5 of 5 stars to ‘Dragonfly in Amber’ by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in amber

Epic tale

Claire Randall has a secret to tell her daughter. Twenty years after she mysteriously re-appeared at the stones of Craigh na dun, she returns with her grown daughter to Scotland to reveal the stunning truth behind her disappearance.

Diana Gabaldon is a firm contender for the very top spot on my favorite authors list. The tale of Claire and James Fraser has everything you could wish for in a story: honor, romance, war, death, intrigue, magic, deception, history and more.

I feel as though I have been dragged into seventeenth century Scotland, and the accuracy with which Diana describes life in these times, makes me confident that I might survive it together with Claire Fraser. The emotion and graphic scenes are so well written, it’s impossible not to rise with Claire on the wings of hope, and sink with the Scots to the depths of despair.

Diana’s use of different point of views to segregate time was particularly effective in this novel. Although I love her first person point of view for Claire, the use of the third person POV at certain points in the story definitely helped me to identify the cut in timelines, provided a breath from the intense emotional roller-coaster of Claire’s adventures and gave a deeper insight into some of the peripheral characters that I feel certain will play a larger role in books to follow.

As a history lover, I couldn’t have asked for a more down to earth, graphic depiction of the Jacobite rising. As a romantic, I don’t think I’ve ever read a more stirring account of true love that transcends not only centuries, but the day to day hardships and monotony of life and loss.

Rare is the author who can maintain pace and interest in such a thick, epic tale, but Gabaldon does it with ease. I am completely, utterly in love with this sweeping series and can’t wait to get my hands on Voyager!

James Fraser quote

5 of 5 stars to ‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon – EPIC!

Outlander

Timeless addiction

When I first read the blurb on this book, I thought it would be too similar to Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, which is one of my favorite ever. I was loathe to read another series like it because I didn’t think anything could live up to the bar Moning had set. When the TV series began, one of my friends fell in love with it and recommended the books, so I gave in. And now I’m positively addicted! While the two authors have followed the same premise, their writing is so different, it’s nearly impossible to compare the two.

Gabaldon’s characters are strong and yet human. Claire Beecham’s strength get’s her through amazing trials and ensures some passionate head-butting with her equally strong-willed Scottish partner. Yet, underpinning her strength is a vulnerability and impulsiveness that often gets her into trouble and endears her to readers and Scots alike.

Jamie, on the other hand is a conundrum of innocence and wisdom. His experiences growing up in the brutish Scottish highlands have sharpened his senses and wit. There are times when the words out of his mouth seem to come from a hundred year old soul. Then there are times when his uncensored words give away his youth and innocence – especially when he is alone with Claire. This combination of traits ensures that Jamie perfectly fulfills the idea of the Scottish hero – fierce protector and gentle lover – without perpetuating the stereotype.

Gabaldon’s authentic depiction of the seventeenth century Scottish Highlands is one of the main attractions of this novel. While the characters may be romantic, their environment is not. Gabaldon has so wonderfully captured the tension between the Scottish and British, the rustic realities of life without technology, the dangers of traveling in such times, the superstitions of our ancestors and the role of women in earlier society. Claire’s strong-willed nature, in a time where women were often considered nothing more than property, throws the contrast between the now and then into sharp relief. The character of Captain Randall and Claire’s continuous comparison of him to his descendant, strengthens the contrast between the times, and also heightens the moral dilemma Claire faces in her attempts to reconcile the two halves of her life.

There is so much that has been packed into this novel and so many wonderful and frightening experiences that each of the characters have lived through, I feel as though I have lived an entire lifetime alongside them. It is a rare and amazing talent for an author to be able to draw a reader so deeply into the lives of her characters as Ms Gabaldon has done.

This novel is pure addiction. You’d be a fool not to read it!

Outlander 2014Jamie Fraser quote