A review of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, Book 8 of the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
It’s been a while but I’m back. I haven’t started Season 3 of the Outlander TV show because I want to BINGE watch it. So, I thought I might go down memory lane and finally write my review for book 8.
On Diana Gabaldon’s website she mentions there’s going to be a book 9 called Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone. It won’t be done this year because she’s doing the historical research and writing it at the same time. I’ve read most of the excerpts released on her website so far and I’m really excited about reading the book in it’s entirety. It would be great if I can post reviews again titled “Completely Captivated by Outlander”.
If I might make a suggestion though… Keep it short-er, please?
“My books are huge, and take an enormous amount of time to write. Plus I have to do a lot of historical and other research for each book. (See my blog from September, 2016, “Want to Watch Me Write?”) All of my eight major novels in the OUTLANDER series have taken 2-3 years, or more, to write and research and publish; they take time to create and cannot be rushed.”
-Diana Gabaldon, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone, www.dianagabaldon.com
SPOILER ALERT. I’m just here to help my fellow Outlander fans get the gist of this book without the tedious task of having to read or listen to it. Spoilers to come!
I’m ashamed to say that after listening to this audio book a few years ago I was glad to be done and was hoping it was going to be the last one. It took a few hours but I raced through the audio book this time to jog my memory. I admit, I skipped a lot.
By this time Claire and Jamie are old. Claire is in her early 60’s and Jamie is a few years younger. In the 1770’s that’s probably the equivalent to being 80 years old today. It gets kind of uncomfortable when they have sex because now they’re grandparents. Can you imagine? I can, because it’s thoroughly described in the books. It was hot and sexy when they were in their 20’s but now not so much.
The book starts where the last one ended and with a good cliffhanger. At the end of An Echo in the Bone, all hell was breaking loose. Jamie came back from the dead. William Ransom discovered he was a bastard. Claire has sex Lord John and marries him. Jem is kidnapped in the 1980’s. Fun stuff, truly outrageous.
There were three plot lines or timelines happening. The 1770’s where Claire and Jamie exist, the 1980’s where Brianna and family live at Lallybroch, and lastly the 1730’s where Roger and Buck find themselves. My recap/review will be out of sequence but what the heck, you’re here for the spoilers anyway.
1739 Roger and Buck
I didn’t care so much for the Roger and Buck experience in the 1730’s. It did fill in some holes like flashbacks and prequels do but I’m not a big fan of flashbacks and I would rather have a prequel be its own thing. We are introduced to more travelers here, but I didn’t find them interesting enough to care. The only part that grabbed my interest in this timeline was Geillis Duncan.
Buck was just too annoying for me. He was the bad guy a few books back. He had Roger hanged for looking at his wife the wrong way. Distant relative or not, I would not be hanging around the guy who almost had me killed. Especially if he destroyed my singing voice, which I cried about for the length of two extremely long books. He dies there anyway and I was happy about that.
Somehow Brianna, Jem, and Mandy travel through the stones and meets up with Roger in 1739. It happens…
1980 Brianna and the Kids
Good segue to the 1980’s. Brianna’s crazy co-worker kidnaps her son Jem because he knows about the gold and wants to find it after having seen old letters written by Jamie. There was mention of a conspiracy or prophecy of some sort which made this part of the book kind of ridiculous.
Side note rant: I’m okay with ridiculousness. The rules for this Outlander universe was defined in book 1. It established how “it” worked, but all preceding books just threw those basic principles out the window.
The crazy co-worker tries to get Brianna to have sex with him to get her son back. Can’t this girl get a break? Seems there’s always someone trying to rape her. She kicks his butt, of course, and locks him in the house. Turns out Jem didn’t get taken back in time after all. Baby sister Mandy is kind of psychic and she finds her brother.
After a car chase Brianna escapes with her kids to Boston and meets up with Joe Abernathy. She tells him everything but returns to Scotland with her kids in tow, to Craigh na Dun to find Roger in 1739.
Side note rant: See? This isn’t Stargate, where you can dial in a specific time or destination. It’s supposed to be primitive and mystical and dangerous. People have died passing through time without the right type of gemstone and/or precious metal.
1778 Claire, Jamie and the Rest of Them
In the 1770’s timeline too many things happen and for the most part even after going through the book for the second time around, I still can’t remember much of it. Many of the new characters were uninteresting. The characters I did like are either dead or have become unbearable. Murtagh has been dead. Fergus is whiny and self-loathing. Young Ian is equally whiny and self-loathing. Geillis went crazy with syphilis and was dead. Even my beloved Jamie and Claire had become annoying.
This book was better than the last few but it was just too long. For a while, the series had been leading up to the American Revolution and we finally get there with George Washington and Benedict Arnold thrown into the mix.
Everyone thinks Jamie and Jenny are dead, but surprise, they’re alive. Let’s not forget that Claire has married Lord John and they had sex to mourn Jamie. They married to save Claire from being arrested as a spy, but I guess people grieve in their own way. They tell Jamie about it and of course a fight ensues. It is exactly how I would expect a man from the 1770’s to react in that situation, with intent to kill. Jamie gives Lord John a good ass-beating but they’re interrupted by the continental army and Lord John gets taken as a prisoner. Jamie on the other hand gets promoted by General George Washington.
Meanwhile, Claire is doing her doctor stuff for Lord John’s brother with asthma. Eventually Jamie comes home, they make up and he’s now general of the continental army. He has a heart to heart with his bastard William about his birth and then there was a period where they’re all just running around chasing or saving each other. Not just Claire and Jamie but all the characters. Young Ian with William Ransom over Rachel, and Lord John with Jamie over Claire among other things.
Someone has to get shot before things wrap up and it’s Claire. She lives because Denzel is a surgeon and he gets the bullet out. I’m pretty sure they used ether during the surgery. Denzel is Rachel’s brother who is in love with William’s cousin Dottie. I can’t believe I remembered that part! Ian marries Rachel and they have a son, so all that moping around for an entire book over Emily was for nothing. Claire and Jamie eventually get themselves out of the war. Jamie finally decides his body can’t keep up with his honor and declines future offers to lead an army. They find themselves back on Fraser’s Ridge collecting their family along the way.
It was satisfying to get closure for one thing. Toward the end Jamie finds the guy who raped Claire and kills him. He didn’t let him go or turn him over to the authorities like he did with Stephen Bonnet, the guy who raped and kidnapped his daughter.
At the end, Brianna and family (including Roger) show up on Fraser’s Ridge. “Hello, the House” Roger calls out with his cracked voice. They hug it out and the book is over with a setup for the next one.
Last side note rant: Brianna and her kids travel through Craigh na Dun and make it to 1739. They find Roger, then I assume travel through again to 1779 and returns to Fraser’s Ridge. End rant.
After writing this review I am tempted to go back and watch the Outlander TV show from the beginning. That should get me back to being Completely Captivated by Outlander.
What did you think of MOBY? Share your thoughts. I’m sure I missed a lot.