Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Bibliophiles! It is time again for the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon! I just finished reading Drums of Autumn, which is the fourth book in the series. I won’t include any spoilers for this novel, but the post may include spoilers if you aren’t up to this point in the series.


First, a quick summary, courtesy of DianaGabaldon.com:

DRUMS OF AUTUMN is the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series, following VOYAGER.  Here Claire and Jamie, with Jamie’s nephew Young Ian, seek to find a place for themselves in the colony of North Carolina, treading a dangerous line between Governor Tryon’s patronage and Claire’s knowledge of the brewing revolution in America, between the help of Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta, last of his MacKenzie kin (“MacKenzies are charming as larks in the field–but sly as foxes with it.”) and the unwanted obligations of her slave-run plantation.  As they find mountain land and begin to build their first cabin, their newfound life is bittersweet, with the thought Brianna–the daughter Claire has left behind, the daughter Jamie will never see–always near.

Brianna is thinking of her parents, too.   And she’s discovered something dangerous in the historical record; a notice of a fatal fire on Fraser’s Ridge.   The time-traveler’s ultimate dilemma raises its head once again:  can the past be changed?   If it can…what’s the price?

Roger MacKenzie has found the same newspaper notice–and after some soul-searching, has decided not to tell Brianna about it, not wanting her to risk her life for what may be impossible.   She doesn’t tell him, either–and his first inkling that she’s found that notice is a shipment of boxes from Brianna, containing her family memorabilia and a note reading, “Everybody needs a history.   This is mine.  Please look after it ’til I come back.”

Roger follows Brianna into the past, where she has gone on a quest to save her parents’ lives, and upon discovering that she has sailed for America, he takes ship himself…with a Captain Bonnet.

How does time-travel work?  Who can pass the stones, and how?  What are the risks?  And what would make those risks worth taking?   Only love.

I have some mixed feelings about this novel. One, it was a much slower-to-start book than its counterparts in the series. It just drug on for a bit. I wasn’t sure where the story was even going to go. But at the same time, I loved the change of scenery! How cool to feel like you’re part of taming the American wilderness! It also kept the story from being too repetitive. No more England vs. Scotland focus. Instead, Jaime and Claire had a chance to rediscover each other and re-build their relationship. They had space and time and an opportunity to define their lives. But of course, there was still plenty of struggle in the book to keep the reading exciting! There were Native Americans, political intrigue, and of course, the natural elements!

Following this series, I figured at some point Brianna would time-travel as well, and it was exciting to finally witness her journey in this novel. I felt pain for her sufferings (which I will not currently expose), but I also admired her strength of will and sense of independence. Also, I appreciated how there were parallels between the Brianna-Roger relationship and the Claire-Jaime relationship, without it being overbearing and tedious.


One of my favorite things about this entire series has been the idea of testing true love. After all the trials and hardships these characters have endured, it’s amazing that they still find solace and comfort in each other. I think it’s uplifting and I enjoy reading their stories for it.

Finally, a couple of my favorite quotes from Drums of Autumn:

“By blood and by choice, we make our ghosts; we haunt ourselves.”

“…a witness that enduring love was possible, a love strong enough to withstand separation and hardship, strong enough to outlast time.”

Until next time, bibliophiles….

Voyager: The Third Book in the Outlander Series

Good morning bibliophiles!

Last night I wrapped up Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. It was a superb installation in the Outlander series and I’m so excited to share my thoughts about it with you! Like my other posts about the Outlander series, I will say this: I won’t include spoilers for Voyager, but based on the timeline of the novel, there will probably be spoilers for the earlier books in the series so beware!


The previous novel, Dragonfly in Amber, left off with a cliffhanger when Roger tells Claire that he believes Jamie Fraser is alive back in his own time. Voyager picks up the story directly. Claire, Brianna, and Roger take on the burden of researching what may have happened to Jamie after Culloden. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that OF COURSE Claire goes through the stones to find Jaime again. THEY ARE SOULMATES. Duh. Anyways, as usual, Claire and Jaime are swept up into a whirlwind of adventure and trouble, much of it taking place on the high seas and in the West Indies.


