would cheerfully continue until they were overrun like the old woman who lived in a shoe.

You are wondering what name they have given to this newest Savard, but I have promised Birdie that she could be the one to tell.

There is quite a bit of news that will interest you. Now that Blue-Jay is remarried and settled at Lake in the Clouds we were all hoping for a peaceful autumn, but Gabriel has declared his intention to marry Annie straight away.

I must admit that I am concerned. Annie was to go to Albany to study at Mrs. Burrough’s School next month. It is my sincere belief that she deserves that opportunity, but it must be her decision. My concern right now is making it clear to Gabriel that he must be guided by her in this. And they are so very young.

Daniel is in good health and seems to have less difficulty with his arm of late, but then it is hard to know exactly. You know your twin, and will not be surprised to hear that he cloaks his feelings much of the time, and we see less of him than we would like. If it were not for his responsibilities as a teacher I suspect he would follow Robbie MacLachlan’s example and be content to live alone, far from any settlement. But he is the teacher, and a good one. Birdie finds him very strict in the classroom, but she does not claim that he is unfair.

In the village we Bonners continue as the main topic of conversation. Blue-Jay’s marriage and now the promise of Gabriel’s is of unending interest. Missy Parker—pardon me, I mean Missy O’Brien as of this winter past. I said the other day that I can never remember that she married Baldy O’Brien, and Curiosity laughed, and said that Missy must want to forget that herself.

So Missy came into the trading post while I was looking at fabric, and she told Mrs. Mayfair that the Bonners were reaping their reward for keeping such close quarters with Indians. Gabriel would be giving Mrs. Elizabeth Middleton Bonner red-skinned grandchildren and just how would she like that? Then she turned around and saw me standing there and she hopped in place, like a very plump rabbit.

I plan to have a discussion with Mrs. O’Brien. It is unacceptable for her to speak so, when any one of Hannah’s children—my grandchildren—might be close enough to hear.

Other friends are mostly well. Martha is still in Manhattan and it seems unlikely that she will ever come back here to stay. Apparently there is now a young man who calls on her. Young Callie has had more than her share of trouble. This past season she lost almost her whole crop, for the second year in a row. The season was wet, and apples are prone to rot. With Levi’s help she presses just enough applejack to survive from one harvest to the next.

Now I will pass this letter over to Birdie. Your father and I, your sisters and brothers, we all send you and Simon our love and affection.

Your mother Elizabeth Middleton Bonner

Dear sister and good brother:

Hannah and Ben have named their new son Simon. Is that not good news? Now that we have a young Simon, you must come home so old Simon can see his namesake. It would be the polite thing to do, and you know how much Ma likes it when we do the polite thing.

Some things that Ma should have writ: When I complained that if Gabriel got married and moved out of the house I’d be alone, our fine brother said that is what comes of being an After-Thought and Da said, I would call Birdie our Best Idea. So you see, if you and Simon were to come home that would be a great comfort to me.

I have finished my nine-patch quilt. I am sure I had to pick out every seam at least three times. If I never hold a needle again it will be far too soon, but Curiosity was talking about buttonholes just yesterday and giving me a look I did not like at all. I have come to think of it as her Woe-unto-thee-Birdie look. Last week Daniel showed me how to balance a knife on the palm and how to grip it properly, the first steps toward accurate throwing.

I have very little room, but Curiosity wants me to tell you that she tried her hand at that paste receipt you sent, but she fears she got it wrong. It took a prodigious amount of butter to get it down her gullet.

Your loving little sister


30 September 1823

Dear Ma and Da, dear Everyone,

I write under separate cover to congratulate my sister Hannah and her Ben on the birth of a healthy son. Simon was very honored to learn that he now has a namesake.

We are just back from a long walk in gardens at the Villa Borghese, and now I sit down to share with you the decision we have reached after many days of discussion. Simon paces the room while I write and so I will take pity on him and put down our news in plain words, as my father and mother will approve.

