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Book 5: The Fiery Cross

Short Synopsis: One big Fraser clan in the 18th century America colonies just before the American Revolution. Jamie is stressed.

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The Fiery Cross! My first read I was bored! Second and thrid read it became one of my favorites. 

 

The first few chapters dealing with that very long day still tire me out, especially the whole BBQ pig scene.  Yet after that we have so much good stuff!  I probably love this book so much because this is where we really start to get into the expanding world of Outlander.  I love the Ridge!

 

I'm completely fine with the story focusing on others rather than Jamie and Claire.  Roger is my favorite and this book he shines.  His story is so heartbreaking yet also inspirational. Bree, who I was undecided about, starts to intrigue me. I loved their relationship.  Nothing was easy for them and they made mistakes.

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Okay I found the BBQ situation hysterical.  It makes perfect sense to me that people might come to blows over the proper way to cook BBQ.  I live in Texas.  It's important.

 

And that very long day led to one of my all-time favorite scenes -- when Jamie "calls" his clan and he calls Roger as one of the first (the first?) that he claims as his own.  I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

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@WatchrTina the buffalo part was in this book!  The maggots were used for Jamie's snake bite and Brianna makes a needle out of a rattlesnake fang to get the penicillin directly into his infected wound.  

 

It's a great point though how she really is able to adapt to her surroundings just like Claire but using her different talents.  

 

Roger and Bree have very different challenges than Jamie/Claire.  For one, Brianna had limited time to connect with Roger sexually and then was raped.  So they do not have that sexual connection like J&C. They also have to deal with an infant/toddler in their new marriage, who also may or may not be the result of rape.  J&C never had the stress of a new baby or raising a child to deal with.  Anyone who has had a baby knows how it changes everything!

 

We really get to see a lot of this relationship and as @WatchrTina mentioned these characters grow.  We are let in on the mistakes they make and that's what I love about the books.

Edited by peacefrog.
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I know a lot does happen in this book, but it's also the one where the level of detailed description became overpowering for me. I recently re-read it so I could finally get to A Breath of Snow and Ashes (and have some idea what was going on), but it took months to finish due to putting it down for extended periods. (I did start the next one but only got 80 pages in before setting it down. Hoping I can catch up before the show does!)

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I like this book a lot more on reread than I did my first time through.  The day that just drags on for hundreds of pages is a hard slog to get through and probably wasn't the best way to begin a fairly lengthy book.

 

It doesn't have as many of the big moments some of the other books do but it's got a ton of great day in the life of Colonial America bits and slows down to finally give Jamie and Claire something they really haven't had much of up to this point:  time to just be together without always careening from crisis to crisis.  I adore the developing foster father and son relationship between Jamie and Roger beyond their more understandably strained in-law relationship.  The return of Ian and his realization of what Claire is is very nice, as are the chapters after the snake bite where we see how very much Jamie means to the community he's created as the laird he was always meant to be.

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I don't recall be bothered by the very long day.  I recall being absolutely beside myself at Roger's being familiar with Morag.  He did kiss her didn't he?  Because, of course, that sets in motion the events that lead to his being mistakenly hanged.  I was cursing Roger, "Buck" and Herself for putting me through all that.  That's in this book, isn't it?

 

The scene where Roger speaks again, calling out to Jem when he was in danger was cliche (reminded me of Mama Walton getting up out of her polio bed and walking when she dreams one of her children is calling to her) but still, it worked.  And Roger coming to terms with his life after having lost one of the things that really defined him, was an interesting choice for character development.

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Yeah, that's all in this book.  And yeah, he did kiss great-great-whatever grandma which set the hanging in motion.

I think I'm in a minority in that I find it more interesting storytelling wise that Roger didn't get his voice back through some magic procedure.  One of the recurring themes of the series is people taking their losses and finding the inner stamina to power on and come out better.  Roger's interesting to me because he approached the whole going back in time thing like a day trip to a living history museum (and even says as much to Jamie in either this or the next book) and got his ass thoroughly handed to him repeatedly before finding peace in it and embracing the life there.

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The return of Ian and his realization of what Claire is is very nice

Ah, the return of Ian.  I did NOT see it coming and when it happened I just about cried for joy.   But I don't recall Ian finally finding out what Claire is. nodorothyparker do you recall when and why he is told?

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He came back with the time traveler Otter Tooth's diary after one of the old Indian women (can't remember specifics) told him to give it to Claire because it was from one of her kind's or something like that.   He and Jamie were taking turns translating it from the Latin it was written in and when they got to the part about coming through the stones and not knowing where he ended up, Claire realized Ian was looking at her like he'd already figured it out so she told him yes it was true.  So by the end of the book, Ian knows where Claire, Brianna, and Roger came from and that Jamie knew all along.  Hence Ian's great ending line, "I always ken you weren't a fairy, Auntie Claire."

