I am so emotionally exhausted after finishing this book. This is not the kind of book you should read in four days. First, because it made me cry about fifteen times. Second, because there is too damn much going on, and now my brain is all blurry and even though I took notes about things I wanted to discuss, I’m probably gonna have to pull a SparkNotes on the last two hundred pages because I was too enthralled to write anything down!
As with the previous installment, let’s go over my questions from before I started the book:
Did Murtagh survive Culloden? That would be a no. 🙁 I’m glad Jamie was able to say goodbye to him, though. Poor little Murtagh.
Did Fergus make it back to Lallybroch? MY SWEET!! FERGUS!!! Fergus and his little hook hand and his Gallic shrugs and his complete and utter devotion to the Frasers!!! I pretty much cried when he got his hand cut off and Jamie went to his sickbed and Fergus was like, “It’s okay because you said if I ever lost my hand you’d take care of me for the rest of my life” and Jamie was like :’) ugh, so cute. AND THEN TWENTY YEARS GOES BY and he’s like 30 years old and he sees Claire again and literally drops to his knees and hugs her around the legs like a child. I just. I can’t deal with how precious he is.
Mary Hawkins: No sight of her, sadly. Claire does mention her in her internal monologue when they’re in Edinburgh, but she doesn’t appear in the book. She’ll have been widowed (twice, now, really, if you count her relationship with Alex as a marriage), so I wonder if she remarried or moved to the Colonies, as so many others did. I still have hope of seeing her again!
Gillian Edgars/Geillis Duncan/Geillis Abernathy/PICK A NAME, BITCH: This woman stresses me out so badly!!! I’m glad she’s definitely dead now, and watching Claire hulk out on her for threatening to harm Brianna was super satisfying. Claire’s always sassy, but I think this was the first time we ever saw her go into a complete homicidal rage. I’m not quite sure what Geilie intended to do with Brianna, though — I wonder if that prophecy will come back into play at any point?
Is Randall dead for reals? That would be a yes. He was lying there on top of Jamie’s wounded leg, though. I wonder if he found Jamie in the carnage and crawled over to die by his side? That’s… sick and sad and I don’t want to think about it anymore.
Scotland’s No. 1 Sassenach Detective Agency tracking down one Jamie Fraser: Oh, god. I loved this. All their frantically looking through ancient primary sources to track him through time was so endearing and just fun to read.
Will Claire go back in time again? YES. I CRIED.
Will Jamie ever end up in the present day? You know, somehow I doubt it very much. I’m still wondering about that highlander ghost figure that Frank saw, though…
This is an extremely long book, so I took some notes and I wanted to address a few particular things that were bothersome to me:
- Jamie and Geneva: I didn’t love the lack of consent on either side — Jamie being blackmailed into sleeping with her, and the fact that she told him to stop because it hurt and he kept going anyway. And then she got pregnant immediately. OF COURSE. Jamie’s affection for Willie was sweet, though. I felt bad for him, having two children out there in the world that he might never see again.
- Mr. Willoughby: Y’all, I don’t even know what to make of this guy. At first I thought he was a straight-up racist caricature — a small mystical Chinese man reviled for his weird sexual fetishes. I mean, I totally would have exiled myself from China if I had to become a eunuch to serve the Queen, too. But he was just obsessed with sex in a way I found uncomfortable to read about. I think the inclusion of this character did highlight prevailing racial attitudes of the mid-18th century, though, although I think it was intended to make us think Jamie was kind and generous in looking after him, when obviously Willoughby (or Yi Tien Cho, as he prefers) didn’t see things the same way. His impassioned speech at the end admitting his treachery made things a little more understandable, but in general I felt like this plotline wasn’t totally necessary.
- The Slave Ritual: What the hell was that mystical slave ritual near the end with the crocodile and the ghosts or whatever? I was not a fan.
And all the things that made me cry:
- Jamie escaping to see if Duncan’s information about the white witch had anything to do with Claire. 🙁
- Jamie thinking he’d never see Willie again. My poor Jamie, all alone in the world!!! 🙁
- Bree getting all emotional at Roger about how she wants Claire to go, but at the same time she still feels like she needs her mommy. That one hit me RIGHT in the feels. I think I was reading on the bus and I started openly weeping like a complete lunatic.
- Jamie and Claire’s reunion, CHRIST. He fainted, how adorable! And then when they just sat there weeping in each other’s arms, good god. And then he said the line he says on their wedding night—”Dinna be afraid, there’s the two of us now”—and I lost my shit. God.
- Claire and Jenny’s reunion. SISTERS. ;~~~;
Things that made me feel like I was going to scream:
- FUCKING LAOGHAIRE!!! JENNY!!! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME??? Laoghaire MacKenzie is honestly the worst person in the universe and I will never forgive Jenny for bringing her back into our lives. That said, Marsali started out as a little shit and ended up being one of my faves. I did think it was uncomfortable for Fergus to be marrying a fifteen-year-old, though. At least Jamie had the sense to make him feel a little ashamed of himself.
- Jamie being constantly sexually harassed. Randall, Geneva, and of course, Major John William Grey! I was like, “Not another stereotypical gay predator!!!” but as it turns out, Grey is pretty awesome.1 You can’t help who you love, and he never tried to take advantage of Jamie (other than the first time he tried to hold Jamie’s hand and Jamie threatened to kill him). I’m glad he was able to get over Jamie and Claire making a fool of him when they captured him in Dragonfly in Amber, and that he tried to look after Jamie after prison. Claire’s suspicion of him is totally warranted, after everything that happened with Randall, but I’m glad they all managed to patch things up at the end.
- MY WEE BABY IAN BEING KIDNAPPED! 🙁 Oh, god, I love Young Ian. (And Ian Sr., for that matter.) And I love his relationship with Jamie. Jamie was there when he was born, of course it’s special. Ian’s like the son he never had.2
And lastly, funny things:
- Claire just chilling out in a blanket in the brothel’s dining room with all of the girls like “lol w/e” until Madame Jeanne comes in and freaks out
- Jenny trying to be Jamie’s wingman
- Jamie cleaning off his dirk in boiling water because Claire said it would kill germs ;~~~;
- Claire asking Joe if she’s still hot, LMAO
There’s so much I’m forgetting, but this book was just too long for me to compose any organized sort of thoughts on it as a whole. I don’t think I liked it as much as the first two books, probably because the plot wasn’t as tight, but I loved most of the new characters we were introduced to, I liked that it gave Jamie more character development, and I enjoyed the new POVs. I’ve already finished Drums of Autumn, the next book in the series, so I’ll be writing about that shortly as well. I have The Fiery Cross up on deck now — I was excited that the book was thinner, because I was ready for a slightly shorter tome3… but alas, no. It’s printed on, like, 30lb bible paper and it’s 980 pages. Lord, beer me strength.4
- He’s even better in Drums of Autumn. I adore him and I need to read DG’s Lord John series after I finish all of the Outlander books!
- It’s too bad they’ve both had the unpleasant common experience of being sexually assaulted, though. Ugh. :(
- Drums of Autumn is 880 pages, and Voyager was 870.