It is time for us to come home. It is six years this month since we left on our travels. I have done what I set out to do and more, and we are both homesick. Your coordinated siege by post has brought me to surrender, although I will miss Birdie’s letters especially.

To be very clear, I cannot promise that we will settle in Paradise permanently. Some part of this decision will depend on Luke’s interests in Canada and what role Simon may play there. I can say that we have every intention of spending at least a full year with you, and we hope much longer.

We have had a letter from Ethan with the news that there is a new house in the village near his own, one that he would like us to have for as long as we require. This means we will not have to turn Mr. and Mrs. Lefroy out from our place, something we are loath to do. And so all the pieces have come together. We plan to sail as soon as we can sell this house and settle other business matters. If all goes well we will be home before the spring thaw. Then we can sit together by the kitchen fire and tell our stories to each other. Now that the decision is made I wish I could grow wings and fly to you.

When we have booked passage I will write again with the particulars. With all our love and affection we remain your good-son & devoted daughter

Simon and Lily Ballentyne

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Endless Forest (Wilderness Series #6) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
dabeanster More than 1 year ago
As an Outlander fan, I was looking for a series to read as I wait for Diana's 8th book to be completed. This series was recommended. It is difficult to read other series after reading Diana's descriptive stories. I feel that out of all the books from this Wilderness Series, The Endless Forest is by far the BEST! I fell in love with her writing in this book-to me, Sara's writing has become more like Diana's. This could be a stand along book because Sara does go back to explain plots and characters from the previous books; however, because this is more the legacy of Elizabeth and Nathiel Booner through thier children, reading the previous books gives you deeper understanding AND CONNECTION to the characters. As the other books in the series concentrate on other children of Elizabeth and Nathaniel, this is no different. It is centered around their son Daniel and Martha. Their cute love story is refreshing and I felt that Sara has done an excellent job of developing both characters very well. It's playful and very fresh! I found myself laughing at many parts. The other children and thier spouses are mentioned but are minor characters - Lily & Simon (who I loved in Fire Along the Sky), Jennet & Luke, Ben (Hannah's husband). Their subplots are in the background. The youngest sister of Daniel, Birdie, is well developed in this book-I wonder if Sara does write a 7th book if it will be about Birdie.... Sara does include an Epilogue of articles and notices from a newspaper that Elizabeth eventually brings to the village. It expands 20 years and you find out what happens to the bonner clan. It does end the series well, but it also leaves room for more and possibly another book. All and all, if you love the Bonner clan you will love this book. It is my favorite of the series.
Jamie Eggleston More than 1 year ago
Sara donate is amazing. Literally I don't think I did much but read through the entire series. Was sad when I finished the series, it's that good.
annierabbit More than 1 year ago
I just bought the first 5 of the books in this series and have already read two of them. This is a wonderful series but I guess I'll have to do without the final book unless the price becomes more reasonable as the first 5 were. It's shameful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the other books and loved them. This one started out promising to be a good read as well, but I must say I'm disappointed in it. I had to check and make sure I wasn't reading a Harlequin romance instead. The continual coverage of Martha and Daniel's sex is getting tiring. How many pages are really necessary to cover it? Also, she seems to go down a path then drop the reader. I am more interested in what ever happened to the plot to use Curiosity's chickens than I am what new positions Martha and Daniel are going to try. There are a lot of pages that could have easily been left out.
jenmurph21 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this series. I enjoyed this book too, except for the Epilogue at the end. The ending of the book was really good, but the epilogue felt melancholy. I would have given this book 5 stars if not for the epilogue. I think the author tried to wrap up and tell everyone's story, but didn't have time and so she used the epilogue to end things. I didn't like that, I would have much have things left to interpretation rather than have it all spelled out for the reader. However, the book is very good and a fitting conclusion to this series. I enjoyed Daniel and Martha's story and I was pleased with the way the author finished Jemima's story. If you've read the rest, read the last of the series. If you don't want to know the fates and future's of everyone in Paradise, don't read the epilogue. I wish I hadn't.
pawAC More than 1 year ago