Edited by nodorothyparker.
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Thank you nodorothyparker.  I had completely forgotten about Otter Tooth.  I do love Diana's portrayal of the Indians as being closer to nature and therefore having a keener connection with the supernatural aspects of life in the Outlander-verse than your average white guy.  It reminds me of the scene back in an earlier book when an Indian sees Jamie offering a prayer of thanks over a recent hunting kill before butchering it.  I could just imagine him thinking "well, okay this big red-headed fellow seems to be at least a bit civilized."

Edited by WatchrTina.
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Oooh, Ian coming back and the end with the book and the time travel talk and all that is one of my most favorite things out of all the books! I'd forgotten that was the end of this one. I came pretty close to crying when Ian showed up. And I loved that line he had about Claire not being a fairy too. I could have happily read a two hundred page, all-in-one-day section if it was about that stuff, but the stuff at the beginning about all kinds of random people we didn't know yet and baby clouts and all that craziness was just miserable. This is the book where it's all about nursing and nipples all the time too, right? Lord that drove me crazy.

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Ian coming back was heart wrenching. I didn't see it coming and when it did, I cried. I rarely cry at movies or books. For instance, there wasn't a death in any of the books that made me cry.

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That's me too. I almost never really cry (although the end of book 8 gets me every time I reread it). If I was in just the right mood the Ian coming back scene would do me in, it's that close. I love Ian so much.

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Saying as someone who loves the first two books the most, I definitely think the return of Young Ian is a highlight in the series. Him leaving was gut wrenching and him coming back was definitely a high point in all of the books. It felt earned and so fitting. 

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I'm still not even halfway through this book, though it's definitely holding my interest much better now that the Wedding Day That Never Ends is over.

 

Anyway, I read the scene where Claire explain sperm/the actual science behind baby making to Jamie, and I laughed so hard my roommate (who does not read these books...so far) demanded an explanation.

 

And now I just got to the part where Jamie can't help but be concerned that his sperms are overcrowded and rioting since he hasn't had release for over a week, and I'm seriously dying over here.  He's so commanding and strong and hot, but also totally naive and adorable, and it's killing me.

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I loved Jamie's confessional during the day that never ended.  I wish we could have heard the made up stuff he told the Priest to keep up the ruse. Whatever it was amused Bree and Marsali.

 

Warmed up to Roger for a wee bit when he told Jacosta to shove it. 

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I finally, FINALLY, made it through!

 

I think my main problem with this book is the same I had with the last one, and to a lesser extent with Voyager too.  The lack of a strong overarching plot line.  As I look back I can see the threads that go throughout, linking the Gathering and the murder plot at the wedding and everything with Stephen Bonnet.  But it's not until the very very end that everything links up, so the majority of the book feels like a lot of random stuff happening.  Which is true to life, but doesn't necessarily make for a tightly paced novel.  If it had been shorter that still might not have been a problem, but considering it's length the pacing felt extremely tedious (there were times I felt like I was reading Little House on the Prairie again, just sans Prairie).

 

That being said, I did enjoy large parts of the book.  Ian's return and the fact that he now knows about time travel was excellent.  I LOVE every time 18th and 20th century characters talk about the future.  I don't mind that the books aren't heavily sci-fi/fantasty and that time travel isn't the main focus, but at the same time the time travel aspect does set it apart from a lot of similarly set historical fiction, so it's nice when those discussions happen.  I also enjoyed Brianna shooting Stephen Bonnet in the balls (I know we don't know where she hit for sure, but that was her intent and I chose to believe she succeeded until the series tells me otherwise).  I'm not sure anything will ever top Claire explaining sperm to Jamie, from a pure hilarity stand point. 

 

I'm hoping the closer we get to the Revolution the more the pacing problems will dissipate.  I still love the series and the characters, but I haven't really reread anything from DoA and I don't see myself rereading much of Fiery Cross except maybe the Ian stuff (whereas I've been constantly rereading bits of the first 3 novels since I started reading the series shortly after the show started). 

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The Fiery Cross is the one I don't reread a bunch out of.  I just re-read it in its entirety again and I realized why I don't reread it as much as the others.  It is too much of everyday life and very few scenes just stand out and grab me.  Although, Ian's return gets me every time.  There's much to love in the little things about this book, but there is so much that it's easy to get bogged down in the miniutae.  

I loved Jamie's worry over his swimmers.  

ETA:  

 

Oh and I never caught this on the original read, but I loved how Jamie thought germs would have wee teeth.  The mental imagery I had made me laugh out loud.

AND how Jamie thought his sperm looked "Verra Fierce"  once he got over the shock of Claire using his.  

AND wanting them to have a decent burial and Claire responding, "I'll take good care of them, I always do, don't I?"

Edited by Tif.
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It is too much of everyday life and very few scenes just stand out and grab me

 

THIS.  This is what I meant when I said it was like reading Little House on the Prairie at times.  Some of that stuff is fine, it helps flesh out the world they live in now, but there were definitely times where it felt like it was there because Gabaldon researched something and wanted to include the details even though it wasn't necessary at all and just slowed the pace to a crawl. 

