Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/ Women’s Fiction
This book starts off interesting and ends interesting, but the middle and attempt at buildup are pretty dry. I think that is just a second book thing, because A Clash of Kings also happens to be the second book and the “boring” book in the series. That is this one as well, but there is great promise leading into the next book. There is a lot going on in Dragonfly in Amber, so I will try to address what I can along with the main points.
One of the interesting things we get in contrast to the first novel is the point of view presented. While Outlander was Claire’s view only, we do see a bit from the perspective of Roger Wakefield, the deceased Reverend’s son who met Claire over twenty years ago.
The novel begins in Scotland 1968 after the death of Claire’s husband, Frank. In the previous novel, we were left with a pregnant Claire in France with Jamie. As we read this section that takes place about 20 years after her departure through the stones, we meet Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and we see Claire seeking Roger’s help to find out what happened to the men at the Battle of Culloden. The beginning is interesting because of the future the reader starts off with, leading us to question the events leading up to that point. Of course, the book does come full-circle (some 1000 pages later), and we do get to find out all the in-between goodies.
After Claire finds Jamie’s grave, we are sent back in time to Paris, France 1744. Because Claire is from the future, she knows the Jacobite’s will fail. With this premonition, upon Jamie’s escape from Scotland as a wanted fugitive, the duo (and Murtagh) meet up with Jamie’s cousin in Paris. It turns out his cousin knows some important people who wish to restore the Stuart’s to the Scottish throne, including Bonnie Prince Charlie. Instead of stopping the uprising, Claire and Jamie aim to get enough people on their side to win. Of course Claire, being the ambitious woman that she is, makes plenty of enemies within a short amount of time, including the Comte St. Germain, a highly influential man in Paris.
SPOILERS: All the while, Jamie keeps getting into fights, Jack Randall lived through the stampede, Jack’s brother is in love with Mary Hawkins (Frank’s ancestor who end up married to Jack due to illness of Alex Randall), Jamie goes to prison, Claire miscarries, and Clair has an affair with the King of France to get Jamie out of prison so that they can go back to Scotland to fight in the uprising.
Back to Scotland, 1745, Claire and Jamie spend an abundant amount of time gathering the clans to fight the British. Even with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops and the men of the clans, it just is not enough. While the Scots have many minor victories, it all winds down to the Battle of Culloden. In the heat of the moment, Jamie takes Claire back to Craigh na Dun, telling her that he noticed she must be pregnant and she didn’t even notice in all the hustle and bustle of war. And of course, despite their efforts, history cannot be changed.
MORE SPOILERS: As history tells Claire, there were only a few survivors of the battle, and they were all executed. Believing Jamie to be dead all this time, Claire finally tells Brianna who her real father is. Of course, she does not take the news well and she denies anyone being her father except for Frank. When Claire finds out the Geillis has not gone through the stones yet, the trio aims to stop her and save her, but to no avail. We are left with a murder to gain entrance through the stones, and the reveal from Roger that Jamie had in fact escaped execution and could still be alive. We are left with the promise of Claire possibly taking Brianna back in time to meet her father.
Overall the book had some promise. While many people, myself included, have reviewed the part in Paris as “boring,” the rest of the novel is interesting. The hype and buildup of the battle is more adventurous and interesting than the politics of Paris, and the present-day sequences give us the most craving information that makes us want to keep reading. I feel like this will, in fact, be the most boring book in the series, but I feel like Voyager has a great deal of promise. We’ll see!