Somehow Diana Gabaldon is able to consistently raise the stakes for Claire and Jamie in her Outlander saga and this third novel is no exception!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.
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.
20 years has passed since they parted, with both believing the other was dead. Claire has advanced in her medical training and raised their child. Jamie has had his own path to walk, including time in prison for his part in the Culloden rebellion. When Claire journeys back to Scotland in the 1960s with their now grown up daughter Brianna, it is with a nod to the nostalgia that the country brings her – specifically, thoughts of her romance with eighteenth century Scotsman Jamie. Working with the son of Reverend Wakefield whom she knew from her first time in Scotland with husband Frank, she soon discover that Jamie didn’t die at the battle of Culloden. Her reaction to this knowledge necessitates her telling her daughter that Frank Randall is not her father and Jamie Fraser is. And, oh wait, she can time travel as well (- which, side note, I seriously wish I could do! Especially if there was a handsome Scotsman like Jamie waiting on the other side for me.) She travels back through the stones with no idea (but with the fervent hope) that she will arrive twenty years from the time she departed and be able to track down Jamie.
Cue swoonworthy and utterly romantic reunion between the two characters. Gabaldon is the queen of writing sex scenes. Seriously. She’s even written a book about how to write sex scenes and any aspiring romance writer (or all writers really) should take note. The Outlander series is definitely not shy about capturing the intimacy between Claire and Jamie, both verbal and physical and we readers get to live vicariously through their steamy encounters. Their reunion sex scene is most noteworthy. And how Gabaldon manages to keep these scenes fresh and interesting with each book is a talent in itself.
One of the things I love about the Outlander series is the armchair travelling we get to do. In book one it was travelling from 1940s Scotland to 1740s Scotland. In book two we travelled between Scotland and Paris. In this third novel we travel from Scotland on a massive sea journey through exotic locations like Jamaica, finally culminating in the New World – America. And all along the way we encounter interesting characters from all walks of life, including the Chinese man, Mr Willoughby, who Jamie has befriended in his time apart from Claire. What real necessity he is to the plot – apart from a few gags or providing information – is questionable though. But the story moves so quickly and is so engaging that these criticisms fall by the wayside as you become immersed in the story.
While usually the medic administering aid to the injured, in Voyager Claire gets some nasty injuries which, realistically speaking, makes sense. Poor Jamie’s body has been through the mill and Claire, always walking unsuspecting into dangerous encounters, hasn’t experienced much injury before now. It is an interesting switch for the characters – with Jamie having to administer treatment to Claire.
At the end of this book, they have landed in America – the New World – hoping for a fresh start. But I have a feeling there won’t be peace for very long. I can’t wait to get stuck into the next one, Drums of Autumn. A fast-moving, romantic and immersive read; this novel will keep you up at night needing to know what happens next!