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So I finally finished this book last weekend. Took me forever to get through it, and it wasn't that it was boring (although the endless wedding with a million chapters at the start did try my patience) but nothing much happens. There were parts I really enjoyed at the time of reading but thinking back I can't remember many off the top of my head. Although Young Ian re-joining The Ridge and finding out the truth about Auntie Claire not being a faerie was defiantly one of them. 

And as cruel as it sounds I didn't care much for Roger getting hanged, it just dragged on and on and on...I can't say I have really warmed to Rodger and Brianna but if I was Roger and all these awful things kept happening to me, I would seriously be thinking about getting the hell out of dodge with my family, especially since the kid can travel through the stones.

One question, when Claire was sleeping upstairs at Jocastas after the wedding and she had fought with Jamie over the rings (BTW what an ass he was in those scenes) someone came into the room and was touching her feet etc, was it ever resolved who that was? Or do we find out in a later book?

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One question, when Claire was sleeping upstairs at Jocastas after the wedding and she had fought with Jamie over the rings (BTW what an ass he was in those scenes) someone came into the room and was touching her feet etc, was it ever resolved who that was? Or do we find out in a later book?

I am almost positive I read that Diana Gabaldon said it was Jamie.  I think it was in her compuserve forum.

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she had fought with Jamie over the rings

Wait, what?  Can you remind me about that because I don't remember a fight over rings other than Jamie being angry with Claire for trying to swallow her rings rather than give them up to that thief.  Is that what you are talking about?

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I think it was at Jocasta's wedding.  Jamie asks Claire for her gold ring to gamble with against the dandy guy. 

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Yep what peacefrog said. I thought it was a bit off for Jamie to ask Claire for both her rings so he could save his pride and go off and gamble with them.

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I think what pissed Claire off was that he ONLY asked for the gold one.  She was so pissed she gave him the silver one too. 

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Just finished it and had to put my thoughts down - sorry that it's so long, I just couldn't stop myself....

 

So when you remove the constraints of plot what are you left with?  In Fiery Cross it is the richness and breadth of the language that creates vivid descriptions and strong emotional beats. It is cinematic, visual, tactile, visceral, emotional.  The pacing allows the story to breathe as it depicts Life on the Ridge.  At its core, this story is about the mending of things that have been broken: relationships, bodies, families and communities.  It’s said that when a bone is broken, the site of the break, once healed, is stronger than it was before.  This is kind of an over-arching theme in DG’s books and there is a whole lot of healing and strengthening going on here.

 

For me, this book belongs to Jamie.  He’s a fixed point of light that anchors the characters and us the readers.  He is a monster of a character here, that jumps off the page and grabs you by the throat with complexity and emotional intensity.  This is the book where I finally succumbed and fell head-over-heels in love with JAMMF!  He is indeed the “King of Men.” Roger’s journey, although important here, is intertwined with Jamie throughout.

 

There were 3 times when I cried buckets: Roger’s story of his mother letting go of his hand; Jamie taking Roger’s hand for strength during the snakebite treatment (yikes, I’m tearing up again); Young Ian’s return, which I did NOT see coming.  Other highlights for me included the closeness that develops between Jamie and Roger, father and son, and the palpable tension while all his family/ extended family are in attendance as Claire administers the penicillin. “Murdo and Roger leaned inward instinctively, their shoulders pressing against his, holding on.” (I was holding on right along with them) “I felt everyone’s breath held” “the unconscious leaning toward the bed” and finally Jamie breaking the tension by cracking jokes.  It was so clear how much the people of Fraser’s Ridge loved and needed him.
And yeah, the moment when Bree said “What about it Stephen, do you keep your powder dry?” before she shot him made me laugh out loud!

 

There was only one point where the plot fell down and took me out of the story, and that was when the woman who recognized Roger at the hanging didn’t open her mouth and tell them who he was – rather she runs halfway across a battlefield to find Jamie & Co.  Made no sense.  But I will overlook it because the rest of the book is just so damn good.

 

And always, in the background, is the ever-looming promise of war that threatens to destroy the life our characters are building.  The tension of possible future disaster is sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle but always present.

 

I really did not want FC to end and found myself taking my time, to really savor it like fine whisky or a buttery steak dinner (bison, of course).

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I just finished this book on my 1st read. I'm now on CH12 of ABOSA and still don't understand why Ian came back. Was it just to deliver the book/letter about Otter Tooth? What about his Indian wife and family? I feel like I missed a whole chapter somewhere.

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IIRC, his wife,WorksWithHerHands,

essentially divorced him when she came to believe that he could not give her healthy children (after a second unsuccessful pregnancy). Then the tribal elders told him to go, presumably because his continued presence would bring discord to the tribe -- especially if she took up with another man.  They may also have come to believe that his lack of success fathering children was an indication from the gods that they were displeased at his having been taken into the tribe, though that is just speculation on my part.

Edited by Athena. Reason: Spoiler tags. Ian gives this explaination in later books.
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I don't think you missed anything. Ian is pretty tight-lipped about what happened, though he does eventually explain it. 

