In the fifth book in Gabaldon’s popular ‘Outlander’ series, we find Claire and Jamie Fraser, their daughter Brianna, her husband Roger and their son, Jemmy, dealing with the joys, uncertainties, trials and mundane details of life in 18th century North Carolina. The catch is that Claire, Bree and Roger were all born in the 20th century and have travelled back in time to be there. All of the action takes place between 1770 and 1772, so while the rumblings of dissent are marked, the rebellion hasn’t fully begun.
At the end of book four, there were some loose ends involving relationships within the Fraser family. While I had hoped that other foreshadowed events would play out in this novel, Gabaldon was wise to devote some time to establishing bonds between these characters before moving the story forward to incorporate the American Revolution. Jamie and Claire’s devotion and passion for one another is as rare and strong as ever as they settle into middle age. But they have other concerns and responsibilities that can’t be taken lightly.
Gabaldon is unsurpassed as a storyteller. With a keen sense for historical detail, she interweaves narrative threads deftly, the end result being a rich tapestry of events, liberally accented with humor, suspense and sizzling passion. Characters and references from the other books are widespread, but always in a way that a first time reader could follow. For those interested in nonstop romance, this book may disappoint, but for everyone else, this book will be quite satisfying. Plus, she leaves plenty of loose ends for book six.