I was so excited when this book came out. I loved the way all the Bonner childrens lives were explained and brought to closure. I was sad to know that this was the final book as I have read and reread this series 3-4 times. But I think the way the book ended gave us the feeling that Nathaniel and Elizabeth lived their lives to the fullest and lived to see their children and grandchildren grow and live full lives. I will dearly miss them though. Nathaniel and Elizabeths story will remain one of my favorites always!
paige_vaughn More than 1 year ago
I'm going to miss the Bonners terribly, but I'm glad that they stuck to a realistic ending of mortality. The Wilderness series have always taken me away to the intense, clear description where you could almost taste the atmosphere created of Paradise. Nathaniel and Hannah have always been my favorite characters from the beginning but I found myself wondering about Jemima and how she explained where she came from. Thank you, Sara, for a wonderful and exciting journey that should remain as timeless as this series!
trapper63 More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed the Bonner Family journey. I was very invested in the characters and cared about how they survived their adventures. The history sprinkled within the story was an added bonus. I would characterize this series as a romantically adventurous historical tale. This series is an easy read that takes you to a different time. A true enjoyment!
Scrabbles More than 1 year ago
Overall, I have really enjoyed Donati's Wilderness series, especially the third, fourth, and fifth books, so I was looking forward to completing the series. Unfortunately, I came away disappointed. This book lacks the rich description and crafting of characters that make her previous books so good. It was good to have some questions put to rest, but then Donati hints at a relationship or some history between two characters and leaves that question unanswered. There were a couple of minor contradictions between this book and the previous works, as well, and I thought the way she ends the series was just too depressing. Donati has had a bad habit of killing off some of her most interesting and enjoyable minor characters between works, and this one is no different. Also, her characters in this one were flat, especially Martha & Callie; I never felt as though I got to know them. The only exception is the character of Jemima Southern; we are shown a side of her that we always suspected was there but even that was handled somewhat predictably. The whole book just seemed somewhat of a perfunctory ending to a series that was othewise rich & well-written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Compelling characters. Life well lived.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Be sure to read all the books in this wonderful series and then savor this final novel. The author does a fantastic job of wrapping up the stories of characters we have grown to love over the years. Fans of historical fiction and romance will not be disappointed. I closed this book with a sigh and a not miss this series or this book.
booksandbutter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this series! I loved every one of them. I can't wait to add them to my library at home. This book is the last and I really loved the way she ended them. She tied up every last end and I just felt let down because they were over, but not because of not having closure like some authors! One of my favorite series' !
pearl24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
WOW! Im speachless. This last book in the Wilderness Series is the best ending to a series I have ever read. All the loose ends are tied up from previous books. Elizabeths and Nathaniels story is just amazing. I was left in tears and happy all at the same time. This book is a must read, no doubt about it. Love this Series!
Sandra2891 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm so sad to see this series come to and end! This book was great, as were the rest in the series. I really like the story between Daniel and Martha and finally finding out about Jemima was a nice closure. I was sad to see that Jennet died a few years after the end of the book. Overall, excellent novel, excellent series, sorry to see if come to a close, but satisfied at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the whole Into the Wilderness series and was mostly happy with how all the loose ends in the characters stories were finished. I have recommended this series to several of my friends
MissWonder1965 More than 1 year ago
This is actually the first book I purchased. I found it at a thrift shop for $1. After I started reading, I enjoyed it so much, but was curious about the author. I found out this was book #6 ... so of course I stopped where I was, and ordered the first 5 books. I'm on #4 ... each one a story about a strong woman and her coming of age in the early 1800's.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This review is intended to be taken as constructive. I fell in love with the colorful characters and settings. Grew to know them well. However, it felt like the aurthor was in a rush to be done with the telling of this story. At times there was interuptions in the flow, and it was confusing and disconcerting. I pray Ms. Danati will continue to write historical fiction. Will keep my eyes open for her next works!