Lake in the Clouds in the third novel in Donati's "Into the Wilderness" series. While I loved the first novel, Into the Wilderness, I didn't love the second novel Dawn on a Distant Shore, nearly as much. That is probably why it has taken me two and a half years to start on the third novel!
Lake in the Clouds furthers the story of the Bonner family, but is mostly about Nathaniel and Elizabeth's half Mohican daughter, Hannah. Hannah is 18, beautiful, and a healer. She starts the novel by helping a runaway slave that she discovers in the forest who is pregnant and sick. Her story continues in New York City where she learns how to vaccinate people for small pox, and her story ends back in Paradise where she discovers true love and helps to deal with an epidemic. Elizabeth and her young 8-year old daughter Lily are on focus too, but the novel primarily focuses on Hannah.
Lake in the Clouds was an interesting and good book, but I felt disappointed. It could have been a great novel I feel with some further editing and rewrites, but it just didn't get there. First of all, I didn't like how the middle of the novel was split into three separate sections, Elizabeth story's, then Hannah's, then Lily's. It would have worked out better I think if these three story lines would have been written as one part with changes in scene between each character to build suspense. It was annoying to go back in time with each section to see what the other characters were up to. It's hard to feel suspense when Hannah gets a letter from Elizabeth when you already know the end of Elizabeth's story. Also what was going on with Liam? His story was so incomplete. Different threads were set up and then not finished. What happened to his wife? Why did he have a change of heart? How did they figure out the secret of the Tory gold? The novel seemed to end without answering a lot of important questions. Liam and Hannah had a spark between them that should have been used and not abandoned. Will my questions be answered in the next novel? It's hard to say. I also felt like Elizabeth and Nathaniel have been somewhat abandoned. Their story is the story I love, but it has lost focus on them.
I did really like Hannah's Kine-Pox institute story in the novel and her struggle with being half Mohican and half white. Overall an interesting book, but not as good as the first. I really hope the series picks up in the next novel . . .