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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.
Ooooh, what can I say about this epic saga? Is it over? It could be. I would be alright with the way it ended. A few lingering questions, but overall, satisfying.
It is difficult to rate just this one book, really, as the lives of the many complex characters have ebbed and flowed over the course of all 8 novels. However, I will surely report to any fan that has not read this one yet, that I was not disappointed.
As I always like to mention (when worthy), Davina Porter, the narrator of the series in audio is vying for 1st place in my heart along with Jim Dale. Distinguishing and consistently performing such a huge cast of characters in different and memorable voices is a rare talent. Seriously, I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks and only few narrators stand out as having this unique and rare ability. Bravo! Standing O and all that.
34 of 34 people found this review helpful
The long anticipated book 8 of this epic did not disappoint. Its been a long time since I read her last and I have to say I missed her flowing prose and description. First the plot: in this book she opens and many plot lines as she closes down. One thing I am very satisfied with is her ability to eventually get around to bringing clarity and closure to early open questions. For example, she closes a question raised in book three -- this kind of attention to detail is commendable in a writer and Gabaldon certainly demonstrates her mastery in this work.
She introduces more characters and lines in this book than I though necessary and I would have liked a little more focus on Roger and Brie and Jamie and Claire shifting some of the attention from Lord John and William -- after all they have their own series. That being said, she still crafts characters that I love and she does it with such grace and art. Got to love Jenny and Rachel and Ean and Dottie. The dialog of plain English was exceptionally well done.
This book is something to be savored, I though Galbaldon showed more of the human side to Jamie and Claire (certainly how they are ageing) and I very much like they way she did. I've read some criticism about her history and timelines and only say to those critics it is historic romantic F-I-C-T-I-O-N and a great one at that.
Must listen to book eight. Must listen to the series. Her blog says she hasn't started on book 9 and hints that book 9 might be the last. It will be torture to wait another two years but it will be worth the wait. Davina Porter rocks it out of the park -- who else can do Claire?
Love the ending -- that all I'll say! Please listen to this series.
64 of 66 people found this review helpful
honestly when it said "the end" i was stunned.. I had no idea 44 hours could go by so fast.. Loved every minute.. will not watch the Star version.. I have my own ideas about the characters and will not be swayed! LOL. I was very skeptical about the first "outlander" as I am not a "time traveler" buff. But I loved the books.. especially the medical sections.. wonderful and the narrator? who could be better.. they are quite a team of women. LOVE IT
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
If a person has made it this far in the Outlander series, this being book #8, then that person is evidently hooked on the series, which I am. Diana Gabaldon has created an amazing series that after all these pages, these hours of listening or reading. You feel like you know the characters and you like them. And, Davina Porter as the narrator is awesome. To me, Davina is Clare Frazier and she brings the stories to life. There have been a lot of memorable characters in this series and in this book she seemed to bring a good number of them back into the story, both good and bad people. She does a good job of giving you a bit of a memory jolt in refreshing you on characters and incidents. It makes me wonder if I would ever want to listen to the complete series again from the start? I think not, at least at this ime, but you never know I guess. For some reason I thought book #7 was the last in the series but with this book there is no doubt the series isn't at an end. Can't wait for the next one and I really, really liked the way she ended this book.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Written in My Own Heart's Blood in three words, what would they be?
Once again, Diana Gabaldon proves to be one of our centuries timeless and great writers. Staving in with one of the most beautifully written prologues, she relentlessly pulls at the heartstrings of those who have been painfully waiting, wanting, and sorely longing to adventure again with Claire and Jamie. <br/>Davina Porter's performance is golden. She perpetually amazes me with her astounding skill at all the accents of so many characters. I tend to completely forget that there is just her solo voice.<br/>A hundred-thousand thank yous to the both of you for creating/performing such a classic and beautiful work of fine literature/recording. I cherish them all!
75 of 81 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Written in My Own Heart's Blood in three words, what would they be?
I have truly enjoyed the Outlander series, and have enjoyed Book 8 very much. Many reviewers have stated that it is repetitive, but I have to say, that it feels like Davina Porter is a friend and she is telling you a story, and when we talk to our friends, don't we retell stories and details to each other? So, that part did not bother me. As to my "WHY?" - I know Mrs. Gabaldon has gotten some heat about profanity used in her books. She explains that they are her characters, and they use the bad language, understood. I have to say, I do understand that soldiers in those days used profanity, especially under the circumstances they lived in, and we today, helas, use it whenever, but this one got a bit too rich in profanity, especially the "cussing trinity" - you know which ones I mean. It grieved me.<br/><br/>My next point was, that why on earth did nobody give Davina German lessons, at least for the stuff she was trying to say. I don't speak a word of Gaelic, and it's sounds wonderful to me what she says, but I am fluent in German and French, and the German was SCHRECKLICH (that means terrible), her French is quite good. <br/><br/>The story was a bit slow, and some important key points in the story could have been addressed sooner and in a bit more detail, but Mrs. Gabaldon has promised Book 9, assuring us she wasn't done telling the story... so I will go with it, hopefully I will live long enough to get number 9 - and the gaps will be closed. (there were some big ones)<br/><br/>Overall, the story is a richly woven, colorful and at times enigmatic tapestry, and stays with you, even when you are done reading or listening. If you are looking or hesitating to start the Outlander series, don't - every book is worth it, you will be enriched. (minus the profanities) and will actually learn quite a bit of history, medical knowledge, herbal knowledge and fall in love with most of the characters.<br/><br/>Some character development was exquisitely done!
