Independent-minded Elizabeth Middleton arrives in upstate New York in December of 1792 to join her father, the respected judge in the small community of Paradise. It is Elizabeths dream to start a school for all the children.

Paradise is a world like none Elizabeth has known: the cold, the Indians, the wonderful wildness of the area all conspire to thrill and frighten her. But most of all, it is Nathaniel Bonner who unnerves her.

Known as Between-Two-Worlds by his adopted people, the Mohawk, Nathaniel and his father live as both white men and indians in the settlement and the land known as Hidden Lake in the Clouds. The judges 29-year-old spinster daughter intrigues Nathaniel, who has never met a woman as strong-willed as Elizabeth.

When he promises to build her school house, he opens the way for destiny. Refusing to marry Richard Todd, the man her father has chosen for her, Elizabeth falls in love with Nathaniel and become his wife in body and soul.

But as she strives to find and meet her destiny in the wild, exhilarating new country, she finds many obstacles: prejudice, trouble between indian and settler, between Nathaniel and Richard and the secrets of Nathaniels heritage threaten to shatter all she has built.

Sara Donatis debut novel marks her as a new, fresh voice to heed. Her attention to detail, ability to superbly mix history with fiction and the remarkable, real characters she creates are what make a wonderful writer, the kind readers take to their heart. Ms. Donati breathes life into her people and the lives they live in a turbulent, colorful time. Be on the look-out for more from a star of the future. SENSUAL (Aug., 600 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin