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Another virgin poster here. Where Connie goes, I shall follow!
I, too, had issues with several things in DiA. In fact, after reading Outlander (late last year! So, SO late to the party on this one, you guys), I thought long and hard about whether to even continue reading the series. I was/am just so passionately in love with that book and thought things were pretty neatly tied up (even though I strongly suspected BJR wasn’t really dead), and I worried that further reading would somehow ruin that experience. Of course I continued, though I’m right now in a big pause after finishing Voyager.
Anyway, I realize this is a long shot, but has anyone read “Les Jeux Sont Faits” by Jean-Paul Sartre? It’s one of his more minor existentialist tomes, and the general plot (without spoiling anything — it’s definitely worth reading) is that the characters spend the majority of a very critical time in their relationship working independently on big issues outside of their relationship, rather than focusing inward on each other. That’s kind of how I feel about DiA. Jamie (and to a certain degree, Claire) spends a bunch of time racing around and plotting … and then they just get caught up in the Rising and everything careens to its devastating ending anyway. When, at the end, I realized they’d only had three years together, I was distraught to think that they’d spent that time machinating and not settling down, deepening their relationship and just enjoying each other. (And yes, I do realize that would make for a very poor adventure story — and also that these are fictional characters.)
I was interested in the meditations on whether history is fixed and to what degree J&C’s attempts to change history actually led to their eventual fate. But I was not much interested in the gossip, politics and frank loucheness of the French court, which is how I think Diana wanted us to feel. I would have loved to see more of the year-plus they spent at Lallybroch before the war came. Those quiet pastoral scenes were some of my favorite in Outlander, and there wasn’t much room for them.
All that said, there are a lot of beautiful, sad, heartbreaking scenes in there. Rachely highlighted so many of them — Raymond, Fergus, Faith and the aftermath, Rupert, the “quiet, clean sound” of Claire’s heart breaking. Sigh. So many tears, I tell you.
And one last thing: I commend Diana on writing a historical adventure novel that made the horror of Culloden utterly real and personal. That, in itself, was quite a coup.