- Title: Dragonfly in Amber
- Author: Diana Gabaldon
- Series: Outlander Series #2
- Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
- Category: Celtic/Highlander, Time-travel, Magic
- Length: 752 Pages
- Website: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/
- Challenges: Outlander
Summary: It is the 1960s in New York, and Dr. Claire Randall has been keeping a secret from her daughter for 20 years. The man who raised her as his own, Frank Randall, was not her biological father. Now that Frank is dead and Brianna is an adult, Claire decides it is finally time to tell her about her father. In addition to revealing the truth to her daughter, Claire also accepts that it is time to find out the details of her beloved Jamie’s death at the battle of Culloden. She had never had the strength to research his fate before, but there was always a part of her that thought be may have survived.
The two women embark on an extended vacation in Scotland. Brianna doesn’t quite understand the significance (yet) of her Mother’s new obsession with the Jacobite rising of 1745 and the subsequent battle, but she doesn’t protest much because of the handsome man who is helping Claire with her research. Eventually, Claire has to come clean and she tells Brianna everything – that she travelled through a stone circle in Scotland 22 years earlier and wound up 200 years in the past. She fell in love with Jamie Fraser and married him, eventually conceiving Brianna. But having come from the future, she knew that none of the Scots survived the Battle of Culloden. So when Jamie is forced into the battle, he makes her return to the future to raise their child and escape the dangers of 1745.
Needless to say, Brianna thinks that Claire has gone mad. But at this point, Claire doesn’t care. All she cares about is finding out about Jamie. If she discovers that he survived the battle by some twist of fate, can she make it back to him? And if she can, should she? Could she leave her daughter behind forever in order to live the rest of her life with her one true love? As her research continues, all is revealed.
Review: I’m actually very grateful that I didn’t start reading this series until there were already seven books published. This is one of those series where there can be 3-5 years between releases. Waiting that long for a book is torture for me, especially in a series that is as emotional as this one is.
I finished this book several weeks ago, but I wasn’t ready to write a review on it until I also read the 3rd book in the series, Voyager. Due to the fact that we know from the very first chapter of Dragonfly in Amber that Claire has been living in the twentieth century for the last twenty years after believing that Jamie was killed at Culloden (the first book ended with Claire and Jamie together in 1744), I had this strange sensation throughout the entire book that I had read the last page and spoiled the ending for myself.
Most of this book was actually Claire’s flashbacks to the years she spent with Jamie before she returned to the future. It was a challenge for me to feel a strong emotional connection to the story lines because I already knew what the outcome was going to be- she returned to the future and left him behind. After reading the first chapter, all I wanted to do was find out how they were separated. After they were separated, I didn’t find it believable that Claire took twenty years to find out what happened to Jamie, and I also didn’t find it believable that Jamie didn’t find a way to leave a message in the past (for Claire to find in the future) to tell her that he had survived. They were both too smart and too much in love for either of those choices to make sense.
If I had written my review immediately after reading this book, I would have rated it lower. I decided to wait until I knew how they found their way back to each other before I passed judgement. I’m glad I did that, because when they had to explain the twenty years apart to each other in Voyager, I had a much greater appreciation for knowing why they made the choices they did in Dragonfly in Amber. As part of the bigger picture of the series, this book is crucial and makes sense. Alone, it seemed more like an intermission within the real story.
My favorite part of this book was the historical portrayal of the Battle of Culloden and the repercussions of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 during the years following that battle. It was a dark time in Scotland’s history, particularly in the Highlands, and I was completely satisfied with the author’s depiction of the land and the lives of those who managed to survive.
I recommend this series to fans of historical or time-travel romances. This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it is definitely necessary if you are committed to reading the great love story of Claire and Jamie.