Dragonfly in Amber
""For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest." His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me. "Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.""
Oh, this one killed me.
The second installment in the Outlander series was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me. Not so much a continuation of the story, it certainly gave the details of what happened where we left off with Claire and Jamie in the Scottish Highlands. At the end of Outlander, we learn that Claire is pregnant but still very much stuck in 1700s Scotland (mostly by choice). This book starts by informing us that Claire travelled back to her time twenty years ago and gave birth to a girl, Brianna and reconciled with her first husband, Frank Randall. What we don't know is what happened between now and then, and Claire tells the story throughout the book.
As with the previous book, I felt that this was a bit too long. As much as I appreciate the beautifully worded descriptions, there were plenty of scenes that could have been cut out to benefit the reader from a painstaking read (I'm blaming this book for the fact that I now need to wear prescription reading glasses). The first half of the book bored me to no end. There were brief parts that entertained me or I would not have been able to keep going, but once I reached about 60%, things really started to pick up. A lot of the day-to-day life of Jamie and Claire in Paris was just dull (although politically important). I also was really upset with Claire throughout a majority of the book, reading that she was drinking heavily pretty much daily throughout her pregnancy. Little did I know until I did research that the harmful effects of alcohol on the fetus were not really well known until the 1970/80s, so I eventually forgave her because she wouldn't have known even in her own time (but it bugged me before I knew).
I thought that there were more complicated emotions in this book, and I cried and laughed a few times while reading. I don't like the concept of changing history through time travel, but as Claire's actions didn't actually do anything to the way things turned out, it may be that things were destined to be that way and I did enjoy that thought. Otherwise, meddling with time just gets much more confusing. The ending made this book worth reading, and left off for another brilliant sequel that I can't wait to read, even though I have to because I just ordered it and need to recover with another book before I dive back into this world. I read a few reviews before reading and most of the consensus was that this book was good, but not as good as the first book and there I don't know if I agree. I liked Outlander, and there are certain quirks I have with this one (everything with Gillian & what happened with Dougal), but I think I enjoyed the ferocity of the added dimensions of Claire & Jamie's relationship, they've come a long way from being forced to marry and everything they went through here almost makes some things from the first book look easy to overcome. Either way, I enjoyed both even though they're brutally long and can't wait to read the next one.