Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Echo was written in a way whereas there was actually 4 different stories going on at once which I loved and how in the end, they were all brought together. Brianna has never been a favorite of mine, can't quite put my finger on it, in the past she didn't have much depth, I guess. In Echo, I did enjoy the Brianna/Roger story, but it seemed more in tune with Jemmie than his parents.
Lord John is wrapped up in the military and trying to locate his injured nephew, his story, permeates throughout, but he doesn't come alive on the pages to me in Echo.
So that leaves William and Ian. Ian has always been a favorite of mine, his relationship with his uncle is touching and can be quite hilarious at times. William is relatively new and I found that I like him tremendously. He's military through and through, honors and respects his father, Lord John, they have a good relationship. William and Ian meet by chance again and forge a relationship of sorts. Ian's story in Echo has many different angles, his dealings with Arch Bug, his longing for his past Indian wife, his dedication to his dog, Rollo, his helpfulness to Jamie and Claire and how he finds a new love. Yes, Ian has come into his own in Echo and I have loved the experience of seeing him grow as a young boy who started his uncle's print shop on fire to the man he's become.
Ian is adorable, funny, caring, fierce and loyal. Ian gets my vote as favorite character in An Echo in the Bone, I look forward to many more stories of Ian even after the story of Jamie and Claire ends(which I hope won't be anytime soon!)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Image by informationgoddess29 via Flickr****WARNING*** SPOILERS*********
Diana Gabaldon's 7th installment of her acclaimed Outlander Series, An Echo in the Bone was much anticipated and happy to hear it is not the last in the Jamie and Claire saga. And congratulations to Diana for being numero uno again on NY Times Best Seller List!!
This book is different from the others in that the amount of time that passes which is quite short as compared to her other installments. It's about a year that transpires and I find that due to the length of the book(slightly over 800 pages), I was not expecting this. I am so used to going on a lengthy journey with the couple. Diana also included at length separate stories of Roger/Brianna, Lord John Grey/William Ransom and Ian Murray. Not quite sure how I feel about this. I look forward to listening to the audio.
A startling event in the beginning devastates the Fraser's and Ian regarding the Frenchman's Gold. The repeated theme here regarding the gold reminds me that the longer and harder one pursues wealth for selfish and sinister purpose will always end in tragedy.
I was delighted to see that Fergus has a mysterious man searching for him and he must go into hiding. However, his story line does not evolve much in Echo, my hope is this will be wrapped up quite nicely(?) in the eighth installment.
Jamie's quest is to return to Scotland to retrieve his printing press, he feels he's better suited to wage war with the British(something he's done most of his adult life) with the printed word rather than the sword. He's older now and not as agile or willing, I suppose. Jamie and Claire along with Ian make the long journey to obtain passage to Scotland, but of course becomes way-layed by pirates and when they survive that tradegy they are then pressed into service by the Continental army.
Lord John Grey and his adopted son, William Ransom, Lord Elsmere who is also a British soldier are brought into the story in a large way. Lord John and William go about their spying and such which I confess I was not that into. Lord John is trying to locate his nephew who has been injured in the war and is a prisoner of the Continental Army. William learns just how wild and unsettled America is and encounters a few dangerous episodes in addition to meeting up with Ian Murray. These two met only briefly when they were both young boys at Fraser's Ridge but develop a mutual respect for one another.
In the meantime, Roger and Brianna back in the 20th century have discovered a box of letters Claire and Jamie wrote in hopes they would find them. A very nice touch so that the family could still somehow stay connected. I really enjoyed these segments especially when Diana uses the letter writing that relates to the reader of transpiring events.
A new set of characters are introduced, the Hunter's, a brother and sister who happened to be Quaker. Denzell Hunter is a doctor and his sister, Rachel accompanies him as they have no other family. Diane sets it up so that William, Jamie/Claire and Ian all meet them separately but are all rejoined in the end to save Rachel from a man of Ian's past.
Jamie is approached to transport the body of a Fraser cousin back to Scotland which is what they had intended on doing from the beginning, but Claire is needed to attend to a very sick child of Fergus and Marsali, so even though, historically, nothing ever comes good of Jamie and Claire being separated, they must. Which of course sets up a chain of events that is cataclysmic on so many levels! I was also much delighted to see Jenny brought back into the story.
And of course, it just can't be only the Fraser's who are in a ****storm(sorry, that's best I could come up with!), the MacKenzie's back in the 20th century are dealing with strange visitors and inquisitive collegues who will shape the future of both families.
An Echo in the Bone did not dissapoint, but it is not my favorite. The ending seemed too rushed and to be honest, I'm sorry, not for one minute do I believe that Claire would do what she did, it seemed totally unnatural for her especially how much in love she is with Jamie and the connection they share. However, for the sake of shock and awe, I guess Diana got our attention!
The Revolutionary War is in full swing and there are many chapters devoted to describing camp life, battles, caring for the wounded and bringing into the Fraser's experience in all this are actual historical figures, a great touch by Diana!
