The latest epic volume in the multi-million-copy best-selling Outlander series.
It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated. Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey.
Lord John's son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie's nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him. And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband, Roger, has disappeared into the past....
©2014 Diana Gabaldon (P)2014 Recorded Books LLC
As one of Diana Gabaldon's huge fan base, I came to this eighth "big book" expecting it to be wonderful -- and I was not disappointed!
Written in my own Heart's Blood weaves four separate story lines effortlessly together, resolving all the cliff-hangers from An Echo in the Bone (while introducing some tempting new questions), enlarging our understanding of the characters -- and providing heart-stopping thrills pretty well all the way through!
When I get a new Outlander book, I find I have to read it very, very fast -- just to be sure everyone I care about will survive -- then I can go back and re-read it slowly, savouring all the delightful details, fascinating historical information and character development. And this is where the audio version really comes into its own: my first race through the book is always done on my Kindle, but enjoying all the details with Davina Porter's wonderful reading (she really is one of the very best readers around!) is utterly satisfying.
No spoilers in this review, I'm afraid -- but I cannot recommend this book too highly!
Diana Gabaldon and Amy Harmon (my favourite authors) have written some amazing books and I rank all of their books equally at the very top of my listening tree. Written In My Own Heart's Blood is a book I have been eagerly anticipating for four years and it is everything I hoped it would be.
At first I was going to say that I haven't read any other books that I could compare to this one but that wouldn't be true. The first one was named Outlander and was the story of a time traveler named Claire and a young Scotsman named Jamie.
I had many favourite scenes but there were a couple of notables that I keep thinking of over and over again. One would be when Bree was reading the letter she found from Frank Randall. It showed just how much he loved and treasured Bree and how he had done all he could to prepare her for the life ahead. The other scene would be the tragedy the family suffered just before leaving Savannah. Absolutely heartbreaking. And then there was William! Oh and of course Lord John.
This book is amazing in that it brings together so much of what has come before. I think I will need to listen to it a couple of times to pick up all it has to offer. Did I want to listen to it all in one session? Hell yes! I wanted to know it all. But realistically with a book that spans 48 hours of listening time that was never going to happen.
Any book that can leave you constantly thinking about what you have just read, about the decisions the characters made and the way their lives evolved is a gift to be treasured. But now I find that I need to go back to the beginning yet again because I realise that I didn't pay enough attention to what was written before! Well done Diana.
I have enjoyed the whole series but feel book 8 ended with a lot of loose ends and feel as though i am missing a part
Good except for the abrupt ending
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
I waited with baited breathe for the new book and as usual was not disappointed..
I just love this series and historically the facts are as true as they can get given that it is fiction. I love the accents and the narrator is fabulous. But start the series at the beginning so that you can follow the story line properly because Diana does not spend any time recapping in the first chapter. She picks up the flow and runs..
I love this series... I can't wait for another one!
I read on Diana Gabaldon's blog that she doesn't always know where a story will take her. This book if proof of that, I feel. For a long while it just didn't seem to be going anywhere. Too many story lines going at once which made piecing it all together and keeping track of who all the characters were in relation to each other a bit more difficult. Having said that, Claire and Jamie's story ... and that of their immediate family .... continues along a very satisfactory path and I was as easily caught up in their lives as with all the other books. Davina Porter's characterisations are as brilliant as always and a pleasure to listen to. I look forward to book number 9 and to seeing how much further the story of Claire and Jamie will go.
AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN...WANT MORE PLEASE
This book was above my high expectations, there was twists and turns and appeared to bring all of the previous books and events into one. She is an amazing writer that leaves you wanting more...
No one else could narrate these books, Davina makes the books come alive
yes..no sleep and house work ...oh what house work.
I loved the book, like the previous books I will listen to it probably another 5 or 6 times but I feel this is not the end of the series...god I hope not
"Not quite here and not quite there but somewhere.."
The story, of course, follows the life and times of James Fraser, his wife Claire and her family. They are all there: Ian, Brianna, Roger, Janet... It is somewhat difficult to cover anything thematically without spoilering something else due to context.