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What?! WHAT?!!!!

 

Oh no she didn't! But she did! What the fuck?

 

The reason Bree gives Roger for why she told Bonnet-- that he was the father of her baby!!!!

 

Because she wanted to FUCKING "comfort him" because he was going to die!

 

SERIOUSLY? I mean, is Gabaldon for REAL????!!!!!!!

 

Why in the bluedilly FUCK would one want to comfort her rapist?! Fine, you want to forgive him, fine. That's all you need to do, if you need to do that at all.

 

Apologies for all the f-bombs.

 

Now I think I'll go off to a corner...nay, I think I'll just take a wee break and actually git me arse back tae work.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule.
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Hope everyone had a nice Fourth of July! Well, I've gotten to around Chapter 70-something...and here are me thoughts since me last post:
 
When Jamie, Roger and Claire have left the Ridge to do the routing of the Regulators.  I read here (before I started re-reading the books) about how funny it was that Jamie was worried that germs had "wee teeth" or something, and that he was worrit about his swimmers and Claire told him not to worry, that she'd take care of them...just that she hadn't gotten her tubes tied, when Jamie wished she had, because he just wanted her...he had enough "bairns" and that scene just made me go "awwwww"

But in this book, I think Gabaldon is truly trying to gross me out...Jamie and Claire have had sex, sometimes, when she's been on her period! YUCK! GROSS!!!! Or the times when Bree's breasts are so "engorged" with milk, when she and Roger make love that they...spill out, like ejaculation? UGH.

And I'm not sure what Gabaldon is trying to tell me with Bree not having orgasms with Roger. Is it because of the rape? There was a line where Bree said enjoyed the power she had over Roger, and that she didn't want to surrender. I guess after shooting Bonnet in the balls, maybe she let's herself go?

And Jeebus Cripes. Now Claire is a dentist and an opthomologist/optometrist, too???!!! Give me a fucking break.
 
At this point, everyone is getting on my nerves except for Jamie. and Roger.
 
And good gracious...the looooong draaaawn out scenes with that Beardesly guy, who had suffered a stroke,  and was lying in his own filth, a wife whose front teeth he probably broke, and the Brown family thing...ugh. I skipped over the Roger with the browns and even with Beardesly.  And made me wonder what the fucking point was? To kill him and then bury him, for it to become, oh, well, Jamie wasn't there to bury or mourn his father. Like I was supposed to find the two situations comparable?

And I know I've said it before, but what is this fetish that Gabaldon has with the constant description of human feces, (shit), snot, drool, etc., etc. 

Does she have children? Because I've held infants, and infants that are hours old are not strong enough to "pummel" one's liver hard enough for the pummelee to feel it!

And I totally skimmed over Bree going all PMS (I hate using that word, but it's what she was acting like--from a bad sitcom, that I'm sure Gabaldon thought was funneeee! teehee hee hee, which it was NOT) on Roger, and we never found out why. One minute she's all lovey dovey, and when he shakes his breeks and dried mud hits the floor, she goes all psycho on him, and acting as if he's supposed to know how to read her fucking mind and know why she's upset. UGH.
 
And I see that Gabaldon's writing hasn't changed. Here we are, 20 some years later, and she still writes Claire's descriptions of things in their medical/technical, archaic terms instead of layman's terms.  

Like the one snippet from  Book 9 and it's a scene between Claire and Roger, where she's examining him and refers to his hyoid? Now I have to look that up, because I don't know if it's his chest or a bone near his throat.

.

I'm not looking forward to it, but I know it's coming--Bree confronting Jamie about why he asked John to look into Bonnet's whereabouts. Since she found that letter and read it.
 
Hee Hee, LOLOLOL, and I mean really laughing out loud and trying to contain it when I get to chapter 36--ye all ken what I've just read there: Jamie cupping himself and asking Claire to make sure his swimmers got a "decent burial."
 
I don't care about new characters; just Jamie and Claire, really. I don't care about these new characters and the fights between Mrs. Chisolm and Mrs. Bug were ANNOYING. 
 
I'm at a loss about Bree's character as well; Roger just found her journal where she's talking about her "secret me" and waiting to find Roger's secret name, so she can forget about Bonnet or something like that.  I know, just from reading  the snippets of Book Nine (and spoilering in case it's not revealed in 7 or 8 

that Mandy is CLEARLY Roger and Bree's daughter, so she does get pregnant again?



It's like Gabaldon is so obsessed with making her a female Jamie, down to all of a sudden her having Jamie's "inscrutable" expression, when she didn't have that when she was living in the sixties or growing up, and so fucking MANLY, down to her hands and apparently big bone-ness...and at the same time to make sure she is a woman; just a unreasonable, bitchy one, though.  Again, not trying to understand that she's in the 18th century, so of COURSE Jamie would hunt up Bonnet. Not saying his name won't make his existence or what he did go away; as long as Jemmy is proof; assuming we never learn whether he's Roger's or Bonnet's.

