Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon

Review published on July 29, 2015.Reviewed by sara garland

Nudge Reviewer Rating:

This is the 8th and penultimate book in the Outlander series. It is 1778 and the British troops are withdrawing from Philadelphia and so it has become a time of uncertainty not knowing which other troops will arrive behind them and how this will affect personal safety.
Lord John Grey, a diplomat of the British Army and prior best friend of Jamie Fraser, has married Claire. This arrangement helped to keep her protected, so that she would not be arrested for spying. Through marriage she has become Lady John Grey.

It had long been thought that Jamie and his sister Jenny had died whilst travelling on a ship that capsized. However unbeknown to anyone, the ship they had planned to set sail upon left without them and they had to head to Virginia on another ship.

Lord John and Claire learn that Jamie is alive and in the vicinity. This means that Claire and Lord John’s marriage is essentially unlawful and annulled. Lord John seeks to find Jamie and Claire is left to wonder what violent outcome could result. A fight does indeed ensue. Both parties are picked up by the army and their ability to return to Claire is scuppered.

In the meantime Lord Grey’s brother, Hal arrives. He is a ruthless, intolerant man, but in need of Claire’s care when he experiences a life threatening asthma attack. The situ requires him to stay at Claire’s house whilst he recovers, making him more congenial. However he does not believe that Claire does not know where his brother has gone.

Meanwhile Jem, the son of Brianna (Claire’s daughter), now living in the 1980’s has gone missing, possibly kidnapped, which results in travel through the stones back in time to search for him there.

Much is revealed and the usual trials and tribulations that accompany Claire in this series continue. It is a great big book with well over 1000 pages. I am sure most Gabaldon fans will expect this and will love the book. I did find the first part of the book slower than I was comfortable with to keep me enthusiastically engaged. I found the detail held back the progression of the nuts and bolts of the story – a risk that can be ill afforded with such a long book, but it nonetheless recovered itself and picked up the pace as the story progressed. There is a risk readers may struggle as a consequence of this, but with a loyal fan base I suspect most readers will easily forgive such a dip in rapture. There is a large cast, with frequent scene changes and so you did have to concentrate on which character you were following at the beginning of each chapter. Having said that, the characters were their usual selves and the relationship between Jamie and Claire is as strong as ever. There was tension and heartache as the storyline progressed. Drama and twists in the story occurred and the overall read was a good one, but perhaps with less finesse than previously.

Sara Garland

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon is published in pbk by Orion on April 23, 2015



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