Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber
(Outlander Series Book #2)
by Diana Gabaldon

Genre : Historical | Romance | Time-Travel | etc.

The book carries on the story begun in OUTLANDER, but begins with a brief framing story set in 1968, in which Claire Randall visits a young Oxford don named Roger MacKenzie in Inverness, in search of answers for her daughter, Brianna. Her request is unusual; she has a list of names, Jacobite soldiers who fought with Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s army, who took part in the disastrous battle at Culloden in 1746. What happened to these men, she asks, following the battle? Roger is surprised at her intensity, but intrigued at her question–and intrigued even more by her red-haired daughter. The answer to Roger’s search leads all three to an unexpected grave–and to a revelation that will turn all their lives inside-out.

Claire tells Roger and Brianna what happened during the year before the Stuart Rising: the political intrigues, the chain of spying, betrayal, and murder that led her and her husband James Fraser from the court of Louis XV to the windswept moors of the Scottish Highlands and the blood-soaked ground of Culloden. The horrifying trap of circumstance and honor that sent her back to the future–and the present set of circumstances that have led her to her quest, and to a still more shocking revelation.

The story begins with Claire back in her modern time with her 20 year old daughter. Both are traveling to Scotland for the first time since her husband's recent death and Claire wants to do some research on the past and re-visit some historical sites. Yet along the way, Claire begins to honestly & heartbreakingly explain her time-traveling years on how she and Jamie escaped Scotland for France. They were on a mission to change the future, but became involved deeply within the monarchy and other monumental figures. Yet, trouble eventually finds them again and they both realize that the "future" must be faced regardless of the outcome and head back to Scotland. Back in the "future future" Claire discovers more people other than herself have a direct link to the past and her daughter, Brianna, must face some harsh facts herself.

This book is truly as complicated, elaborate, and as long as Book #1, but no where near as romantic and exciting as a budding relationship can be in the beginning phases. Claire & Jamie are past their "honeymoon stage" and are now dealing with establishing a new life within a new country with the dark details of what's to come barreling down on them. They foolishly bicker (which is adorable since they have some amazingly funny rumbles) and commit some bitter marriage faux paus, but flourish as a couple. Lots of historical figures are introduced and many interesting cultural tid-bits are thrown into the story as well. Be ready for a ride, since the reader gets two new worlds (the future and the past) to follow with fascinating characters in both.

Likes: Claire's involvement with the monastery hospital was both intriguing and frightening.

Dislikes: Jamie came off as a totally different person from book #1, since now he was truly the 'Jack of all trades', he became almost too unrealistic as a character. Also, I felt many of the stories themes were repeats from the first tale: whipping as punishment, rape, etc.


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