I love Diana Gabaldon books. I spent all day today reading (okay and napping and doing laundry) and I really felt like I made good progress! I’m on page 300! And that’s not even a third of the way through the book! I don’t read long books for just this reason. So the last time I updated you guys I was just finishing up the first section of the book, which takes place in the twentieth century. Part Two finds us in France, in February, 1744. Jamie and Claire have fled Scotland in the wake of Jamie’s torture by Black Jack Randall, and he recuperated in a monastery run by his uncle Alexander Fraser. Jamie and Claire’s plan is to try to stop the Jacobite uprising of 1745 because the final battle, at Culloden, is a rout, and many of the Highland Scots who the Frasers know will die. The plan is to begin working for Jamie’s cousin Jared Fraser who is a wine merchant to the nobility of Paris, and attempt to get in with the Jacobites in Paris and therefore gain access to Charles Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” the leader of the uprising of 1745. Claire and Jamie don’t seem to have a concrete plan in place as of yet, besides gathering information, which kind of bugs me.
The first third of the book has been primarily setting up characters and relationships for what I assume will be the more action-packed next six hundred pages of the novel. I’m not trying to say that I’m bored, because I’m not, but there isn’t much happening besides gossiping and chess and court intrigues. I’m used to these characters galloping across the Scottish Highlands getting into skirmishes and battling the Redcoats, not going from dinner party to dinner party, meeting persons of historical importance, such as Louis XV and Prince Charles Stuart.
Also, Claire is pregnant, and keeps having morning sickness. Jamie wants her to stay at home and be a typical eighteenth century lady, which of course our Claire cannot do. She finds herself occupation volunteering at the charity hospital in Paris, where she tends to wounds and helps with other tasks befitting a former WWII combat nurse. To add more intrigue and drama, upon their arrival in Paris Claire greatly angers a rival of Jared’s in the wine trade, the Comte St. Germain, by announcing publicly that one of his ships is contaminated with smallpox. This results in the burning of the ship and its contents, which was a very valuable shipment of wine. Since this episode, the Comte has been glowering in corners at balls, but nothing has come of it, though I’m pretty sure it’s going to sooner rather than later. Jamie also hires a kid named Fergus to be his personal pickpocket—his specific task it to intercept letters going to Prince Charles so Jamie and Claire can make copies of them to determine where things stand with plans for the 1745 uprising. Fergus was living in a brothel when Jamie finds him and hires him. He’s definitely going to be a major character in the series (because I’m a cheater and read plot summaries for some of the future books).
I think that’s pretty much all I have to say for tonight. I’m looking forward to learning what happens next!