Sara Donati books in order
Sara Donati is the pen name of former American academic and tenured university professor, Rosina Lippi.
She uses the pen name when writing historical fiction novels, and her real name when writing academic works and contemporary novels.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois as the daughter of an Italian emigrant, she holds a B.A. and M.A. from University of Illinois at Chicago, and a PhD in linguistics from Princeton University.
Donati taught at the university level for twelve years before turning to fiction writing.
Using her pen name, she has authored the Wilderness series--the historical fiction books that follow the lives of the Bonner family in upstate New York between 1792 and 1825--and The Waverly Place Series, which follows the lives of Nathaniel and Elizabeth’s granddaughters in the twentieth century.
Donati lives on Puget Sound, Washington with her husband, daughter, a Havanese pupper and a boisterous cat.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pseudonym: Sara Donati
The Waverly Place
- The Gilded Hour (2015)
- Where the Light Enters (2019)
- Into the Wilderness (1998)
- Dawn on a Distant Shore (2000)
- Lake in the Clouds (2002)
- Fire Along the Sky (2004)
- Queen of Swords (2006)
- The Endless Forest (2009)
Detailed book overview
The Waverly Place
The year is 1883, and in New York City, Anna Savard and her cousin Sophie—both graduates of the Woman’s Medical School—treat the city’s most vulnerable, even if doing so puts everything they’ve strived for in jeopardy...
Anna’s work has placed her in the path of four children who have lost everything, just as she herself once had. Faced with their helplessness, Anna must make an unexpected choice between holding on to the pain of her past and letting love into her life.
For Sophie, an obstetrician and the orphaned daughter of free people of color, helping a desperate young mother forces her to grapple with the oath she took as a doctor—and thrusts her and Anna into the orbit of anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock, a dangerous man who considers himself the enemy of everything indecent and of anyone who dares to defy him.
Obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician, she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget.
As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna's husband, Detective Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte, calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose.
In New York, it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York's less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all their resources to protect their patients.
It is December of 1792. Elizabeth Middleton leaves her comfortable English estate to join her family in a remote New York mountain village.
It is a place unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man unlike any she has ever encountered—a white man dressed like a Native American: Nathaniel Bonner, known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives.
Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village, Elizabeth soon finds herself locked in conflict with the local slave owners as well as with her own family.
Now blissfully married, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner, the hero and heroine of Into The Wilderness, have settled into their new life together in the North American frontier. When Elizabeth gives birth to twins their happiness seems complete. However, it proves to be short-lived. While attempting to rescue his father, Hawkeye, who has been imprisoned in Canada, Nathaniel is arrested by British colonials for spying – a hanging offence.
Left alone in the wilderness with only her step-daughter Hannah and her newly-born twins, Elizabeth embarks on a desperate bid to save her husband. Gathering up the children, she sets out on a dangerous journey across unremittingly hostile terrain. However, the fate of the Bonner family appears to be in the hands of other forces, who intend to kidnap them to Scotland in order to engage them in a bitter family feud and a destiny they could never have imagined.
It is the spring of 1802, and the village of Paradise is still reeling from the typhoid epidemic of the previous summer. Elizabeth and Nathaniel Bonner have lost their two-year-old son, Hannah’s half brother Robbie, but they struggle on as always: the men in the forests, the twins Lily and Daniel in Elizabeth’s school, and Hannah as a doctor in training, apprenticed to Richard Todd. Hannah is descended from healers on both sides--one Scots grandmother and one Mohawk--and her reputation as a skilled healer in her own right is growing.
After a long night spent attending to a birth, Elizabeth and Hannah encounter an escaped slave hiding on the mountain. She calls herself Selah Voyager, and she is looking for Curiosity Freeman--a former slave herself, one of the village’s wisest women and Elizabeth’s closest friend.
The Bonners take Selah, desperately ill, to Lake in the Clouds to care for her, and with that simple act they are drawn into the secret life that Curiosity and Galileo Freeman and their grown children have been leading for almost ten years. The Bonners will do what they must to protect the Freemans, just as Hannah will protect her patient, who presents more than one kind of challenge. For a bounty hunter is afoot--Hannah’s childhood friend and first love, Liam Kirby.
While Elizabeth and Nathaniel undertake a treacherous journey through the endless forests to bring Selah to safety in the north, Hannah embarks on a very different journey to New-York City, with two goals: to learn the secrets of vaccination against smallpox, a disease that threatens Paradise, and to find out what she can about Liam’s immediate past and what caused him to change so drastically from the boy she once loved. The obstacles she faces as a woman and a Mohawk make her confront questions long avoided about her place in the world.
The year is 1812 and Hannah Bonner has returned to her family’s mountain cabin in Paradise. But Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner can see that Hannah is not the same woman as when she left. For their daughter has come home without her husband and without her son…and with a story of loss and tragedy that she can’t bear to tell. Yet as Hannah resumes her duties as a gifted healer among the sick and needy, she finds that she is also slowly healing herself. Little does she realize that she is about to be called away to face her greatest challenge ever.
As autumn approaches, news of the latest conflict with Britain finds the young men of Paradise—including eighteen-year-old Daniel Bonner—eager to take up arms. Against their better judgment, Nathaniel and Elizabeth must let him go, just as they must let his twin sister Lily, a stubborn beauty, pursue her independence in Montreal. But on the eve of the War of 1812, an unexpected guest arrives from Scotland: It is the Bonners’ distant cousin, the newly widowed Jennet Scott of Carryckcastle. Far from home, Lily and Jennet will each learn the price of pursuing their dreams and the possibility of true love.
But it’s Hannah herself who must risk everything once more—this time to save Daniel, who’s been taken prisoner by the British. As the distant thunder of war threatens Paradise, Hannah may learn to live—and maybe love—again in one final act of courage, duty, and sacrifice.
It is the late summer of 1814, and Hannah Bonner and her half brother Luke have spent more than a year searching the islands of the Caribbean for Luke’s wife and the man who abducted her. But Jennet’s rescue, so long in coming, is not the resolution they’d hoped for. In the spring she had given birth to Luke’s son, and in the summer Jennet had found herself compelled to surrender the infant to a stranger in the hope of keeping him safe.
To claim the child, Hannah, Luke, and Jennet must journey first to Pensacola. There they learn a great deal about the family that has the baby. The Poiterins are a very rich, very powerful Creole family, totally without scruple. The matriarch of the family has left Pensacola for New Orleans and taken the child she now claims as her great-grandson with her.
New Orleans is a city on the brink of war, a city where prejudice thrives and where Hannah, half Mohawk, must tread softly. Careful plans are made as the Bonners set out to find and reclaim young Nathaniel Bonner. Plans that go terribly awry, isolating them from each other in a dangerous city at the worst of times.
Sure that all is lost, and sick unto death, Hannah finds herself in the care of a family and a friend from her past, Dr. Paul de Guise Savard dit Saint-d’Uzet. It is Dr. Savard and his wife who save Hannah’s life, but Dr. Savard’s half brother who offers her real hope. Jean-Benoit Savard, the great-grandson of French settlers, slaves, and Choctaw and Seminole Indians, is the one man who knows the city well enough to engineer the miracle that will reunite the Bonners and send them home to Lake in the Clouds.
With Ben Savard’s guidance, allies are drawn from every segment of New Orleans’s population and from Andrew Jackson’s army, now pouring into the city in preparation for what will be the last major battle of the War of 1812.
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.