A true fan of Diana Gabaldon will enjoy An Echo in the Bone for it's historical content and the incredible story of Jamie and Claire, a most revered fictional couple, but one that the reader will always carry as true in their hearts and mind
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Anyway, here is my favorite character from ABOSAA. In all of the Outlander books, I try to choose a character that I really enjoyed other than Claire or Jamie. ABOSAA had many new characters introduced, I liked them all. Ian's story tears my heart out, Brianna is just ok, I don't know why I can't warm up to her. I've picked Roger twice already and Lord John once, soooooo I think it has to be Mulva Christie.
Claire took her under her wing as an apprentice/assistant and became delighted in Mulva's interest in medicine. Mulva does not have a mother, it's just her father, Tom and brother, Allen. Claire accidently comes upon Mulva being thrashed by her father and this act brings about a memory of Claire being "spanked" by Jamie back in Outlander. Claire and Jamie have a very interesting conversation regarding this again!
Anyway, I liked Mulva from the beginning because she seemed different than the other young girls, there is a mystery there. Mulva has a defiant attitude towards her father, Mulva has plans, but woman in the 18th century are treated for the most part, no better than slaves, most are extensions of the men in their family. So Mulva does what she must to survive and is put into a most troubling situation.
As the story of Mulva develops, you begin to see the predicament woman are placed in and the hardships they must endure. Revelations of Mulva's mother was quite unexpected as was her father's tormented feelings.
While Mulva's story is tragic, she spoke to me as strong-willed young woman just trying to survive and make her own mark when the men in her life only wanted to surpress her.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Whew, talk about making it down to the wire! But actually I'm glad it worked out this way so when I get my Echo in the Bone this week, everything will be fresh in my mind. Initially reading ABOSAA in 2005, I honestly forgot alot! So thank you to Michelle @Readers Respite for sponsoring this challenge.
This sixth installment is much about the impending Revolutionary War but also much about the inhabitants of Fraser's Ridge. Groups of men calling themselves the "Committees of Safety" are going around the back country of North Carolina burning out people who will not join their cause to support the Crown. The "regulators" are causing civil unrest in the colonies, Jamie and Claire know exactly when war will break, but now they are in the thick of things, as it were, experiencing what was not written in the history books.
I found myself comparing the trials and tribulations of the folks of Fraser Ridge to "Payton Place"! Illegitimate children, affairs, deceit, in addition to kidnapping, rape, murder, sickness and the like. This installment has it all! Claire herself being the victim of many of the above. Diana has really put Claire through the "wringer"!
Claire also encounters other time travelers who help her but also in the end only want to use her knowledge of gemstones which ends quite violently.
Stephen Bonnet makes a repeat appearance, though the Frasers and MacKenzies thought they had rid of him a few years back. His demise is met with much trepidation from Brianna, can she do what she must to rid of him forever?
Through all the commotion and violence brought to the two families, the Frasers and MacKenzies continue to thrive and live in the wilderness with only their love and determination to survive. Brianna is quite the artist and she manages to make a bit of money drawing portraits in addition to making match sticks, water ways and hunting for the family. Roger has finally found his calling and becomes a minister, something they are both comfortable with. Claire finds an apprentice to assist with her doctoring and she couldn't be more happy. She makes ether which is met with much apprehension amongst the residents of Fraser's Ridge, is she truly a witch who can put people to sleep? Jamie continues his commission as Indian Agent and of course rescues the family in many forms and fashions, he wouldn't be Jamie Fraser otherwise!
A former prison mate of Jamie in Ardsmuir, Tom Christie and family, who was introduced in Fiery Cross, settle in Fraser Ridge and bring much to the story. Diana weaves their story into the Frasers/MacKenzie's lives with brilliance and excitement, one can never forget what the Christie family means to them.
Since the return of Ian from the Mohawk, he returns to himself somewhat, but there is a secret he is harboring in which he finally confides with Brianna, his cousin whom they both have a close bond. His story is sad and tragic and hopefully will continue in the next installment. Ian is always close by his Uncle Jamie to assist in rescuing and the like, I love their bantering!
Fergus and Marsali's story is brief but touching. Fergus has much to overcome with his handicap and finally with assistance from Jamie, they move to the city and Fergus becomes a printer, an occupation he is more comfortable with and in which he knows he can provide for his family.
Jamie and Lord John correspond quite bit, he doesn't make an appearance until the last few chapters when Lord John brings his son, William to North Carolina. Jamie must make a decision which side he will fight when war comes and this decision will make or break their long friendship. Brianna meets William and she is shocked to learn of a secret Jamie and Lord John have been keeping from her.
The mystery behinds the Frenchmen's Gold is finalized in this book and it was quite surprising to learn who had a hand in it all.
Brianna and Roger also conceive and a very sick baby girl is born to them. Claire knows she cannot operate, so the family is torn between staying in the past or going to the future to save the child. A historical find in the end thrilled me, Diana couldn't of written it any other way!
A Breath of Snow and Ashes is by far one of the best books in the Outlander series. Davina Porter is magnificent as always in her narrations, she truly is a talented actor.
And through it all, Claire and Jamie remain steadfast and true, though not to say, their love is not tested. Diana has made these two fictional characters so real, it's hard to believe it is a writing of fiction. You will be hard pressed to find another couple written in fiction that seeps into your mind and soul and stays with you the reader who just can't wait to hear more and never wanting their story to end!