Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Posted January 28, 2014 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 16 Comments

Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana GabaldonDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #2
Published by Delacorte Press on July 1, 1992
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 858
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | Goodreads

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

The setup
When Outlander ended, Jamie and Claire were in Paris following his escape from Wentworth prison. This story opens back in the 20th century, 20 years later. Claire has a daughter, Brianna, who is unaware of her mother’s travels in 18th century Scotland. Claire is seeking information and has returned to Scotland for insight and answers.

The issues
Claire’s past affects Brianna’s future. With Frank Randall’s recent passing, she’s free to not only share what happened to her 20 years ago but also to search for Jamie. In telling the story, Claire chronicles what happened after Jamie’s rescue and how she came to be back in the present.

What I loved about this story
If you haven’t read Outlander, you should probably skip reading this section. I kind of fell for Jamie in the first book but was totally captivated by him in this story. He and Claire cannot return to Scotland and are living in Paris at the home of Jamie’s uncle, Jared Fraser. Together they try to alter the course of history by attempting to thwart Bonnie Prince Charlie’s ill-fated campaign to wrest Scotland from English rule. They navigate politics, attempts on their lives and Claire’s adjustments to the era. It’s lush with subterfuge, romance, action, adventure and surprises. Through it all, Jamie and Claire strengthen their relationship and discover the depths of their feelings for each other. It’s messy and passionate, all the things you love to experience in a saga that spans three countries. Every time you begin to think life will get easier for them, another obstacle arises.

Jamie also emerges as much more than a clever and handsome Highlander. We learn much more about his background and get a better understanding of why he and Claire are so compatible. Claire continues to impress me with her savvy, quick-witted thinking and intelligence. Though she sometimes gets them into trouble, she more often is responsible for having Jamie’s back.

My one issue
I really didn’t like starting the story with Claire in the 20th century and then waiting to figure out how that happened. That question isn’t resolved until the end of the book and it was in the background the entire time. It was a distraction for me.

The bottom line
This is an extraordinary series that I can’t compare to any other I’ve read or heard about. Jamie and Claire’s love story is the heartbeat, with the action and adventure as a backdrop. It’s sometimes harsh and things happen that will bring you to tears of heartbreak and/or happiness. Life in the 18th century isn’t the romanticized version you may be accustomed to reading about, especially when seen through the eyes of a woman born two centuries later. I can’t wait to begin the next chapter.

Jonetta + Cat

About Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

The series is published in 26 countries and 23 languages, and includes a nonfiction (well, relatively) companion volume, THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, which provides details on the settings, background, characters, research, and writing of the novels. Gabaldon (it’s pronounced “GAA-bull-dohn”—rhymes with “stone”) has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey (a major minor character from the main series).

Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled THE EXILE (set within the OUTLANDER universe and featuring the main characters from OUTLANDER), but told from the viewpoint of Jamie Fraser and his godfather, Murtagh.

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters, which entitles her to be “Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., D.H.L.” She supposes this is better than “Diana Gabaldon, Phd.X,”) and spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction. She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney. None of this has anything whatever to do with her novels, but there it is.

She and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three adult children and live mostly in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Jonetta

Co-Blogger/Full Time Reviewer at The Book Nympho
I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!

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16 responses to “Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

  1. I love novels by Diana Gabaldon!! I’m a big fan of her work. As an FYI, you can order autographed novels of Diana Gabaldon’s books from The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ. I’ve been to this bookstore twice on vacations to Arizona and it’s lovely to buy autographed copies of Diana’s books during visits. 🙂

  2. *grin* It’s 1745…America was called the New World at that time. Let’s just say Claire & Jamie’s war adventures are not over yet. I’m a few books behind, I should really get caught up soon.

  3. Fabulous! DiA is one of the best books in the series! VOYAGER is also a good book, but I will be honest, not my favorite in the series. Once they get to the New World though…utter fabulousness. I so need to get my hands on the audiobooks!

  4. Marifel (@marifel)

    I’ve been a fan for over 10+ years. Next to Outlander, DiA is probably one of my favorite books in the series, if not of all time. I’ve reread the series many, many times and am on my first “listen.” Just a fantastic series all the way around.

  5. I love, love this series, Jamie and Claire are my fav romance couple. I LOVE Jaime..LOL
    It’s hard to say anything about this book without giving spoilers, so much happens.
    Great review 🙂 I have read and listened and re-listened to these books, the audio is fabulous. I’ll be ready in June for the show and the final book YAY!