I think I may be one of the few readers of this series who made it this far… only to say I have now had enough. There is something intangibly wonderful about the relationship between Jamie and Claire. It has sustained me through all of the things I have found frustrating about these books. That dynamic is still there and this book gives us the reunion we didn’t get in the last story. But so much of the book either frustrated or upset me that in the end, I must conclude that it is time to part ways.
As with the two previous installments, it takes absolutely forever to get to the real meat of the story, the part people are actually waiting for. In Outlander, it was Claire going through the stones and meeting Jamie. In Dragonfly in Amber, it was the flashback of how Jamie and Claire were separated. Here, it’s Claire’s inevitable decision to go back in time again to reunite with her husband. So many pages to wade through to get to the real beginning of the story. It’s not only Claire’s “present day” story, but Jamie’s flashback one that fills the first third of the book. His story was more interesting than hers, but I still felt like I was waiting to get to the good stuff. The reunion was satisfying, though honestly, I am still not over the duration of their separation. The two of them wear their hearts on their sleeves and their love feels so real.
The story follows the two of them as they relearn each other and try to find their place in the world. At first it seems that may be Lallybroch, but that doesn’t last –and they end up in a life and death rescue mission that takes them to the high seas. I don’t want to spoil too much of the plot, but as I explain my issues, I will inevitably fail. Consider yourself warned.
Major issue one: Jamie keeps secrets from Claire. This man’s undying love for his wife is the heart of the series. But over and over again, he leaves her in the dark about things that (once revealed) break her heart and leave her feeling betrayed. Some of things we knew about as readers. Others blindside us right along with Claire. I understand these books need conflict to sustain them, but I don’t need my blood pressure shooting up every time we learn of some encounter Jamie had with a woman (or man) in his past that has serious repercussions to his relationship with Claire. For a man who values honesty so much, he uses the “I was skeirt to tell ye” excuse way too many time. Fail, Jamie. And fail Diana Gabaldon for making this their story.
Major issue two: Jamie is still doing dangerous shit. Really? You could have lived a straight up life, free of danger, but nah… comfort’s for wussies, right?
Major issue three: John Grey. What is it about Jamie that makes all the men go crazy for him? That the man falls in love with Jamie annoyed me enough, but Jamie’s offer to him –what is revealed at the end of the book—I call bullshit. After all Jamie endured with Randall, I simply do not buy it. And Grey’s jealousy and whatnot of Claire? Dude. She is his wife. Just no.
Again, I am 100% invested in Jamie and Claire, but I’m just not enjoying where Gabaldon is taking the series. Many, many fans loved this book and I really do see the draw. The negatives just don’t outweigh the positives at this point. I should have stopped at book 1. I could have walked away satisfied. If only I had known….
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Diana Gabaldon
Release Date: October 1, 1994