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Impatient with Desire by Gabrielle Burton
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Impatient with Desire (edition 2009)

by Gabrielle Burton

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1857063,896 (3.85)9
Member:sturlington
Title:Impatient with Desire
Authors:Gabrielle Burton
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Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:Donner party, Journey, American West, Historical fiction

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Impatient with Desire by Gabrielle Burton

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Wagons, ho! It’s 1846, and the East is awash in California fever. Tamsen Donner, her husband George and their five daughters form a wagon train with a number of other families, intent on heading west from Illinois. Disastrously, nearly everything that could go wrong does, and coupled with a handful of unwise decisions, the entire party of more than eighty people -- most under the age of 18 -- find themselves stranded without provisions in the Sierra Nevada mountains for the winter. Tamsen narrates their plight, as well as flashbacks to earlier events in her life, through her journal entries.

The Donner Party. I’d heard of it, knew that it was a horrific event in pioneer history, but wasn’t really familiar with the details. This is an intriguing read, though the experience is clouded by a sense of foreboding -- you know it is not going to end well. I was inspired afterward to learn more about the Donner expedition -- what was documented, and what was imagined by the author? Although events toward the end become painful to read, I recommend it to fans of historical fiction. The book is laden with an unfortunate title evocative of a steamy romance, so it could easily be missed by its potential audience. ( )
  ryner | Jan 12, 2014 |
Elegant book and written so well that I had no idea until the end that it was a fabricated journal of Tamsen Donners. ( )
  coolmama | Nov 2, 2011 |
I would not normally have chosen Impatient with Desire as a read. The cover is a bit prairie romance novel and the subject, the imagined journal of the wife of the leader of the Donner party, doesn't sound all that appetizing. I was invited to review this book by Rare Bird Lit and I am so very glad, otherwise I would've missed a great book.

Impatient with Desire is lots of things. It's epistolary. It's riveting. It's filled with dread and wonder and regret. It's a beautifully written impressionistic sort of novel that isn't really concerned about timelines or an A to Z path to telling its stories. Much like a real journal it is memories and thoughts and what if's.

Ms. Burton manages to instill a vague sense of dread throughout the book. Part of this is that we all know the end, but part of it is the way Ms. Burton drops facts and skitters about the reality forcing the reader to fill in the blanks. This book truly grabbed me within the first few pages and the list of Donner Party members - the number of children ruffled the hairs on the back of my neck. An unforgettable moment in reading so simply presented - this is the essence of this book and I loved it. ( )
  kraaivrouw | Mar 26, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The history of the Donner party is tragic. This book, however, was a missed opportunity. The individuals involved are portrayed fairly superficially, and found I it hard believing that the voice given to Tamsen Donner was really likely to be her own. I admittedly don't have a very good reason for that--I know almost nothing about her other than what I've learned through this book--but I felt unconvinced. And I think a historical fiction has to, among other things, convince the reader that it's authentic in important respects. It might have gone a long way toward helping the book if the author had placed some of Tamsen Donner's actual letters in an appendix. (The author has written a non-fiction book about the Donner Party.) If those letters match the spirit portrayed in Impatient with Desire, that may have been enough to get me to buy into the author's portrayal. ( )
  Joe24 | Feb 21, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
While the Donner Party story is alive and well in the history books, the view of it from Tamsen Donner's eyes has not been seen, until now. This fictionalized account of Tamsen's life, told in alternating past and present sections. Wife of the leader of the traveling party, George Donner, Tamsen recounts growing up, her courtship with George, and the decisions to move to California and what led to their snowy entrapment in the Sierra Nevada mountains. An infamous journey wrought with interpersonal struggles, death and the eventual cannibalism, Tamsen's voice evokes a woman, wife and mother who would do anything to ensure her family's survival. ( )
  booksNyarn | Nov 2, 2010 |
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This book is dedicated to my husband, Roger, and our daughters, Maria, Jennifer, Ursual, Gabrielle, and Charity, companions on this long voyage, steady in rough seas and smooth, always providing a harbor.
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Think of all the roads a man and a woman walk until they reach the road they'll walk together.
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In the summer of 1846, Tamsen Donner, her husband, George, their five daughters, and eighty other pioneers embarked on the California-Oregon Trail. During that ill-fated trip, early snows trapped them for over four months in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Almost half of the group perished, and some resorted to unimaginable means to survive-making the Donner Party and enduringly fascinating episode in American history. Set during those long, snowebound months and told through the hauntingly imagined journal entried and letters of Tamsen, Impatient With Desire is psychologically penetrating, dramatic, provocative, romantic, and intimate. Remarkable passages and tenderly acute, heartbreaking scenes will leave readers breathless.
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In the spring of 1846, Tamsen Donner, her husband, George, their five daughters, and eighty other pioneers headed to California on the California-Oregon Trail in eager anticipation of new lives out West. Everything that could go wrong did, and an American legend was born.… (more)

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Hyperion and Voice

Two editions of this book were published by Hyperion and Voice.

Editions: 1401341012, 1401341667

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