What other book might you compare Written in My Own Heart's Blood to and why?
None really, as none of the time travel books out there come close to the Outlander series.
Which scene was your favorite?
Too many to tell, I don't want to spoil the stories.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Made some "European noises" during some of the cussing.
Any additional comments?
Davina Porter is fantastic, and I am so glad, Mrs. Gabaldon and her continue to work together. Brings the books to live and I so enjoyed it. Hope my review helps a bit, but I would definitely recommend the series, and congratulate both of them and the director.<br/>
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Another very strong chapter in the Outlander series. We jump back and forth between Brianna and Roger's family in 20th century Scotland and Jamie and Claire's adventures amidst the Revolutionary War 200 years ago. The futility, confusion and waste of war is so well portrayed as experienced by the common man or woman. Very fun how Gabaldon interweaves interactions with famous historical figures like George Washington or Daniel Webster. Loved to hear how Benjamin Franklin practiced and preached exposing all of ones skin to sunlight and fresh air for at least an hour a day. Equally fascinating is reading about Benedict Arnold, what he was like and why he turned coat on his country.
Thought provoking always when Gabaldon proposes how Claire and Brianna slipped 20th century knowledge into 18th century every day life. From sneaking in the inclusion of greens and fruits in soldiers' diets for teeth and bones to creating ether to enable surgeries. Whether it's penicillin from moldy bread or kiln firing clay pipes for irrigation, always great fodder for imagining how these things came to be known.
Very prescient for present times to read about how families and individuals survive after losing everything, over and over again. How much courage and strength the common man or woman display on a daily basis, though all one usually reads about in history text books are the decisions of the famous and powerful who are often making moves through selfish, self serving motivation at the cost of so many innocent lives.
In this volume particularly I very much admire Gabaldon's portrayal of strong, charismatic characters, both male and female, who can lead with their hearts and wit and not just brute force.
From start to finish you are immersed in a lush, exciting, world of vivid relationships and the reliving of many historical and scientific events. I learn so much from each of the Outlander books, and Written in My Own Heart's Blood topped the rest. The only thing that relieves the sadness of reading the last page, is the knowledge that on 8/9/14 is the premier of the Starz network series of Outlander, the first novel of this Diana Gabaldon saga.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
It's taken be 5 days (and nights) to finish this 44 hour book-and one might think that after 44 hours, I wouldn't need to say, at the end of the book, "NO..It can't be over YET!". But thats exactly what I did say!. then I rolled back to the first 6 hour 'episode' and started over again. With any of the 8 Diana Gabaldon novels in this series listening (or reading) over is the name of the game! Prior to my joining Audible, I'd start re-reading from book 1 about 2 months prior to a new book release so I can have the whole story, the many many characters remembered, the historical fiction bits looked up on Wikipedia (another great addition to life) and my 20+ year old flow chart out so I can connect all the strings once more.
I love accurate Historical Fiction and Gabaldon does her best to be as accurate as her novelists license allows her to be. Her research is immaculate and spot on and you aren't going to find a battle taking place at some strange site when it actually took place elsewhere..Yahoo for this kind of writing.
I know that the next book is the last one..or D.G. says it is at least... and I know it will be another 5+ years before it's out but honestly ***I Want It Now***. For every story arc that was cleared up, a new one was begun until the last and final paragraph when yet another exciting and unexpected incident occurs at Frazer's Ridge and my mind went crazy with "What??" I absolutely can't fill anyone in on what goes on, suspense is the name here, but it's a true thriller.
If you've followed Outlander's Jamie and Claire for 20+ years as I have, and as my daughter has-(she started reading them in High School and is as hooked as I am) then this is yet another novel you'll have to have. Now I've got to go get a hard copy so I can have it autographed when she comes to Portland next month.
And, Don't forget the Outlander Book 1 series on Starz coming up in a couple of months!
44 of 50 people found this review helpful
I tried to stretch out listening to make the book last longer. I could not put it down. Every step of the way it had me. I was glued to it and could think of nothing else. Diana G and Davina P are a kick ass combination. I've read nothing that can compare to this series. All I can say is it better not be finished,
29 of 33 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Written in My Own Heart's Blood the most enjoyable?
Diana Gabaldons writing is as always beautiful and Davinia Porter Brings the characters to breathtaking life.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I love them all but I have to say I really did enjoy William in this book.
Which character – as performed by Davina Porter – was your favorite?
She gives each character their own voice it's impossible to pick a favorite,
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I wish I could have, but its 44 hours long.
Any additional comments?
You really need to read or listen to all of the Outlander novels in order to appreciate the scope of the story. If you haven't read them yet, do it. You wont regret it.
28 of 33 people found this review helpful