Completely Captivated by Outlander: Book 2, Dragonfly in Amber

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Image from Diana Gabaldon©

SPOILER ALERT. This blog post contains some spoilers for book 2 of the Outlander Series, Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

Outlander has officially become my obsession; both the show and the books. For book 1, Outlander, I shared the synopsis for the show which is pretty much in parallel with the book. You can read more on my original blog post Completely Captivated by Outlander, A New Series on Starz. In all the interviews I’ve seen and heard about the show, the intention was a realization of the book, not an adaptation. I’m really glad of it, because I really love the story and don’t want it changed. I had never heard of Outlander until the show, but I immediately got the book out of pure impatience. Waiting a week in between episodes is excruciatingly painful. Now, we have to wait until February 2015 for the rest of the the season, but I’m way ahead of you! Well, some of you anyway. I’ve only just finished Dragonfly in Amber.

I was sad Outlander had to end but it ended with a good note. It had some closure and an actual ending with the classic “and they lived happily ever after” feel, except the word “happily” could easily be replaced with “tumultuously”. The story left enough open for a sequel to be written and an actual end if it had to be. Of course, I knew there are 7 more books to follow but still, I was sad it ended. Any-hoo, I knew I wasn’t going to stop there, so I got the second book. I was a little disappointed when I read the publisher’s summary. It starts off with Claire, 20 years after she left Jamie and returned to her own time… wha? It’s now the 60’s and she’s gone back to Scotland with her fiery red-haired daughter, Brianna… wha? No way! I want her with Jamie. My inner-spoiled-brat-self had a temper tantrum. Then, it goes on to explain that when she returned she stayed married to Frank and he raised Brianna. Double whammy! A story without Claire and Jamie together was not a story I wanted to hear, but I gave it go. If there are 8 books, then there must be more of Claire and Jamie, right? Why would people continue to read if the story was no longer about them? Good logic, right? Well, yes indeedy. It was very good and I am so glad I continued because it’s still all about Claire and Jamie.

Yes, it does start off in 1967 with Claire, 20 years older with daughter Brianna. She keeps her promise to Frank, that Brianna would only know him as her father so long as he lived. With Frank now dead (of natural causes, she didn’t kill him), she returns to Scotland to find out what happened to her beloved Jamie, all the men from Lallybroch and lastly to tell Brianna who her real father is or was (you figure out the semantics). She enlists the help of Roger, Reverend Wakefield’s adopted son, who is now a historian at Oxford in town to settle his father’s estate. Yes, he was the little boy sleeping in the chair in Outlander. After a few days of lying about the reasons why she came to Scotland, the story continues with her retelling Roger and Brianna about her and Jamie and the time traveling stones in it’s entirety. Of course, Brianna doesn’t believe her. It also happens to be the year that Geillis took her trip back in time. It was from the secret message Geillis gave to Claire through Dougal, “I think it is possible, but I do not know”, and “1967”. Claire also hopes to stop Geillis from crossing the stones but that would also mean that Roger’s timeline would be disrupted because his ancestors were Geillis and Dougal’s descendants. Confused yet? It’s a time travel paradox. It all ties together nicely and my retelling of the goings on does not give it any justice.

Dragonfly in Amber continues on where Outlander ends. Claire and Jamie remain in France but go to Paris to thwart the Stuart Rising. Their plan was to stop the rising so the Battle of Culloden never happens and the Scottish Highland ways are preserved and no one dies. Claire mourns Frank because they were told that Captain Jack Randell was killed during Jamie’s escape from Fort William. Since Captain Jack was his great, great, great-grandfather, his death would mean that Frank would have never existed either. It’s another time travel paradox. We find out soon that Captain Jack Randell is not dead but is alive and also living in Paris. Oh, and might I add, at the end of Outlander, Claire is pregnant so she is pregnant during the first half of story, but she loses the baby.

This book ends with a cliffhanger! Jamie takes Claire to the stones so she can return to her time and save their unborn child (2nd pregnancy). He’s convinced he’s doomed to die in the Battle of Culloden. He has just killed his uncle Dougal and couldn’t leave Claire on her own to live in war and turmoil. Then, it goes back to the present time, 1967, Claire, Roger and Brianna get to see the stones in action when they witness Geillis crossing over. Geillis turns out to really fit the role as the evil witch she was burned for in the first book.

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Image from Disney© Brave

I’m leaving out a lot, but I’m assuming you’ve already read the book and will correct me if I’ve stated anything incorrectly. If not, then I may have spoiled it for you, thus the spoiler alert warning at the top of the post. I’ve started book 3, Voyager, but only the first few paragraphs.

On an entirely different note, is it just me or does anyone else think this too? I picture, if Claire and Jamie were cartoonized, 20 years into marriage, would look like Queen Elinor and King Fergus in Disney’s Brave. Brianna would be stubborn, fiery red-haired Princess Merida… anyone? Just me?

Oh yeah, before I forget, new word learned: sojourn – a temporary stay.

Only in literature!

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