And I feel bad that she was raped, but it IS her fault for going alone with him, knowing he was a smuggler and a thief; did she think she could just negotiate with him?

Now this new character who claims to have heard about Bonnet has me all suspicious--MacDonald is his name. Other than perking up and thinking he can still be a soldier if he gets to live on the Ridge, all his other actions have me side-eyeing him.

 

And this is the thing I hate about Gabaldon--because there was no need for it, but her ambiguity over just who was massaging Claire's feet and also stroking her calves and thighs! Of course it was Jamie! But having Claire freak out over how that fop Wylie also had "large hands" and also had "callouses" so she couldn't tell if it was Jamie or not was insulting; and how she couldn't ask Jamie because of the fight they'd had over the same dandy earlier in the day.  Though that was such plot contrivance as well.

 

The whole CSI and Law & Order scene where they're all trying to figure out what happened--and hey! Maybe Duncan was the intended victim all along was tiresome.  

 

Bree continues to bug with her refusal to understand why things are done a certain way in the 1700s. Now I'm blanking on what it was, but it had to do with Duncan, the mystery of Betty's murder, and her exclamation of "they can't just DO that!" or some such nonsense.

 

Aaaand, OMG! OhMyGoodness! Nooo! Puir, "Wee Roger"!  It's CLEAR that Buccleigh is his Mother and Father's son. Arsehole. Douchetastic PRICK.  That entire scene of Roger getting tied and gagged so he couldn't tell Tryon or whoever else was there, that he wasn't MacQuiston, down to his hanging was so very difficult to read, but read it, I did.  At first I was confused--I thought Buccleigh that arse, had shoved Roger's brooch down this throat, then gagged him, so that when the noose went around his throat, it would have to kill him, and I'm thinking, how does he survive?

 

I really am enjoying how Jamie and Roger have seemed to bury the hatchet and that Jamie considers Roger his son. I was grinning, evilly I'm sure, as I was sitting in the train, reading the part when Jamie grabbed Tryon by the throat and asked how is it that he (Tryon) mistook Roger for MacQuiston.  And I also very much enjoyed Jamie sticking that lech, what'shisname Henderson, in the arm.  Queue in my eye-rolling at Bree's whatever for asking Jamie why he did that.  And if it gets my feminism card yanked, I dinna care, but I loved Jamie's question to her about Roger--did she expect him to be her lapdog or a bird in a cage? And expect him to do nothing? I get she's not in her own time, but even in the 21st century, should a similar thing happen, I still see and read, the hero standing up to protect and defend.  It doesn't take anything away from the woman--I'm sure Bree could have defended herself. She just chose to dilly-dally and not.  At first, I thought the "thwk" was Gabaldon's typical way of describing a slap, and that Bree had hauled off and slapped the motherfucker.

 

It's like I said before--Brianna is the one character who just seems to be a plot point. And her reactions and actions to whatever plot is going on, is proof of that to me.  I don't read and say, yep, that's what Bree would do. Because there is none of that. NONE.

 

Aaand naew, I guess I'll find out if Jemmy indeed messed up Claire's surgery, or if it was broken into. Or did that wee lamb swallow the sapphire and break the Opal?

 

So now I'm looking forward to the scenes where Jamie was snake-bitten. Not him getting bit, but the healing and how Roger and Fergus? (Can't recall but read it here, pages back, about what a wonderful scene that was.)

 

Sorry for the looong post, but I had to get it off me chest.

 

ETA: because spelling, grammar and punctuation is IMPORTANT!

Edited by GHScorpiosRule.
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Thanks for sharing, GHScorpiosRule. I know I am enjoying reading your thoughts on each book as you read them. :)

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I have to admit, I've missed seeing...

"Auntie Claire!"

"But Auntie Claire!"

Wee Ian made such an indelible impression on me.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule.
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Does she have children? Because I've held infants, and infants that are hours old are not strong enough to "pummel" one's liver hard enough for the pummelee to feel it!

 

Gabaldon is a mother of three.  With the earlier printed editions, she'd mention them in the forewords: what they thought of her being a writer and what things they'd hear from schoolmates about her books. Her son is a fantasy writer himself now, under the name Sam Sykes.

 

I'm at a loss about Bree's character as well; Roger just found her journal where she's talking about her "secret me" and waiting to find Roger's secret name, so she can forget about Bonnet or something like that.  I know, just from reading  the snippets of Book Nine (and spoilering in case it's not revealed in 7 or 8

that Mandy is CLEARLY Roger and Bree's daughter, so she does get pregnant again?

 

In answer to your question,

yes, Bree does get pregnant again.

Edited by Dejana.
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Claire's use of medical jargon doesn't bother me, since she is a doctor and we're in her head during all of her chapters. I don't find it any more distracting than Jamie's use of gaelic. 

