by Diana Gabaldon
5 of 5 stars
It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.
Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….
Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong….
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.
It goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that the writing excellent. Gabaldon has had her novels edited and re-edited to the point where the final product is polished. Each character has so much depth and so many unique qualities that it is easy to keep them straight -even though there are so many. The dialogue flows smoothly and is individualized for each person.
Gabaldon also handles multiple points of view corrects. Only Claire’s narration (most of the book) is in the first person, the rest of the narrative is in the 3rd person.
All of the events from “Voyager” have calmed. Jamie and Claire are now in Charleston, starting their new life along with Young Ian and Duncan Innes. It is fun seeing Claire from a whole new light, as she is now “Auntie Claire”. Oh, and my Jamie is just as feisty as ever!
“What is it about ye, Sassenach, I wonder?” he said conversationally, eyes still fixed on Myers.
“What is what about me?”
He turned then, and gave me a narrow eye. “What it is that makes every man ye meet want to take off his breeks within five minutes of meetin’ ye.”
“Well, if you don’t know, my dear,” I said, “no one does.”
While Claire and Young Ian are soaking up all of the sights, Jamie is hesitant of the unknown. Most of the animals, plants and landscape are completely foreign to him.
The wounds caused by their time apart have not completely healed, but they are getting there. The pieces of each other that they do not now pokes at the tender places in my heart. Claire knows nothing of Mac Du and the 7 years he spent as the Laird of his prison. Jamie doesn’t understand the stories that Claire tells about Brianna growing up. Even still, they are Claire and Jamie… and their love is the definition of timeless.
“This is our time. Until that time stops – for one of us, for both – it is our time. Now. Will you waste it, because you are afraid?”
Despite the fact that they are in America- one would assume that being on home turf would calm her- Claire is uneasy. She is terrified of losing Jamie again. It is almost as if now that all of the craziness from “Voyager” has settled down, it is really hitting her how dangerous life is in the past and how little the medical community can help. But once she is all in, she goes big or goes home.
At last I took one big, callused hand and slid forward so I knelt on the boards between his knees. I laid my head against his chest, and felt his breath stir my hair. I had no words, but I had made my choice.
“‘Whither thou goest,'” I said. “‘I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.’ Be it Scottish hill or southern forest. You do what you have to; I’ll be there.”
And if you didn’t want to swoon when Jamie gave Claire her medicine box, something is wrong with you. It was such a sweet and true moment. It is interesting to see the established love of Claire and Jamie side by side with the growing love of Brianna and Roger.
The English tried their best to destroy the Clans after Culloden, and while they may have severely reduced their numbers and ruined their land, they did not break the Highland spirit. Scots that are exiled from their homes, relocated as punishment, released from prison or are simply war survivors have all started to gather in Cape Fear.
Jamie feels the Highland spirit in his soul. He was raised to be Laird.
“How shall I tell ye what it is, to feel the need of a place?” he said softly. “The need of snow beneath my shoon. The breath of the mountains, breathing their own breath in my nostrils as God gave breath to Adam. The scrape of rock under my hand, climbing, and the sight of the lichens on it, enduring in the sun and the wind.”
His breath was gone and he breathed again, taking mine. His hands were linked behind mv head, holding me, face-to-face.
“If I am to live as a man, I must have a mountain,” he said simply.”
We even get to see what the “future” (1969) holds for the clans when Roger takes Bree to the festival. Just reading about the proud descendants of the Highland warriors gave me goosebumps.
The only serious complaint I have is that I wish we would have received more detail about Bree and Jamie’s meeting. The bit that we did get was great, but I would have liked much more. i
“He blinked , and his eyes moved at last from her face, slowly taking in her appearance, and- with what seemed to her a new and horrified awareness- her height.
“My God,” he croaked. “You’re huge.”
Setting: United States 1767 and 1969, bits of Scotland 1769
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 1/27/15)
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):