Someone has named it "Droughtlander" and Outlander fans know exactly what I mean. I've found a very good remedy to cope with its symptoms: going on reading the rest of the saga. Someone told me I'm lucky because I still have so much to read and discover. Good, then! Lucky me has taken her task quite seriously and undertaken her journey through the world of Outlander books enthusiastically.

Voyager - Book Blurb

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love. 

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
First of all, I must admit Diana Gabaldon has surprised me more than once so far. Lots of unexpected twists and reversals of fortune and thousands of pages! Her creativity and craft are astonishing.

Furthermore,  my storage of visual aids, though incomplete at this point of my reading (the TV series is way back in the narration respect to Gabaldon's printed production), has been of remarkable support in this very long journey and has make it more pleasant, if possible  (see picture below). 

Not long ago I posted my review of book 2, Dragonfly in Amber, which I rated four stars out of  five. But for book 3, Voyager, I need a full score: five stars! I've loved reading it more than the previous one and so far it is my best favourite.

What I liked the most in book 3 is Jamie's story after Culloden, those long sad years without Claire narrated from his point of view. This is the first time we see things from Jamie's eyes and for once we know more about him than Claire herself.

Those tough years will make young Jamie, who was already an out of ordinary character, the extraordinary man Claire will have the joy and the luck to have back in her life after a 20-year-long separation.

At a careful reading, you can recognize what Diana Gabaldon is very good at, which is, of course historical research plus irony, but I think she has a special gift for character development. She handles Jamie's and Claire's growth superbly and you can just nod, giggle and admire her talent. She's a verra good story - teller.

To cut short and summarize effectively  such a thick and rich book is quite impossible. That's why I'm just going to discuss moments and characters I found relevant in my own personal journey through Voyager.

The Reunions

With Frank ...

Frank is not the perfect gentleman we found in book 1.  As we suspected, he has flaws,  he can be even mischievous, vengeful, jealous and ... human, thank God. He is Black Jack Randall's descendant, after all.
That let us feel less guilty while shipping Claire and Jamie passionately, because,  honestly, who went on reading after book 1, in hope of a  final reunion of the Randalls?

In Voyager, we get to know the story of Claire's life after she leaves Jamie thinking it is for good and goes back to her own time and her previous life with Frank Randall. We know of her being borderline due to desperation, her being sure Jamie died on Culloden battlefield, her attempts to tell Frank the truth and release him from an unwanted burden, then of her strive to be a decent wife and loving mother in a new city and a new country - Boston, US - of her escape into her studies to become a doctor  and later into her job as one, of her bearing Frank's affairs with other women and her dreaming of Jamie at night, of  her going on living for their daughter's sake, Brianna.

Frank accepts and loves Claire's child as if she was his own, but can't avoid seeing Brianna's real father in the child's features,  as well as he sees Claire's love for that unknown man who stole her for 3 years when he watches her staring at her daughter. Claire's sufferings and solitude maybe can't compare to Jamie's in the same long years of separation, but readers can sympathize with her too. Her life has not been easy, nor happy.

That's why we are all happy for her, for Claire, when she discovers Jamie survived Culloden slaughtering and decides to leave their daughter, Brianna - now that she is a young woman of twenty - and to travel through time again in order to get back to 18th century Scotland and to her love.

With Jamie ...

The scene of Claire and Jamie's reunion in Edinburgh,  20 years after their last moments together, can't surpass the emotions of their wedding night, but a contest between the two would be a tough one.
The reunion in the printing shop Jamie runs in Edinburgh is probably unromantic, but tender and odd at the same time, and so intense! A real roller-coaster of different emotions. I won't choose between the two scenes and I'll only say, chapters 24 / 25 of Voyager are precious to me,  as much as chapter 14 /15 in Outlander.
Reading these pages, you smile, you laugh, you are moved to tears,  taken by sudden fits of tenderness or giggles.

You are there with Jamie and Claire, witnessing their mutual  feeling awkward, shy, clumsy, excited, moved, anxious and also scared. Jamie - who doesn't  expect Claire's return at all - is taken aback, totally shattered. He comes undone and you'll see him vulnerable as you've never seen him before, neither in the hands of his torturer, Black Jack Randall.