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I am also enjoying your thoughts on your first trip through the story, GHScorpiosRule.  I hardly remember what I was thinking back in the day, but I probably only wanted to know Jamie and Claire's parts of the story also and felt distracted by all the other stuff peripheral and outside their orbit.  I hope you revisit the books again at some point, once you are done with them all.  I know after a few re-visits, I have come to appreciate the whole story of what life was like for the whole family and their tenants and friends during that time.  So many new personalities get shuffled into the story, just like real life, I would think.  How they assimilate (or not) into the community is interesting to me, since I already know the Jamie/Claire story within the whole thing.  I find myself looking for the additional elements of these stories now when I re-read or pick up random chapters for distraction.

 

Bree never really gets away from being a child of the modern world, IMO, which sets her up for huge mistakes in the past.  That she went with Bonnet thinking it was just going to be a convo about the ring is exactly what a "modern" woman might do, not expecting she would have a serious reason to fear for her safety or that, if so, that someone wouldn't intervene on her behalf.  She wouldn't consider talking to any man as a sign of boldness or even sexual encouragement as opposed to just meekly avoiding any interaction, as a woman of the times would more likely do.  This subject gets brought up in a later book in a convo between two other characters, so watch for it.  It kind of gets muddled in the bigger story going on at the same time.  I also think this is similar to the Obidiah Henderson thing, her relative ease in talking to him at first gives him the idea to press her and then she is at a loss as to how to get rid of him.  He's basically a stalker in modern terms.  How that would be handled in her own time is different than what would be done then, so it probably doesn't immediately occur to her to have Roger go work him over just for "looking" at her.  AFA Bree going "PMS" on Roger for shaking dirt onto the floor I think she, as the "modern" woman, was frustrated that she had kept order at the Ridge and sorted out the daily dramas but since it wasn't some "important" thing like going off to battle (or not, after all), her accomplishments were not even asked about or acknowledged.  I think she says just that after her outburst. 

 

I also usually skip the Beardsley with a stroke parts but I took it as an illumination for Jamie about what might have happened to his own father and the state he was in before he died.  No one was likely to give Jamie the gory details of his father's condition after the stroke so he can be suitably horrified that his father might have been in a similar state.  It also makes a good point about the times they live in.  Who takes care of a person that suffers a debilitating stroke or from disease?  If you don't have anyone who cares enough about you, you would just lie about until you died from neglect.  This is also mirrored somewhat by an earlier scene at the (endless!) Gathering, when Jamie sends Roger out to speak to the heads of families to ask for support for an upcoming militia.  He goes to the Findlay camp to speak to the head of the family of "Auld" Joan, but Iain Mhor is incapacitated by some neurological condition. He is still deferred to as the man of the house, so to speak.  That's the opposite of Beardsley, Iain Mhor has a family that cares for him regardless of his physical condition so he continues to live.

 

I just go with all the bodily function TMI's since it keeps it in mind that most of these people live in very close quarters and therefore all this gross stuff was just a part of their lives at the time. 

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But in this book, I think Gabaldon is truly trying to gross me out...Jamie and Claire have had sex, sometimes, when she's been on her period! YUCK! GROSS!!!! Or the times when Bree's breasts are so "engorged" with milk, when she and Roger make love that they...spill out, like ejaculation? UGH.

 

 

I just go with all the bodily function TMI's since it keeps it in mind that most of these people live in very close quarters and therefore all this gross stuff was just a part of their lives at the time.

 

 

 

It's part of life now. I don't understand what is so "gross", much less "GROSS!!!!" about either of those things. They are very natural aspects of humans having intercourse. Women shouldn't have to limit their love-making (which is inherently a messy process at the best of times), simply because they are on their period or breast-feeding and possibly a little leaky.

 

And I feel bad that she was raped, but it IS her fault for going alone with him, knowing he was a smuggler and a thief; did she think she could just negotiate with him?

 

 

I have to respond to this. Being raped is never a woman's (or a man's) fault. The fault lies solely with the rapist. Also, since when does a smuggler + thief automatically = rapist?

 

And I see that Gabaldon's writing hasn't changed. Here we are, 20 some years later, and she still writes Claire's descriptions of things in their medical/technical, archaic terms instead of layman's terms.

 

 

 

Claire's use of medical jargon doesn't bother me, since she is a doctor and we're in her head during all of her chapters. I don't find it any more distracting than Jamie's use of gaelic

 

 

Exactly what Glaze Crazy said. Why would she use layman's terms? What is "archaic"  about Claire using "medical/technical" terms? 

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And that's the wonderful thing about opinions--we're all entitled to have our own and we need not agree on everything.

 

The things I find gross, I find them gross; I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. Just stating how I feel;  Just because stuff like that is normal life, doesn't mean I want to read descriptions of them repeatedly while I'm reading.  And it's not the use of medical terms that are archaic, but other words the Gabaldon uses to describe things, and I don't feel like looking up an example just to "prove" what I am talking about.  Others may not have a problem with it, that's fine. I'm just not one of them.

