Gabrielle Burton
Impatient with Desire:
The Lost Journal of Tamsen Donner

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Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2010 - NPR

"An evocative recreation of Tamsen's lost journal.  Absolutely unforgettable."

 “A hauntingly lyrical story of the ill-fated Donner Party, one of the seminal events in America’s westward movement. This bittersweet novel of love and sacrifice will tear at your heart.”—Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

“Insightful and heart-wrenching. Powerfully written, this novel kept me entranced.”San Francisco Book Review

"A moving story of human courage and frailty.  Tamsen Donner's tale will stay with you long after you've read the last page." 

— Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank 

"Few figures in the westward movement of this country have the almost mythic presence of Tamsen Donner. With her strong creative gifts, an exceptional talent for clear and moving narrative, and careful research, Burton has most surely succeeded in her intention to capture Tamsen Donner's spirit and has given us a marvelous, moving story of a brave, loving--and real--woman." 
—Isabel Zuber, author of Salt

"Burton seeks to exhume the humanity in the story of the Donner party.  She succeeds."             
The New York Times

"Insightful and heart-wrenching. It is as if Burton has given the Donner Party a voice more than 150 years later, one of hopes, dreams, fear, isolation, strength and, ultimately, courage.  Kept me entranced." 
Sacramento Book Review

"A 19th century voice that reads like Louisa May Alcott meets Cormac McCarthy.   It is this indomitable voice - lost to history except in fragments - that Burton recovers and amplifies for us in Impatient with Desire."
—Buffalo News

"Told through fictional letters and diary entries written by Tamsen Donner, Impatient with Desire is a hauntingly lyrical story of the ill-fated Donner Party, one of the seminal events in America's westward movement. This bittersweet novel of love and sacrifice will tear at your heart." 
—Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

"Burton's writing tears out the reader's heart as it brings closure to her quest to understand a woman lost to time. "Impatient With Desire" finally rescues Tamsen Donner from ignominy, bringing her back to us a robust and very alive woman."
—Erika Schickel, LA Times

"... The portrayal of Tamsen and the investigation of motivation is one of the triumphs of "Impatient With Desire." The other is Ms. Burton's narrative skill. By switching between Tamsen's memories of her early life and her record of the travails on the journey, she downloads information at a rate readers can absorb and in a way that entices them into her tale eager to unravel the mystery of why people cast their all on such perilous ventures. Her novel is therefore not just a gripping tale of the Donner party, but a model of how to write compelling and enlightening historical fiction. Physically, too, the book is a pleasure: It is a convenient size - perfect for reading on a journey or in bed - its cover is beautiful, and it even has illustrations." read more
—Claire Hopley, The Washington Times

"I had never heard of the Donner Party nor knew anything about another way to travel west besides the Oregon Trail. So, when I sat down with this book, I had no expectations besides being entertained. I didn't expect Tamsen Donner to catch my heart and hold it through her journal entries and letters to her sister. My heart went out to the families and men that traveled in the party, and every time one died, I could feel the heartbreak and mounting concern that each one brought, as if I, too, was traveling with them. Tamsen was a strong and courageous voice that had such spirit and dignity, even in times when she felt her hope dwindling.  Gabrielle Burton gave Tamsen such a powerful voice. One, that I'm sure, captured the essence of who Tamsen was. I was impressed by how much research went into this novel, and how Gabrielle spent time on the same trail to get the feel of what it must have been like for the Donners. This was an amazing book and a fantastic piece of historical fiction that should be read by everyone. Impatient with Desire is a masterful piece of work that captures the pioneer spirit and brings to light the sacrifice, commitment and disappointments each adventurer had to endure. I look forward to reading more by this author!"
—Good Reads

Long after the novel is laid down, you will hear Tamsen's voice in your head and heart. 
—MJ Koester, LibraryThing

"Finely crafted and spellbinding in the calm pain of its heroine, Impatient with Desire is historical fiction at its best.  For readers interested in women’s history, westward expansion, wilderness tales, and historical fiction."
Feminist Review

"If you read one book on the Donner Party, this is the one to read."
—Mick McAllister, writer and critic

"Unique and exquisite love story."
—M Shanmughalingam, film critic and writer

"A lyrical and moving portrait of a complex and fascinating woman caught in a devastatingly untenable situation." 
Gemma Whelan, author Fiona: Stolen Child

"A stunning achievement, the brilliant ending instantly reminding me of the way Emily Dickinson kept the pages of the poems she wrote tied in sheathes.  A formidable accomplishment."
—William Fischer, Professor of English Emeritus

"Haunting and poignant.  recommended for anyone interested in women writers, pioneers, wives and mothers."
—Mel Ryane, author Teaching Will and On Location

"Impatient with Desire had everything I wanted to know, everything I had wondered about, with respect to a woman's experience of this journey."