October 05, 2011

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

The second in the series of Outlander by Diana Gabaladon, I enjoyed Dragonfly in Amber even more so than Outlander, the first book. While the first had a wonderful plot it seemed to have unneeded violence and a few scenes that were unrealistic. Dragonfly in Amber overcomes all of that.

It continues, surprisingly, 20 years after the first book. Claire (the main character) is back in the 20th century and has made a trip to Scotland with her daughter Brianna after her husband Frank dies. At this point, the reader wonders, what happened??!! At the end of Outlander, we were still in the 18th century and Claire was still with Jamie, a noble dashing clansman.

With a brief first part in which Claire strives to find out what happened at the great battle of Culloden, the characters are still in the 20th century. During this, it comes out that Frank was not her daughter Brianna's father, but rather, Jamie was. Incredulous with disbelief, Brianna and a friend Roger listen to Claire's story of what happened in her time travel adventure.

The 2nd part of the story takes us back to 18th century Scotland. Jamie and Claire are living in France because he is still an outlaw in Scotland. There they are hoping to stop King Charles from trying to retake the Scottish throne and by consequence, stop the awful battle of Culloden. They are surrounded by enemies and Jacobites (supporters of Charles) at every turn however, and an unfortunate series of events causes them to have to return to Scotland.

There, drawn into things against there will, they prepare for war on behalf of Charles and Jamie is drawn into Charle's army with all his men. Their only goal at this point is survival and to still perhaps prevent the bloody battle that will end the war.

The writing in this book, like the first, was very descriptive. While the first and last parts are told in the 3rd person and from different characters point of views, the majority is in the 1st person from Claire's eyes. A large book, there is plenty of detail on events and people and even side characters are described in depth. Also in this novel, Claire seems to act and talk more like a person from the 1940's would, as opposed to seeming to be from a much later generation like she did in the first novel.

The only part of this book I didn't really like was a scene where Claire is recovering from illness. A friend, in order to heal her, does some very naughty things to her. Maybe I just didn't understand the scene, but it just seemed very strange and out of place to me. Aside from that however, I found most events in the book to be realistic (if one views time travel as realistic as well).

Overall this was an outstanding novel. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Dragonfly in Amber
Copyright 1992
947 pages

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