Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (1992)

I loved the first installment of this series (see my post on it below), but I have to say I was a bit disappointed by the second book, "Dragonfly in Amber". Of course I wanted to find out what happened to Claire after she returned back to modern times and her first husband, of course I was dying to find out what happened to Jamie, her hot Scottish Highlander second husband...but the second book, once you got back to following Claire and Jamie's adventures in medieval France, began to drag on and on. I kept thinking Claire's pregnancy was taking forever and the same about Jamie's involvment in the spying and intrigues around Charles Edward Stuart and the plotting of his uprising in Scotland.

Perhaps this is the disadvantage to reading a series of books after they have all been published - you can hop right to the next one without having to wait a year or two in anticipation and forgetting some of the finer aspects of the plot and characters. Then it doesn't seem so dull when the second book rehashes some of these items to remind you.

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed the originality of the first book, but I think I will be moving on to other things - especially since our library only had books 1, 2, 5 and 6.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)

I heard about this series from my mom and was intrigued - apparently this book and the six that follow it in the series have a big fan base. So what I always do when my mom mentions an interesting book is go check the online catalog of our public library to see if they have it. They did so I picked it up and read it over Christmas....

...or should I say I got swept away by it over Christmas?! I can certainly understand the fans - this is a story that sucks you in and keeps you hooked because you want to know more. And it includes elements of the historical novel (Scotland in the 1700's and post WW2), romance novels (steamy sex), science fiction (time travel), action and adventure (clan warfare, intrigues, spies looting and plundering, wild rescues), social history (daily life in the 1700's) - so there is really something to appeal to everyone. It's also a satisfyingly thick book, great for a long trip.

The story is about Claire, a young woman who was a nurse in military hospitals in World War II. She is on a holiday with her husband, Frank, in Scotland, a sort of second honeymoon since they had been separated so long because of the war. Visiting an ancient mystical stone circle, she is somehow transported to 1743 and thrown at the mercy of a clan of Scottish warriors who, suspicious of a lone English woman in strange clothes, take her with them to determine whether she is an English spy. One thing leads to another and she is forced for her own safety to wed Jamie Fraser, a Scottish outlaw. The marriage of convenience quickly turns into a passionate union and while events take Claire and Jamie all over Scotland and even to northern France, they become a real team, intensely loyal and devoted to each other in the face of any obstacle. At its core this book is a love story in "Gone with the Wind" style!

I am now busy with book two in the series, "Dragonfly in Amber". More soon!