Both Jamie and Claire are scared of their new life together and we are,  too.  Knowing Diana Gabaldon a bit by now, a reader can be sure that they will not have a long and happy second honeymoon but  a long series of troubles more probably.
Let's try not think of them as troubles but as adventures, and let's add that you don't see them come, since they are so well designed in the plot  to be often totally unexpected. Just one for them all: the first obstacle they will encounter on their path, who has got a familiar name and face: Laoghaire!

Brianna and Roger

Brianna - Jamie and Claire's daughter -  and Roger Wakefield - the young, handsome, Scottish historian who helps Claire to research about James Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser and his clan - were introduced in Dragonfly in Amber,  but now they enter the main stage. Their personalities are better drawn and their relationship starts flourishing though slowly and not smoothly at all. The mature, solid and still passionate love relationship between Claire and Jamie is intertwined with Brianna and Roger's  young, still uncertain yearning for each other.

Lord John Grey

Perhaps you already know that Diana Gabaldon has dedicated a series of books to the spin-off story of this fascinating minor character. I'm still pondering whether to read them or not.  Any suggestions?
Doll-faced and smart, vulnerable and brave,  we have already met him in Dragonfly in Amber.  He is a man now, not a skinny boy any longer, but Jamie recognizes in the English officer he met after long time,  the awkward brave kid in a red coat who tried to save Claire from his Scottish grip.
Lord John is now the English officer who runs Adsmuir prison, where Jamie is taken as a rebel and a traitor. Jamie knows he owes the young noble man his own life after Culloden. That was how John Grey had paid back his life debt to the Scottish warrior who hadn't  killed him   when he had mistaken his wife for a prisoner.
The officer and the Scottish convict, John and Jamie, become good friends and spend a few hours together once a week in the soldier's private room. They eat, they drink, they play chess and they talk about books. A complicated, controversial long-lasting relationship starts since then.
Jamie and Claire meet him again as a diplomat in Jamaica.  What happens is ... well... Claire and Lord John don't like each other that much!


Among the minor character I liked the most, Young Ian, Jamie's nephew, who will be with his uncle and aunt for long since now, and Mr Willoughby,   the bizarre but resourceful Chinese Jamie has rescued and hired as a helper.  They are involved in many humorous, funny situations  as well as in dramatic and intriguing action sequences.
As stated above, it is quite impossible to sum up everything in this book.   So many things happen!

Is there anything I didn't like? Yes, of course. I'd have cut many pages taking place in Mrs Abernathy's (what a surprise to meet Geillis Duncan again and in Jamaica!)  plantation. Magic rites and crocodiles, rebellious slaves and supernatural events ... the book was already so crammed of events, facts and characters! I  felt that was really too much. But maybe, it is just a question of personal tastes.

These days I'm reading Drums of Autumn, book 4, and I'm enjoying it quite a lot, too. Another incredibly long, incredibly action-packed, incredibly entertaining thick tome.

Expect a new Outlander review very soon here at FLY HIGH! 


Mystica said...

Sounds fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Of course you have to read Lord John's stories, MG! They are quite enjoyable, despite DG's penchant for magic and supernatural. And since there are so many connections with the Outlander saga you really have to know about the background of his family. Not to mention 'The scottish prisoner': one can easily guess who the title character is ;-)
I agree, Voyager is my favourite novel too: there are plenty of unforgettable moments in it and I like it much better than the 1st book.
Looking forward to read more about your journey through the series,
xx K/V

Maria Grazia said...

Hello there! Have you read any of these books, Mystica? They are great. Warmly recommended ;-)
I know, I know, K/V, about your being fond of Lord John. Promise: I'll keep the door open. But I have thousands of pages to go before finishing the saga! Should I read The Scottish Prisoner before moving forward? I'm on book 5 right now ...

Anonymous said...

According with the Outlander storyline, if my memory doesn't fail me you should have read the entire LJ series before starting book 7. That's where more than a member of LJ's family start being involved with some of the main characters. See? You're closer than you think :)
xx K/V