The book is absolutely worthwhile to be listened to, Davina Porter as divine in her narration as always. Really, I can't imagine someone else telling the story.
All in all: the story does evolve, we get to know many answers to unsolved aspects of previous books, Diana Gabaldon is a master in word-choosing and in weaving atmospheric and vivid scenery.
Only three stars then, why?
After scattering her main characters all over the place at the end of her last book (the worst possible cliff-hangers!) I was quite anxiously awaiting how the different story-lines would be joined again. Unfortunately, and this is one of my big issues with this book, I had the impression that - after flinging Roger, Jem, William, John Grey and Ian to who knows where - D.G. had difficulty in picking them up again and uniting them in one arc. For much too long the different time-lines are completely broken apart, and while there is a lot going on, the story itself gets lost in all the conundrum. Military expertise is a fine thing to read about, but not the point (my point!) in this series.
The "rejoining"-moments then are done without further description, somewhat abrupt and strange / inconsistent. Without spoiling: What was a really, really big step in previous books is now sometimes excruciatingly difficult and sometimes as easy as if it was a walk in the park.
These are maybe small aspects, but somehow they matter here, and I felt that they disturbed the "reality" of the story.
Although all characters show up, they weren't depicted as the shining, living, breathing personas you are expecting them to be when reading D.G. This is only my personal opinion, of course, but I'd have liked to have more links between the different people during the story. It all seemed to be quite disjointed, with seemingly important persons suddenly vanishing from view, popping up completely out of context and without logical explanation and then vanishing again. Some of them refuse verbally to say where they are headed to - and then they are gone. Poof.
it was as if they were, in fact, too much to be handled for the author, and so the characters literally fell off her plate, only to be picked up from the floor several chapters laters, slightly the worse for wear and a bit disoriented.
Some of the main characters have changed in vital aspects of their being - so much that it was hard to reconcile them with what they were before. And that, in all honesty, was bugging me a lot sometimes. Of course a person's being will evolve, but usually, the won't change so much - and not in such a sad, lamentable way as in this book.
Listen to this book, enjoy it, it's worth it if you have enjoyed the previous books, and join me in waiting four or five years for the next installment. Sigh.
"At last! The next one - worth waiting for!"
Having read all the books in 'The Outlander' series, I was waiting with baited breath for this last title. According to Diana Gabaldon's web site, it was due for release in March, so the delay until June was unbearable! But it was worth the wait reader - believe me.
Firstly, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving the narration of this book back to Davina Porter. She IS the characters - they are back to being the people I remember them as.
I will not spoil your entertainment by telling you anything about the story, if you have listened to the series all I will say is that you will not be disappointed.
If you are looking at this book as a stand alone and have never read Diana Gabaldon before, can I suggest that you start at the first one and work your way through? That way you will enjoy all of the twists, understand the history of the characters and arrive where I am now, desparate to know if this is it, or if there is some more to come.
I understand that this month (August 2014), the Outlander series will screen in the US as a 16 episode series - now THAT would be a box set to watch on a duvet day and no mistake!
"So disappointed I could cry"
The wait was so long - and my anticipation high. I have loved this series and spent countless hours listening to the Devine Ms Porter. The previous book was not my favourite but I still hoped for a wonderful conclusion to the story of Jamie and Claire. Alas there was no conclusion, wonderful or otherwise. There were far too many extraneous characters about whom I had no interest and much too much about the Grey family (they have their own series after all) I hate to say it but I was bored! Too much military detail and too much plot repetition ( how many rapes in one family? Lightening might strike twice but rape??) I listen to my audible books in bed and thought I must have fallen asleep because the story seemed to take a giant leap forward. After crawling forward a moment at a time in the first part of the book we suddenly catapulted ahead with no explanation. I rewound back to the point I remembered but no, I had not missed anything the author just popped characters forward in time and space with no explanation (no plot spoiler but you'll see what I mean) despite its title I think this book lacked heart. The previous offerings were sublime but this was a damp squib - sorry.
