Final thoughts on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (by Jill)

outlander cover

It took every ounce of self-control I had to not walk to my book room Sunday night and pick up the next book in this series. Diana Gabaldon has a way with words.

So where was I with my summary? Ah, yes. Claire and Jamie come home from the trip where they got married, and settle into a routine and happy existence at Castle Leoch. Basically the rest of the book is about how Claire treats scrapes and bruises as the castle physician and Jamie trains horses, and everything is lovely. Ha! Not at all. I think this phase of their marriage lasts about two days. Then Jamie has to go off on a hunting trip with the Duke of Sandringham, a known homosexual, who enjoys Jamie’s company (he does this to ingratiate himself with the Duke so maybe he can help get him a pardon for the murder he didn’t commit but is wanted for). When Jamie’s gone, Claire goes to see Geillis Duncan because Laoghaire says Geillis is looking for her. Interestingly, Geillis is arrested for witchcraft and tossed in the thieves pit in town, and Claire is caught up in the mob. She is put on trial for witchcraft along with Geillis. Jamie returns just in time to rescue Claire, and Geillis sacrifices herself to save Claire. Or does she…?

The downside of Claire and Jamie running after he rescues her is that we never get to have a big confrontation between Claire and Laoghaire. I really would have enjoyed that scene, but maybe it’s still to come. Somewhere along the line Claire comes clean to Jamie about where and when she is from, and he takes her to Craigh na Dun and tells her that she needs to return to her time. He then takes off to a nearby cottage to wait for her to go. She, of course, doesn’t go, because who could leave the man who just saved her from being burned at the stake? It’s not an easy decision for our Claire, by any means. I felt her conflict. Gabaldon does a great job. And then she and Jamie travel to Jamie’s family home, Lallybroch, and they live happily ever after. No, of course not. They do go to Lallybroch, and meet Jamie’s sister Jenny, and her husband Ian, and their son little Jamie. There is a brief period of happiness here, and peace. It was sort of boring, but nice. And then, Jamie gets captured by British soldiers and ends up in a prison, at the mercy of good old Black Jack Randall. Claire leads a daring escape, but not before Randall tortures and rapes Jamie. Eventually they make it across the English Channel so Jamie can recuperate at the Abbey where his uncle is a monk. There, he develops a horrible infection in the hand that Randall broke in like a thousand places. Eventually he heals, and lovely things happen, and it’s beautiful and wonderful, and Claire is pregnant, and they live happily ever after. Maybe this time it’s true. If nothing else, the book ends on a happy note. But we all know there are many more pages of this saga to come.

So yeah. I know Bethany says this series is very uneven, but I don’t care, and I know she doesn’t either. I’m going to be a good girl and read a couple books off my list of “assigned reading,” and then I’m going back to see Jamie and Claire as soon as possible. Maybe we should change the name of our blog to Postcards from Lallybroch….



This entry was posted in Diana Gabaldon, Fiction - Fantasy, Fiction - general, Fiction - Historical, Reviews by Jill, TIME TRAVEL. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Final thoughts on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (by Jill)

  1. bedstrom says:

    There will be many, many confrontations between Claire and Laoghaire. That whole saga continues at least until Voyager or maybe longer. And I do care that the quality of the series isn’t always very good (especially after I heard Diana Gabaldon speak and found out how arrogant she is about her writing. I think the poor quality of The Fiery Cross, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in my Own Heart’s blood are an embarrassment to the series, but I can also point to what I love about the other books.

    • badkitty1016 says:

      The best part about your comment is now I know where to go when I’m trying to remember which books in the series not to expect very much from. I know that you actually care about the spottiness of the series, and I had a feeling you would call me on that, but I also know that you’ll probably keep reading it unless it gets really absurdly awful. So that’s really what I meant, that you’re loyal to the series. At least that’s the impression I get. 🙂

      • badkitty1016 says:

        Also, I think I tend to generalize more when I’m in a hurry to get a post done. I fell asleep on my laptop last night when I was supposed to be writing this, and had to rush tonight. I really hate it when things get in the way of a good blog post.

      • bedstrom says:

        Yes, I suppose so, although I still have one more Lord John book to read (and have no desire to do so) and am not too thrilled by the fact that there’s apparently one more book coming.

      • badkitty1016 says:

        This Lord John business confuses me, probably because I haven’t met him yet. Also, what did Diana Gabaldon say about her writing that came off as arrogant? I’m interested to hear. We never really talked about the reading of hers that you went to.

  2. bedstrom says:

    Lord John is introduced in Dragonfly in Amber but only in passing. He’s one of those minor characters that become major characters sort of by accident (like Fonzie and Urkel). He is “the good gay man” in this series – I am convinced that Diana Gabaldon created his character to defend herself against real or imagined complaints of homophobia since Jack Randall is so awful. Lord John is also in love with Jamie, and he has many times been in a position of power over Jamie, but he is always 100% respectful. Over time he becomes bound up in Jamie’s life in all kinds of complicated ways (which I would love to tell you about, but I won’t unless you want me to).

    There is a 20-year gap between Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. The books that are specifically about Lord John take place during that 20-year gap. DG recommends that we read the Lord John books between Voyager and Drums of Autumn – which is what I did, except for the one that I still haven’t read, but I don’t necessarily think you have to.

    The post I wrote about the DG reading covers the arrogance, I think (I’m not saying that because I don’t want to explain it over again; I just think the post probably contains details that I have forgotten). The main thing that I remember now is that someone asked her what kind of help she gets from editors, and she visibly snorted and said, “I am a PROFESSIONAL WRITER. I never send my publishers anything but FINISHED MANUSCRIPTS, and I NEVER allow an editor or alter my work.” I just found this ironic since she may need an editor more than any other writer alive today (with the possible exception of Pat Conroy).

  3. badkitty1016 says:

    Yes, I remember that comment from your post now. I sometimes wish I had that level of supreme confidence in my ability to do, well, ANYTHING, but at the same time that’s probably not the best way to live–resting on one’s laurels is no way to go through life.

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