by Diana Gabaldon
5 of 5 stars
Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.
Claire Beauchamp Randall: Striking golden hued eyes (often compared to the color of fine whisky), very curly brown hair that refuses to be tamed, 5″6′ and a pale complexion. Independent, strong, stubborn, kind and intelligent. Trained as a combat nurse and served in WWII as a medic. Played by Caitriona Balfe on the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Jamie): Piercing blue “cat” eyes (slightly slanted), thick dark red multi-hued hair, 6″4′, straight nose, wide mouth and scars on his back. Stubborn, a born leader, proud, caring, protective, intelligent and funny. Skilled fighter and swordsman. Well educated and left-handed. Played by Sam Heughan on the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.
Brianna Ellen Randall (Bree): 20 years old and very tall for a woman, nearly six feet. Essentially a female version of Jamie. Piercing blue “cat” eyes (slightly slanted), waist length red hair, curvy. Independent woman going to school to be an engineer. She is the daughter of Jamie and Claire and was raised by Claire and Frank. As far as I could find, Brianna Randall has not been cast yet for the Starz adaptation of the Outlander novels.
Roger Mackenzie Wakefeild: Very tall (an inch shorter than Jamie), black hair and bright green eyes. He is a scholar at heart but has deep Highlander roots. Orphaned young and raised by his uncle, Reverend Wakefeild. First-year history professor. Distant descendant of Gellis Duncan. Intelligent, curious, brave and overly kind.
t heart but has deep Highlander roots. Orphaned young and raised by his uncle, Reverend Wakefeild. First-year history professor. Distant descendant of Gellis Duncan. Intelligent, curious, brave and overly kind.
This book begins with the best first line of a story that I have ever read. We pick up Claire and Jamie’s story by finding out what happened after Culloden.
He was dead. However, his nose throbbed painfully, which he thought odd in the circumstances.
A large portion of the first 3rd or so of the book is spent learning what has happened to Jamie over the last 20 years. We not only learn what happens, we also get to see Claire, Roger and Brianna’s reactions to it. I do wish we had more of Brianna’s reaction. I would very much like to know what she thinks of her father.
Even still, it is very hard to read about their time apart and very emotional for those of us who are in love with Claire and Jamie. I was recently talking to Terri from MyBookBoyfriend.net, and I thought she had an excellent way of explaining this sensation. She said even though Jamie waited 7 years it was still painful to read about him being with someone. It felt as though he were cheating, even though we know that logically he is not because he has no reason to believe he will ever see Claire again. His heart does stay true though, and his mantra is heartwarming.
“Lord, that she might be safe,” he prayed. “She and the child.”
*Minor Spoiler Below- but not really*
Once they do come together again, I found it to be extremely heart wrenching. I hate that they were once so close and new all of each other’s secrets but now they had to start over. They lost 20 years of love. They are both so scared that the other will find something that they do not love any longer. Of course they are worried about looks. Claire even asks her friend before she leaves to go to the stones.
“Am I sexually attractive?” I demanded.
“It’s a trick question, right?” he said. “I give you an answer and one of those women’s libbers jumps out from behind the door, yells ‘Sexist pig!’ And hits me over the head with a sign that says ‘Castrate Male Chauvinists’. Huh?”
While Jamie is a bit worried about his looks, mainly his new scars, he is mostly worried about her loving the man he is now. He knows that he has made mistakes in the past, but he always holds himself to such a high standard that he is his own worst critic.
“Do ye want me?” he whispered. “Sassenach, will ye take me – and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?”
We do get smacked in the face again with how different the past is . This time there is no buffer period where Claire is trying to figure out what is going on (like we have in the first book). So time is just abruptly shifted from future to past. Their reunion is so raw and genuine. It is equal parts awkward, sweet, hesitant and scary. But of course they eventually return to the Claire and Jamie that we know and love.
He kissed my forehead gently. “Loving you has put me through hell more than once, Sassenach; I’ll risk it again, if need be.”
“Bah,” I said. “And you think loving you has been a bed of roses, do you?”
This time he laughed out loud. “No,” he said, “but you’ll maybe keep doing it?”
“Maybe I will, at that.”
Claire’s motherly advice to Brianna made me laugh and cry at the same time- which is not attractive, in case you were wondering. My husband looked at me like I had lost my mind.
But come on! How do you not get teared up reading her farewell?
“All the names I’ve called you through the years—my chick, my pumpkin, precious dove, darling, sweetheart, dinky, smudge … I know why the Jews and Muslims have nine hundred names for God; one small word is not enough for love.”
And how do you not smile at her parting advice?
And Finally I put down the last and the best advice I knew, on growing older. ‘Stand up straight and try not to get fat.
The timeless love of Claire and Jamie is a joy to read about and the challenges of the past keep the pages turning. I have tried in the past to explain how these books get under your skin and stay there. The closest I can get is to say that they grab your soul and don’t let go.
But of course, I think that Jamie explains their love the best…
“To have ye with me again–to talk wi’ you–to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts–God, Sassenach,” he said, “the Lord knows I am lust-crazed as a lad, and I canna keep my hands from you–or anything else–“he added, wryly,” but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart.”
Setting: Scotland 1746, with bits of Scotland 1968
Point of View: Told by Claire in the first person, flashbacks and alternate views told in third person
Price: $4.99 on Amazon (as of 1/25/15)
8 completed primary books (usually 600+ pages), with a 9th book in the works.
Outlander (Outlander, #1)
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
Voyager (Outlander, #3)
Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)
The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander, #8)
Untitled (Outlander, #9) – not yet released
Each of the main books follows Claire and Jamie, with additional perspectives from supporting characters.
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
The Space Between
Lord John Books (focus is on different characters, but share characters and intersecting story lines):