 

I'm not blaming Bree for her rape; but she knew that she was not in modern times; asking to meet a stranger, a dangerous stranger, alone to ask about her mother's wedding ring was stupid.  I don't want to argue over this because it was done as a stupid plot point, and the subject matter is a subject I don't think of lightly, so I'll just leave it at that.

 

So. Finally got to the snake bite part and it was...amazing. Not Jamie getting bitten, but just how it all unfolded. But I was left scratching my head while Roger waited for the others to find them. He didn't want Jamie to die; was making him comfortable, but it was like, after he sucked out all the poison he could, it was like, well, I've done all I can, nothing else to do. Let's just let the poison spread. I thought for a moment, he had something, an herb, johnie something or other, that could help. But nothing came of that. Unless it was in the water he gave Jamie to drink?

 

But those chapters were tense. Even if I hadn't spoiled myself, I knew he wouldn't die because I knew there were other books. I don't know if I would have felt the same had I read it when it first came out; would I think that Gabaldon would go there and kill Jamie off? I can't imagine that's how she would end the story.

 

But I especially loved the chapters after they brought Jamie home. Eh on the buffalo killing, but the rest? Tense. Emotional. Jamie went ahead and tried to will himself to die, and along with Claire, I was pissed.  It also made me wonder if that was his thinking in Outlander after she had saved him from Wentworth Prison. Except then Claire could see Jamie was willing himself to die.

 

And now this morning, I'm laughing again, because Jamie is on his way to mending, and as is typical, is cranky.  I don't know why it's such a stereotype that it's only men and/or doctors who make the worst patients; I'm cranky myself when sick. But I'm enjoying Jamie's sarcasm.

 

I should be done with this book by tonight or tomorrow.

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Fair enough on opinions of what you find to be "YUCK!" and "GROSS!!!!", but I don't know how you can say this:

 

I'm not blaming Bree for her rape

 

 

when you've just said this:

 

I feel bad that she was raped, but it IS her fault [bolding mine] for going alone with him

 

 

Those two statements seen to contradict one another. The subject matter is a subject I don't think of lightly, either, which is why I questioned what you said. 

 

she still writes Claire's descriptions of things in their medical/technical, archaic terms instead of layman's terms.

 

 

it's not the use of medical terms that are archaic, but other words the Gabaldon uses to describe things, and I don't feel like looking up an example just to "prove" what I am talking about.

 

 

I'm not asking you to "prove" anything, and I'm certainly not looking to argue, but rather discuss. I'm trying to understand you. Is it possible you mean "anachronistic" instead of "archaic"?

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Bree never really gets away from being a child of the modern world, IMO, which sets her up for huge mistakes in the past.  That she went with Bonnet thinking it was just going to be a convo about the ring is exactly what a "modern" woman might do, not expecting she would have a serious reason to fear for her safety or that, if so, that someone wouldn't intervene on her behalf.  She wouldn't consider talking to any man as a sign of boldness or even sexual encouragement as opposed to just meekly avoiding any interaction, as a woman of the times would more likely do.  This subject gets brought up in a later book in a convo between two other characters, so watch for it.  It kind of gets muddled in the bigger story going on at the same time.  I also think this is similar to the Obidiah Henderson thing, her relative ease in talking to him at first gives him the idea to press her and then she is at a loss as to how to get rid of him.  He's basically a stalker in modern terms.  How that would be handled in her own time is different than what would be done then, so it probably doesn't immediately occur to her to have Roger go work him over just for "looking" at her.  AFA Bree going "PMS" on Roger for shaking dirt onto the floor I think she, as the "modern" woman, was frustrated that she had kept order at the Ridge and sorted out the daily dramas but since it wasn't some "important" thing like going off to battle (or not, after all), her accomplishments were not even asked about or acknowledged.  I think she says just that after her outburst.

Thank you for this wonderful assessment of Bree's character. I have had a problem with the character throughout (I'm reading ABOSAA right now) and this does help to explain some of her behavior that has left me scratching my head.

Regarding Bree's rape discussion: the problem I have had with that whole sequence of events is the character inconsistencies. She is a woman who grew up in the big city of Boston and would know that a woman alone does not go wandering around certain neighborhoods late at night, even in 1968, unless she wants trouble. She is a woman who knows enough about the 18th century to travel dressed as a man because again, a woman traveling alone would be an easy target for nefarious evil-doers. But this same woman encounters a shady character who is wearing her mother's wedding ring - a ring she knows her mother would never willingly take off - and decides to meet him, alone, on his turf, and think that everything will be fine? The idea of stepping on that ship alone should have made the hairs stand up on the back of her neck. I can only think that Bree took her stupid pills that morning, because no matter how concerned she was for her mother, she was only a day or two from family, including her father, who would KNOW why Bonnet was wearing Claire's ring!! So no, I don't blame Bree for her rape - I blame Gabaldon, for making Bree behave completely out of character in order to set up the rape.

But, hey, if anyone can offer a reasonable, character-based explanation for Bree's decision to go off with Bonnet (other than lazy plotting by DG) I'm happy to hear it.

