Genre: historical fiction, romance, fantasy, adventure
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.
Claire’s told her daughter Brianna about her birth father, Jamie, and the unusual circumstances in which he and Claire met. With Roger Wakefield’s help, Claire and Brianna begin a desperate search to find out what happened to Jamie after Culloden, as evidence points to his survival. When they make a discovery that he could still be alive 20 years after the battle — 200 years exactly for Claire — Claire decides to take a chance and return to him. But will he be the same man she left 20 years ago? What sort of life is he leading now? And though Claire clings to the memory of him, does he still hold her in his heart as well?
While only slightly put off by the 1960s Scotland in Dragonfly, I was not put off at all in this book! I love Roger and Brianna, their personalities and enthusiasm and general goodness. They’re fleshed out much more in this book, and even while Claire was reunited with Jamie I did wonder how they were getting on. Could they follow Jamie and Claire in the history books? How was Brianna dealing with the loss of her mother? How was Roger coping with his newly discovered, time-warped family history? How was Brianna coping with her newly discovered, time-warped family history?! I’m excited to see more of them in future books.
Gabaldon knows just how to answer all the reader questions. I was happy to see the conflict and slow decision Claire encountered when faced with traveling back in time to see Jamie. Of course she’d go back — but that takes preparation. And she did it so well, so thoughtful of her daughter’s well-being, of her career and friendship with Joe (who is also awesome, by the way), her forgiveness for Frank (who frankly (ha ha) doesn’t deserve it, the bastard, but it was well done and very Claire-like). It was fun to see her collect the proper coinage, the right dress, the knowledge of history and culture and politics — so much preparation to blend in for her arrival.
Not to mention the constant insecurities and questioning upon reuniting with Jamie! They love each other, pure and true, but it has been 20 years, and so much can change a person. The book takes place across four months in the 1760s, and while the reader gets snippets of Jamie’s past (his hiding, his imprisonment, his servitude in England), Claire learns of them briefly and at very inopportune moments. It’s as if they know one another so deeply, and suddenly there’s a rift they must work through. It was beautiful (and heartbreaking) to read. I’ve never read of a couple more human than these two.
So much happens in this book. If I thought Dragonfly was filled with several many names and circumstances, I had to think again. New acquaintances, reconnections, pirates and military, nieces and nephews, adventures on land and by sea, Scotland and France and the Caribbean — it was all a jumble of love, adventure, shock, discovery, and brand new beginnings for these two. And I can honestly say that at this point, I don’t care where they end up as long as they’re together.
I also hope Jamie’s no longer an outlaw, poor fellow. But clearly he becomes one again at some point in future books. Sigh. Can’t seem to catch a break.