Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Published: 1992
Page Count: 947
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Note: Book 2 of the Outlander series
Significantly slower then its predecessor, Dragonfly in Amber is a great continuation of the story nevertheless.
*Slow Beginning *Violent/Graphic
“You are mine, always, if ye will it or no, if ye want me or nay. Mine, and I willna let ye go.” Having escaped the torture of Wentworth prison, Claire and Jaime seek asylum in France to hide Jamie from the price on his head in Scotland. But their time in the French court will not go to waste as they seek a way to stop bonnie Prince Charlie from making his campaign to take back his family’s throne a reality. Will Claire be able to stop the doomed war that will mean the end of the Highlanders and possibly the man she loves and the father of her child?
Though it takes awhile to get its groove, the second book is just as epic, maybe even more so, then the first. Readers get to jump between the future and the past to see more of Jamie and Claire’s adventures but also to see the fallout of Claire’s choices once she returns to Frank and the future. Another interesting twist to the story is having a majority of it take place in France. It means new characters and our favorite couple traversing through famous sites like Versailles in order to try to sway politics in their favor. But much to my relief, the author manages to weave in characters and plot lines from book one which are great additions to the story in terms of nostalgia.
This book took me two long months to finish, effectively destroying any chance of completing my 2016 Goodreads challenge I might add. A great deal of that had to do with how mind numbingly slow this book was. I would say it took a good five hundred out of the almost one thousand pages in this book until I felt really invested in the story. Whereas book one has the novelty of time travel and Claire’s struggle to adapt to the past to entertain and engage readers, book two doesn’t have that luxury. In fact, this book really sets the tone for how this series progresses from here. From this book on, it must rely solely on the power of Jamie and Claire’s story which will need to evolve in order to keep it interesting. Only after you get midway through the book does everything feel like it comes together and that the reader gets a sense of where the story is going and what the characters’ purpose is. Until that point, the jumble of new names and intrigues along with the occasional scenes of graphic violence make for a chaotic beginning that I did not feel very motivated to follow along with.
Because of how long it took me to get through this book, I wondered if this would be my last foray with the series. Five more books at around one thousand pages each seemed to ask a lot of me, and I could just stick with the TV show. In some ways, the graphic nature of the story and the constant sexual violence per book started to feel like a gimmick until this book hits its stride. Everything that book one and the beginning of book two had been building towards, the Jacobite rising, comes to a surprising and action packed head. With the war finally making an appearance and Claire back in the future (as indicated at the very start of the book so not a spoiler really!) I couldn’t see how the author could manage to keep this series interesting. That is, until you read the last two chapters of this book and Gabaldon has once again ensnared you into reading the next book. This is definitely not the end of Claire and Jamie Fraser from the looks of things!
*TV Adaptation: (Starring Caitriona Balfe 2016)