"Another fabulous book from Diana"
Yes, such a fabulous book, and Davina is a great narrator, I enjoy listening to her.
Clare is my favourite, she is so brave and I love reading about her medical practice in the 18th century
I enjoyed all her character performances, but I think I like her Jamie character the most.
When Clare and Jamie realise that it is Briana, Roger and the children walking towards them.
I love the outlander series, I hope there will be a book 9
I have loved this series since book 1 and have both read and listened to it multiple times. Once again, Diana pulls us into the past drawing the listener into a time of romance and danger engaging us with her fabulous characters until we can't wait to hear what happens next.
I loved every bit of this book. There are dramatic scenes, romantic senses, tearjerkers and belly laughs. I loved the weddings and cried at the funerals.
I think Davina Porter reads this book very well. She imbues each character with their own voice, so you know who is talking without the annoying habit some actors have of using funny voices to differentiate each one
I half wanted to read this book in one go - simply not possible- and half didn't want it to end.
"I loved it"
Yes, and I always do,they are my 'go to' listen when I need a bit of escapism. I feel wrapped up in the story and the different story lines and timelines hold my attention completely. I struggle to find the same response to other audio listens and always feel bereft when I finish a book.
All the usual characters are there and followed along their next path.
Her voice and skill at representing all accents and sexes she is a very talented storyteller.
I always end up blubbing at Diana Gabaldon books, all themes are explored and high emotion is dealt with so beautifully.
We are going to have to wait for quite a long time for the next one and I'm not sure what is going to fill the gap.
"Exciting Story to Read"
Right at the top of the books I have listened to recently from Audible books
All moments were good and memorable, and none really stood out to the detriment of others
No, this was the first audible book I have purchased that wasread by Davina Porter
Return from the grave could be a good tagline for a film as this was an overall impression of the book
"Climax and anti-climax"
After a wait of two years to find out what happened to Jem - well I feel a bit flat. I hope this is the last in the series because I suspect that I won't be able to resist the lure of a future episode and I'm not sure it has anywhere to go now.
Overall it is a good buy: the narration is excellent, it's a hefty 44 hours and more, there is some good writing and some good story lines. But ...... after over two years since the last instalment, I honestly couldn't remember where anyone except Jem was and there wasn't a lot of reminders. Too much sex and war and not enough character development.
Thinking I had 44 minutes to go, I saved the last instalment for my 40 minute drive to work only to find that it ended after 20 with "Brianna, Roger and the kids turned up" as if they were popping in for Sunday tea. THE END. I could have listened to another 17 minutes of history of hydro electric dams but decided not to bother. It was a poor ending and that is what the reader/listener takes away.
This book was not as good as previous ones in the series in my opiion for the following reasons:
1 - The graphic sex scenes were overdone and gratuitous to the story and development of the characters
2 - The story was disjointed, flipping from the 1700s to the 1980s wthout any link. It was like reading two unrelated books spliced together
3 - the ending was confusing - if Brianna and family had returned to an earlier time than Claire and Jamie, how did they manage to all meet up at the end of the book??
4 - It was a bit like War and Peace - the part relating to the battles were no doubt well researched but they were BORING !!!!!
5 - It felt as if this book was being written for he sake of writing another book in the series, and it fet contrived.
However, the narrative was just as excellent as the other books in the series, and for sheer value for money the length of this audiobook made it a good buy if a somewhat laborious listen!
This book will be listened to by the hordes of people who avidly follow the series, and no doubt if there is a follow-up book in the pipeline I will buy it when it is published, because having come this far I want to stick it out to the end!! Will we follow the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Claire and Jamie? If the books are written I probably will despite the negatives of this particular laboriously written and rather boring one of the series!
"The title tells us"
Diana must have suffered writers' block to pen this poor most recent instalment, like anyone else listening to this I surely must have liked all the preceding books, will people accept this ?This latest, is slow, boring, farcical, and makes me keep reminding myself that I have loved this series and been waiting ages for this book. What a let down !
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