In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears… into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven best-selling novels, and CNN has called it "a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries]." Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart's Blood.
It is 1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington's troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife; his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is; and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie's wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.
The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in 20th-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family's secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy - never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.
Written in My Own Heart's Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.
©2014 Diana Gabaldon (P)2014 Recorded Books
First of all, I must say that Davina Porter is, once again, simply brilliant in her ability to bring all the many and varied characters to life. She is a pleasure to listen to her. Having said that...
Before I read/listened to MOHB, I revisited "Outlander" and was reminded of what a wonderful author Gabaldon is. I also listened to the first half of "Voyager" which I also enjoyed so much. Then I reread/listened to "Echo in the Bone" and I was struck with a deep foreboding. Between "Voyager" and "Echo," something profoundly changed and I was reminded of the angst I felt during my first reading of this series by the time I got to "Fiery Cross." Too much information; not enough story.
Gabaldon is having a great time doing research and writing in excruciating detail (and she does it very, very well,) but I think the storyline has taken a back seat to the history lessons and details and minutiae.
The Brianna/Roger storyline provides an excellent example and is particularly annoying. It was going so well and I was fascinated by the various aspects of Roger's and Brianna's adjustments to the 1980's. I loved the device wherein Jamie and Claire's letters took us back to their "when." Roger and Brianna's careers were taking shape and getting acquainted with Lallybroch in modern times was fun, including the visit from Buck. But, all of a sudden, BAM, that's over and we're off on a tangent.
And that pretty much sums up the whole experience that the Outlander series has become for me - too many tangents. I've got whiplash from being snapped back and forth among the various characters and each one is left hanging!
I was very disappointed in this book from this amazingly talented author.
Davina Porter is truly amazing. I don't hear a woman trying to sound like a man or a kid, I hear the people she is portraying when she reads a story! What a unique skill, and I really appreciate it.
The Outlander series of books are at the top of my list of favorite books!
I cried, I almost cried, I laughed, and there were times that the events stressed me out to the point I needed to take a break. Diana Gabaldon knows well how to manipulate emotion! We fall in love with the characters then we root for them. Written in My Own Heart's Blood is the same. Echo in the Bone ended with so many cliff hangers, it's nice to have some answers!
As I said in the title, I didn't want it to end.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I am a huge fan of this series, so expected to pick up exactly where things left off and immediately live in this created world. It didn't happen that way. I really struggled to get back into the book and the characters for the first few hours. I think it had simply been too long for me to remember details. So, let's begin with a warning: if you're thinking of listening to this book and have not listened to the others, expect to be confused. This really is a series and one book builds for the next.
Once I was back fully into the book, I had the same awe for Diana Gabaldon that I've had with each of her other books. I'm astounded at the breadth of information she brings into these books. In this one I learned more about the Revolutionary War and its impact on people and cities than I'd ever known. It wasn't just a recitation of battles and dates. I learned about how camps were constructed, the followers, the illnesses and more. It's just such a complete look at a historical event but from an entirely new perspective. I'm sure hard-core history buffs would take exception to some of it, but for someone like me with the most rudimentary understanding of that particular war, it was eye-opening. She made it real.
Once again, Gabaldon manages to touch on a huge range of topics with incredible authenticity: personal relationships, gardening, love, herbalism, conflict, loss, revenge, surgery, illnesses, time travel, religion ... and more. The level of research that goes into just the medical aspect of each book is amazing. I always learn something new. Granted, I'll ever need to amputate a leg with the tools at hand, but I now have a good idea how to approach it.
And Davina Porter? I don't think I've ever heard such a perfect match of author and narrator. She does an amazing job with each and every character. (With the chorus of characters, that's no easy feat.) She helps keep things straight and adds color to the dialogue that I would miss if I were reading it in print.
It is no wonder this book took 5 years to write. It's a complex storyline filled to the brim with details. I cannot wait to see where she will take these characters next. I hate to think it will be another 5 years before I find out.
Fiction: I like Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.
Yes, inevitably, I will listen to it again at some point, but I'm not in a rush to listen to it again any time soon. This is not my favourite book in the Outlander series and it took me much longer to get through it than the earlier books in the series.
Davina Porter is great--she is one of my favourite narrators--but this was not one of her best performances. She mispronounced several words familiar to listeners of the previous Outlander books (and which she pronounced correctly in those books!). This is a minor nitpick, however. She is still one of the best narrators out there, in my opinion.
I really wish I could have given the story four or five stars. I'd been waiting for this book for so long and I am a huge fan of the series. I love the detail and history that Diana Gabaldon works into her books (that's one of my favourite things about the Outlander series...it's so rich in detail), but this could have been a trimmer story.
I really wanted to love this book since I have loved all the others. While I enjoyed most of it, I thought it really dragged in parts. A lot of retelling of tales from the previous books and many more sex scenes. I'm not against sex in the books, the first Outlander book was fairly steamy. But this was over done with sappy dialog and I didn't think it helped the book at all.Time travel…….fun, history…………interesting, love all the characters but oddly enough I found myself bored with so much retelling of info from previous books. I sometimes said, "Yada, yada, yada" to myself as I listened.The story did move forward and we get to know William much better. I will keep loving the series and I hope there is another one coming (years wait!). But unfortunately, this was a weak link for me.
I LOVED all of the Outlander series books but this one is the least favorite - it seems that Diana G is getting tired of inventing new stories about Jamie and Claire and just wants to get the book out of the way. No comparison to the first Outlander book.
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Jamie gets hurt, Claire performs a bunch of operations, war’s a-brewing, a zillion various calamities… you know: The Usual.
If you love all the characters, you’ll love this latest instalment in the series. I don’t love them all and so I was alternatively interested and bored. To quote myself from Book 7: “I could not care less about William and Ralf and Murray and Lord So and So the Mohawks and the various battles and the impending Revolution with all the planning and plotting.”
I do however like the Roger / Brianna story line, and was INSANELY annoyed by the ending. I won’t say more to avoid a spoiler… suffice it to say I am sure Book 9 is in the works.
I love all Diana's books and this is no exception. The narrator does a wonderful job. Her ability with voices is fantastic. I highly recommend this book but you need to read or listen the prior 7 books first. Every time a new book is released I listen to them all again.
It seems that less and less actually happens with each book in this series. In this one the characters seemed flat and many of the plot devices seemed like poor shadows of similar events in previous books . In addition there was way too much rehashing of prior parts of the story. C'mon Diana. I've read and listened to all of the prior books many times because we have to wait SO long between books. I don't need the older parts of the story retold. Tell us a new story! Davina Porter is outstanding as always with her narration.
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