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Bree in this book and the the previous one, I've always thought, had the same problem Roger did in traveling back in time.  They were both modern characters.  They'd both read history so they thought they had a handle on how things were.  They both knew that people's attitudes, educational levels, and understanding of the world were different than their own.  But they both treated it almost like a trip to a quaint living history museum and vastly underestimated how dangerous things could really be when they got it wrong.  

 

You see that in Roger thinking he can approach a married woman (even if she is his secret long lost however many times grandmother) without her husband reacting badly to it.  Or Bree in assuming she as a woman alone can talk to Bonnet or Obidiah on the Ridge without them reading anything into it and pressing the issue.  That doesn't make what happened to either of them their faults, but it does show that they really didn't get how different the world they were in now was.  

In the next book another time traveler points this out, that he could recognize Claire and then Bree for modern women because they aren't afraid of men the way women of the 1700s are.

 Even Claire occasionally falls victim to this, as when Jamie has to point out to her that as a married woman in that time she really has no legal rights.  She's clearly taken aback by it even though we know she very deliberately and knowingly went back in time to choose this life.

 

None of this of course means that I don't agree that Bree walked into an unsafe situation with Bonnet because Gabaldon needed her to for plot purposes.

Edited by nodorothyparker.
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I agree with you about Bree and Roger. They are so different than Claire even. I think her experiences with Uncle Lamb and later with the war really shows when she is back in time, even though she definitely is anachronistic as well. I think she adapts better, for all her modernness. Roger and Bree definitely give more of a vibe that they feel like it is more a living history museum

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To be fair, Claire is naturally a better fit.  She was born in 1918 before the world fully modernized as we know it.  She did spend a fair amount of her childhood living without modern conveniences and then a good chunk of her adulthood before her first trip through the stones in a more primitive war zone setting.  In many ways, it wasn't quite as much of a culture shock for her.  She also went back the second time intending for it to be permanent if she could find Jamie.  Roger and Bree on the other hand came of age in a time of mini skirts, rock music, and the moon landing.  They also didn't plan to stick around for longer than what they needed to do there and thus never planned accordingly.  I think it's in this book that Jamie remarks that he can see that the world is going to become a softer, safer place just from seeing how they are.

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Great thoughts on this. FC is definitely a better book on a re-read, especially after reading the following ones. I'm pretty sure I was not happy the first time I read but now it ranks high on my list in this series.

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I appreciate all the thoughtful comments on Bree's character. I always viewed her as fitting in much better than Roger did, but now I see that she is just as much a fish out of water. And I think that makes living in this time even more dangerous for her than Claire because she doesn't appear to be aware of just how different she is. Nor is she aware of the long term consequences of her actions (for example: her telling Bonnet that Jemmy was his because she thought he was going to die??). Hopefully, this realization will help me to find her less irritating as I continue to read the series :-)

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I agree with you about Bree and Roger. They are so different than Claire even. I think her experiences with Uncle Lamb and later with the war really shows when she is back in time, even though she definitely is anachronistic as well. I think she adapts better, for all her modernness. Roger and Bree definitely give more of a vibe that they feel like it is more a living history museum

Bree and Roger also have each other to keep their time alive between them  , Claire was alone and had to adapt and her stories about the 20th century will never be anything but fairy tales  for Jamie .

 

 

 

 Roger and Bree on the other hand came of age in a time of mini skirts, rock music, and the moon landing.  

That and also the civil rights movement , the sexual revolution and the pill .

 

 

 

Great thoughts on this. FC is definitely a better book on a re-read, especially after reading the following ones. I'm pretty sure I was not happy the first time I read but now it ranks high on my list in this series.

I think FC is a good book but the one day that never ends, tends to be what a lot of people remember of it . Once you know the story of  the book you can better appreciate the details of the story.

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I'm really old school (I think that's the right phrase), and there are a lot of phrases or words that are a "thing" that I just can't get behind, buuuuut...

 

I'm nearing the end...I'm at 97%...I'm going to wait until I'm done to post my thoughts, but I just have to say...

 

The feels! The feels! Oh my goodness. I just can't with the feels!*

 

*See what I did there?

 

I'll just leave it with I Knew it! I knew who had murdered Betty. No red herring or twist. But the Dr. Rawlings? I did NOT see that one coming.

 

Okay, have to get back to work for another half hour or so, and then totally going to finish the book before I go to bed tonight and then post my thoughts.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule.
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I'm really old school (I think that's the right phrase), and there are a lot of phrases or words that are a "thing" that I just can't get behind, buuuuut...

I'm nearing the end...I'm at 97%...I'm going to wait until I'm done to post my thoughts, but I just have to say...

The feels! The feels! Oh my goodness. I just can't with the feels!*

*See what I did there?

 

 

I understand that you're almost done with the book. I do not understand the rest. Can you please explain?

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GHScorpiosRule, I was crying like a baby through a lot of the last few chapters, so I'm glad you are finding the last parts of the book emotionally satisfying :-)

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