The Endless Forest

Written by Sara Donati
Review by Tamela McCann

With The Endless Forest, Sara Donati’s sweeping saga of the Bonner family comes to a close, and what a magnificent ending it is! The story that began in Paradise, New York with Into the Wilderness comes full circle as Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s children return to their mountain home in 1824 to raise their families and face the past and the future. This final book in the series settles old scores and ties up loose threads while giving us fevered action and romance in the bargain.

Opening with a springtime flood that manages to devastate Paradise both physically and spiritually, The Endless Forest brings daughter Lily home in hopes of beginning her own family. Her twin Daniel, still affected by his disabling accident years earlier, keeps to himself until the arrival of young Martha Kirby sparks a reawakening. When town nemesis (and Martha’s mother) Jemima Kuick returns, old wounds resurface that force the hand of not just Daniel and Martha, but also other Bonners and townspeople. Jemima’s still out for blood, and the family must draw together in order to keep what’s rightfully theirs.

All the characters we’ve grown to know and love are present: Nathaniel and Elizabeth, now grandparents, are still lovingly guiding their families; Hannah, Luke, and Gabriel are raising children along with their spouses; and Curiosity is still dispensing advice. Most delightful is the presence of Birdie, youngest child of Nathaniel and Elizabeth, who manages to insert herself in the thick of things and always has an opinion to share.

Donati supplies us with an epilogue that lets us know what happens next in the lives of the Bonner clan. I will miss these stories, and yet I find that Donati has given this saga a most gratifying finale. Highly recommended.