Written in my own Heart’s Blood

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 Claire, Jamie’s 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, Claire and Jenny, Jamie’s sister, are busy picking up the pieces.

The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-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.

The summary above doesn’t even cover half of it – this book went in so many different directions.  But that’s what made it great.  Gabaldon added new characters – and fleshed out some old ones too.  Eight books into a series, one might think there’s not much character development left to do.  But somehow she pulled it off.

One thing Gabaldon did differently in this book has something to do with the layout:  at the end of part five, she wrote “A Coda in Three-Two Time”.  In musical terms, “coda” means ending.  So Gabaldon could have technically ended the book – or the reader could have stopped reading – right then and there.  But there was so much more story to tell.

Enough story that there’s plenty of plot for another book or two.  The ending was perfect, but there are still a lot of loose ends.  This story is nowhere near done.  And Gabaldon is obviously aware of that; she started working on Book #9 a while ago.  We’ll just have to wait patiently.

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