When I first finished Outlander, I could make a fair guess at where the second book would continue the story. When I finished Dragonfly in Amber, I could presume that Claire would attempt to return to Jaime, but I had no idea beyond that where their story would take them. Voyager definitely took me on a journey as a reader. Less involved in historical happenings and more wrapped up in interpersonal relationships and magic, this book wowed me at every turn. There were several occasions where my mouth literally hung open or I said embarrassing things out loud, such as, “Oh snap!”


Also, I just want to give a shout-out to SamanthaWho because I follow her blog Dream by Day and it’s inspired me to mark some of my favorite quotes in books as I read! I’m a little sad to say that I didn’t get started except near the end of Voyager, but here is one quote in particular that stood out to me:

“Blood in firelight is black,
not red.”

The one thing I struggled with in this book was that it moved so quickly at times that it was difficult for me to follow exactly what was happening. And NO, this wasn’t after a couple glasses of wine, this was while sober. For example, closer to the end of the book (seriously, stop worrying – no spoilers) there’s a lot of black magic voodoo-type stuff that just starts going down. Up to this point, the books had been fairly realistic other than the idea of time-traveling through a stone circle. Okay, reading that last sentence out of context makes me sound crazy; but seriously, there wasn’t a lot of magic or inexplicable things happening heretofore. It’s not that I disliked the new direction, but it was an adjustment in my mind for sure.

Overall, this picture just about sums it up…


As usual, between these monster length books, I am going to take a break to do a few quick reads. My next two books will be Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection by Marissa Meyer and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My next audiobook listen will be The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice. I mentioned that I like to jump genres a lot right?

Until next time, bibliophiles…

Dragonfly in Amber: The Second Book in the Outlander Series

Hello again bibliophiles!

I finally completed the hulking, nearly-thousand-page novel that is Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon, the second novel in the Outlander series. Here is my warning: while I will not include spoilers for this book, reading this post may spoil the first book, Outlander! So if you haven’t finished the first novel or it’s sitting on your to-be-read shelf, then this is not the post for you!


Some of you are still here? Oh, good. Let’s get on with it then. If you are like myself and loved Outlander, then you will LOVE Dragonfly in Amber. It is the perfect continuation of the story. The book starts out back in Claire’s original timeline, so it’s obvious that at some point she must have returned from the eighteenth century. Also, she has with her her daughter, Brianna, and Claire is back in Scotland, on a mission, after the death of her husband, Frank Randall. She has requested the help of Roger, the adopted son of Reverend Reginald Wakefield, an old friend and historian; she wants to know what happened to the men of Lallybroch during the second Jacobite rising


Flash forward a bit, and the book returns to Claire in the eigtheenth century, picking up right where Outlander left off. Ninety percent of the book follows the story line of Claire and Jaime as they try their best to prevent the bloody carnage of Scotland that would be the result of a failed revolution. Finally, the book does end back in 1968 with a resolution to Claire’s original quest.

The book is a masterpiece. It alternates between fast-paced action and political intrigue and tender character development. Written beautifully, it truly carries you on a journey back in time to Scotland, Paris, and various other exotic (well, for me) places. There’s plenty of witty dialogue and breath-stealing surprises. OF COURSE, the best part is getting to spend more time exploring the Claire-Jaime love-fight dynamic. They make such a feisty couple and their interactions grab my attention like no other fictional characters’ relationships have in a while.


On a sort of random note, one thing that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about this series, and a huge shout-out to the author, is how amazingly she nailed the speech for different characters. I couldn’t do a Scottish accent to save my life, but how Diana Gabaldon writes Jaime’s (and other characters’) speech leads to a perfectly pronounced accent in my head. It really helps me sink into the story and feel like the people are REAL. There’s also the occasional phrase in Gaelic and slang that helps the dialogue to feel realistic. Any one else find this weirdly satisfying?


I will shortly embark upon the adventure that is the third Outlander novel, Voyager, but for a quick break I am going to devour The Martian by Andy Weir. Yeah, I know, I’m behind the curve. Get over it! I also just started listening to Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Look for those posts coming soon(-ish, because I work a lot).

Until next time bibliophiles!