5 of 5 stars to ‘An echo in the bone’ by Diana Gabaldon

Echo in the bone

What a cliffhanger!

James Fraser knows what the outcome of the American rebellion will be, and yet his knowledge may not be enough to get him and Claire through the raw realities of daily life in a country at war. Then, there is the fact that he may end up on opposite sides of the battlefield to his illegitimate son.

Claire and Jamie have been separated from their children and grand-children across the wide expanse of time. Can they, and can Bree and Rodger start afresh in this messy time?

I’ll be honest – I’ve been seriously contemplating giving this series up, but Gabaldon keeps throwing in new reasons to keep me reading. This installment was all about new beginnings. There was a point in the novel where I began to feel that the story was lagging with its descriptions of life in the war camps of the American revolution. Yet that sense of ‘lagging’ really added to the stark reality of the depressing conditions under which the Americans fought for their independence so many years ago.

The trip back to Scotland inserted some nostalgia into the story and heightened the emotional impact. It made me realize how amazing Gabaldon’s writing is. I haven’t read many books that cover entire lifetimes of characters, and those I have read were pretty boring. Gabaldon, however, consistently adds new, daring, frightening and exciting adventures to keep the lives of her characters tumultuous and interesting.

With the cliffhanger in this one (or should I say cliffhangers) there’s no question as to whether I will continue this series. I simply MUST find out what happens to Claire and Lord John after the bomb he dropped on Jamie at the end and I NEED to know what Bree is going to do about her son.

5 of 5 stars to ‘A breath of snow and ashes’ by Diana Gabaldon

A breath of snow and ashes

An uncertain future

The American revolution looms before the Frasers. Jamie walks the tight-rope between the crown and freedom, but will soon have to jump, plunging his entire family into war. Many decisions will have to be made, and consequences faced as Jamie’s time-travelling family adjust to life in these harsh times and make the ultimate decision – stay or go?

Every time I close an Outlander novel, I think: what more could these people live through? I am astounded at the extent of Gabaldon’s imagination. Claire and Jamie have lived through every possible adventure, tragedy and joy – and yet I know that Ms Gabaldon will find even more amazing adventures for them in the next book. Never have I felt as invested in the lives of character as I do with the Frasers.

The first part of this installment was charming in it’s descriptions of life in the times. I thoroughly enjoyed the politics and ebb and flow of life on Frasers Ridge. Just when I thought I’d reached a point where the story was starting to slow, Gabaldon threw Claire into a new adventure that Jamie had to rescue her from, and the rest, was a tumultuous race to the end.

There was a wonderful sense of family and the purity of a simple life on Fraser’s ridge. The Mackenzies added depth, variety and freshness to the story, without detracting from Claire and Jamie’s stories. Gabaldon very cleverly played with the questions of morality and predestination once again, with particular use of Roger’s character.

The end was quite a shocker, unravelling the carefully laid foundations of the last few novels. I feel as though I’ve been thrown back into the beginning with Claire and Jamie – and I’m excited to find out what they are going to make of their new and uncertain future.