5 of 5 stars to ‘Voyager’ by Diana Gabaldon


Beyond the shores of Scotland

Twenty years after Claire left Jamie Fraser at the standing stones, she returns to Scotland to share the truth with her grown daughter Brianna. In divulging her history, she discovers that her true love did not, in fact, die on the battlefield at Culloden. Now she must choose between a future with the daughter she loves dearly, or one with the man she has pined for all these years apart.

There are very few writers who can carry off a series of more than three books and still keep the reader begging for more. I must admit to being skeptical after ‘Dragonfly in Amber’ – I mean, Jamie and Claire have lived through it all already, haven’t they? Yet Ms Gabaldon has managed to once again create a heart-breaking, riveting, dangerous adventure.

In this installment of the Outlander series, Gabaldon takes us beyond the shores of Scotland in the seventeenth century. We get a taste of the trade routes, colonies and dangers of overseas travel, contrasted starkly with the amenities and ease of travel of the nineteen sixties.

The real hardships of Jamie’s life seem that much greater against the comforts of Brianna and Claire’s time and yet their emotional distance and turmoils appear equal. These are two souls that have truly become one. I was concerned that the time apart and separate experiences would have created an irreconcilable rift between Claire and Jamie. But their love is true enough to span centuries. In fact, the time apart made their reunion that much sweeter. I loved getting to see Jamie and Claire fall in love all over again and get to know the new people that they have become.

Rich history, offset by sweeping descriptions of the natural beauty of the new colonies and heart-wrenching emotional dilemmas, interspersed with century-spanning romance and heart pounding action, makes ‘Voyager’ a must-read for any self-respecting Scot-lover, historian or book addict.

3 of 5 stars to ‘My Champion’ by Glynnis Campbell

My champion

Amazing vocabulary

Linet de Montfort has a chip on her shoulder. She’s determined to wreak revenge on the Spanish pirate who has wronged her father, but she hasn’t reckoned on his terrible retaliation. Abducted by a dangerous pirate, Linet must rely on one man to save her.

Duncan de Ware is the self-employed defender of the commoner. When he witnesses the abduction of the golden-haired wool merchant by a notorious pirate, he appoints himself her savior. Thrown together in the chaos aboard the pirate ship, Duncan soon finds that Linet is more than just a damsel in distress. He is in grave danger of losing his heart to her, but can he break through her haughty superiority?

I’m a sucker for damsel in distress stories. They’re romantic and easy to escape into. This one has many of the requirements for a good romance. The heroine is arrogant and strong, although she often gets herself into difficult situations and sometimes makes silly decisions. Duncan is humble, heroic and handsome. There is danger, hot romance and a touch of emotion. And yet – I found it difficult to immerse myself in this novel. There was something distant about the characters that made them seem a little too contrived and predictable at times. Still, I enjoyed the story.

One of the things that really stood out was the vocabulary. Campbell makes use of some lovely archaic words – I even had to look up a few – and I love shiny new (or old!) words. I also enjoyed the references to Linet’s trade, the colors, scents and textures.

Overall, entertaining!