Monday, September 01, 2014

Written in My Heart's Own Blood - Outlander book #8

Written in My Heart's Own Blood by Diana Gabaldon was my big book for the summer.  I love the Outlander series, and book eight didn't disappoint.  In fact I enjoyed it much more than it's predecessor, An Echo in the Bone, because it wrapped up comfortably, like the rest of the books in the series, instead of with a cliff-hanger, which was so unsettling.  There's still room for lots more books, should Gabaldon want to continue the story, but it also had a lovely sense of completeness and closure.

One of the things I like about the series is the sense of extended family--it's really the clan idea, but more so. Some of the characters are connected by blood--that's the traditional family or clan--but Jamie and Claire have big hearts and a sense of responsibility to the waifs and the dispossessed whose paths intersect with theirs, and the collection of people who can rightfully say they are part of the Fraser clan, American-style is large and diverse.  Sort of like America itself!

This particular book had the right balance of time travel stuff thrown in too.  In some of the books, the idea of Claire being not of the time she is living sometimes gets lost in the plot.  And there definitely is a lot of plot...and characters...and story threads.  Gabaldon also achieves the right balance of Jamie/Claire with the rest of the threads.  Some of the newer characters are really growing on me, and it was so good to have Jenny's sister Claire back on stage again.  I can't help it, I'm already matchmaking for her and I think Lord John's brother Hal would be an interesting love-interest.  I don't believe he's eligible at the moment, but a lot can happen!

Again, I'm so impressed by the level of detail Gabaldon achieves in a very throw-away style. You never get the feeling with her that she is inserting her research because she did it. I found Claire's treatment of Lord John's eye absolutely fascinating, and I did some reading on the Revolutionary War battles that feature in the story and Gabaldon got the details right and made them relevant.  That is no mean feat.

I do hope there's a book nine in the works.  I think with the Outlander TV series looking so good, the market will be hungry for more.  I sure am.

Speaking of the TV series, did everyone catch Gabaldon in her bit part as Iona McTavish, who attended the gathering?  She talks about it on an Aug 30 post on Facebook.


  1. Terrific review!

    I recently heard an interview with Diana Gabaldon about this series.

    I have not read these books but I really want to. There seem speculative yet substantive. Among many things that sound appealing is the entire family - clan dynamic that you refer to.

  2. Wow, book 8! I've only read the first book but would like to read more. I wish I could see the TV show, but we don't get Starz.

    Congratulations on finishing the Big Book Summer Challenge! Thanks for adding your review link to the list!


    Book By Book

  3. I've only read book 1 and then decided to stop. But now, the TV series has made me change my mind. I love Claire and Jamie so much more and I want to know what's next for them. I'm so curious! Anyway, long way to go before I read book 8!

  4. These are tough books to review because they're so huge -- but you've really captured a lot of what I liked about this book. I loved having Jenny back in the story. Hope you're enjoying the show, I love it.

  5. I really wish I would have liked Outlander more. I feel like I'm the only person who doesn't get a joke!

    1. You're not alone--it seems there are two camps, those who love Outlander and can't get enough of the series, and those who just don't get the fuss. :)