Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Also in this series: Outlander Cross Stitch (TV Tie In), An Echo In The Bone, Voyager
on August 31, 2011
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With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters—Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser—delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander. DRAGONFLY IN AMBER For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time... and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his. Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.
This was my second time reading Dragonfly in Amber and I picked it up again with a view to refreshing my memory…also to quench my thirst while waiting for the second series of Outlander to begin. It’s a unique experience to know more than you are shown while watching the TV Series. To hear names aloud you have only read and not heard spoken is something I’m enjoying while watching Season 2 of Outlander!
There’s a good chance this review will contain spoilers. I’ll do my best to hide any obvious ones but there is already a plethora of details in circulation surrounding this series and for this book, in particular. The depth of the story, in my opinion, is enhanced by reading the book in full.
‘Not the historians. No, not them. Their greatest crime is that they presume to know what happened, how things come about, when they have only what the past chose to leave behind –for the most part, they think what they were meant to think, and it’s a rare one that sees what really happened, behind the smokescreen of artifacts and paper.’
My introduction to Outlander was through a trailer for Season 1 of the TV Series of the same name. And it was while experiencing my first droughtlander during the break between Parts 1 and 2 of the TV Series that I decided to start reading the books. Wow! I was totally captured by Jamie, Claire and the characters that surround them. I have nearly run out of books to read in the Outlander series and am savouring the remaining ones I have yet to read for as long as possible. I highly recommend visiting Diana Gabaldon’s website to view her reading order list.
The final scene in the first book of Outlander View Spoiler »Claire distraught, and about to travel back through the stones, leaving Jamie to face the doomed battle of Culloden and potentially his death « Hide Spoiler left me desperate for more time with Jamie and Claire. It was a harrowing moment, and then I felt as gutted as Claire did when the story returns to the 20th Century. And then there’s another leap forward to a further 20 years in the future. Once I got to this point, I was content in the 20th century and not keen to return back in time again. There was the lure of Jamie and well, a Sassenach needs no more of an incentive IMO! Interestingly, I experienced the same emotions while watching the second series unfold on the screen.
I had always heretofore assumed that the tendency of eighteenth-century ladies to swoon was due to tight stays; now I rather thought it might be due to the idiocy of eighteenth-century men.
Predominantly focusing on their time in Paris View Spoiler » and then when they return to Scotland again « Hide Spoiler places Jamie and Claire on an equal footing. Jamie and Claire are both able to converse fluently in French and having family connections through the Frasers in the country makes settling into life in France as smooth as they could hope for. Claire takes a while to find her place in French society. When she does, she is again recognised for her talents that are proven to stand out in whatever era she finds herself in. As usual, it takes all of Claire’s self-control to not put people in their place or share her wisdom when it comes to not accepting society’s current rules. Her sharing moments ruffle a few feathers and certainly keeps the element of drama at a constant level throughout this book.
‘Jamie,’ I said. ‘Do you really think we’ll ever –’ ‘I do,’ he said, with certainty, not letting me finish. He leaned over and kissed my forehead. ‘I know it, Sassenach, and so do you. You were meant to be a mother, and I surely dinna intend to let anyone else father your children.’
‘Well, that’s good,’ I said. ‘Neither do I.’
It is not until you near the end of the book that the story returns to where it began. Slowly the mystery of the past is revealed and the future now becomes clouded with possibilities. The first time I read Dragonfly in Amber, I was so keen to pick up the next book in the series that I only jotted down a few sentences in lieu of a review. Reading this for the second time, it was easy to see how I turned around a curiosity into an obsession.
What I struggled with:
- Going back in time
- Fighting, unnecessary sacrifice, and loss
- The end…but there’s no need to worry, the next book is a click away!
What I loved:
- Mother Hildegarde
- Fergus! He is not blood-related but he might as well be 🙂
- The love, frustration and devotion Claire and Jamie have for each other
- The humour, especially when it came to Jamie’s commentary about beauty practice
Lily’s Rating: 5 Stars
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