Another intense ride

Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.


My Initial Reaction…

When I finished Outlander I pretty much immediately picked up Dragonfly in Amber. I couldn’t wait to see what the future held for Jamie and Claire… and then I started reading… and Claire was back in her present (plus 20 years)! So that just hung over me like an ominous storm cloud for the rest of the book. And still somehow, I wasn’t prepared. Another amazing read!


The Characters…

I raved about Claire and Jamie in my review of Outlander and for Dragonfly in Amber, they’re just as wonderful – maybe even more so. The relationship between Claire and Jamie is intense and put through stress by their situation in Paris, not to mention Claire’s concerns about Frank’s survival in the future. I love Claire as a heroine; she’s strong, smart, spunky, speaks her mind, has an adorable temper, and is brave as all get out. She fights for who she loves and what she believes, despite the consequences to herself. Jamie is also really incredible in Dragonfly in Amber – if possible, I think I loved him more. He’s so protective of Claire and yet manages to let her be her own woman; he admires her independence, as long as it doesn’t get them into trouble (which it sometimes does, of course).  For sections though, Jamie is trying to get in with the Bonnie Prince and, as a result, has to run around with the Prince at all hours of the night. This isn’t the real Jamie and he doesn’t like doing it, but it still a little hard to swallow.


I adore the secondary characters and we start to see a lot more of them in Dragonfly in Amber. Jamie’s sister is wonderful – a woman very much like Claire in her strength, determination to protect her family, and her enormous capacity to love. And I just adore Fergus, a young French boy that Jamie hires as a pickpocket, but virtually adopts. We also get to know Murtagh so much better than we did in Outlander and he really became one of my favorite characters for his quiet, yet ever-present love for Jamie and, by extension, Claire. There’s too many more wonderful characters to name or fully describe, but they are all so well developed and unique to themselves. Somehow Gabaldon manages to make all her characters feel so very real.


The Story…

Dragonfly in Amber begins with Claire talking to her daughter, Brianna, after Frank has passed away. Claire has resolved to tell Brianna about her real father and to find out what happened to all the men she left behind in Lallyborch. This section was interesting, but put my stomach into all kinds of knots. Why is Claire back in her present? And why didn’t she raise Jamie’s daughter with Jamie?


Then we’re transported back to where Outlander ended, with Jamie and Claire headed to Paris to help Jamie’s cousin Jared and, most importantly, to get information on the Bonnie Prince. After being so excited to get to this part, I was a bit disappointed by how slow it moved. There was just so much information and after that introduction I just wanted to get to the part that explained why the hell Claire ever left Jamie! There are moments of excitement in France, as Claire volunteers at a hospital, has complications with her pregnancy, and both her and Jamie get involved in some social conflicts.

For me thought, the story really moves when they are back in Scotland – which is about the halfway point. There’s some really wonderful moments of just day-to-day life and for a moment you think that Claire and Jamie might just get the happily ever after, and then you remember how the whole book started and start waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it does. The war that Claire and Jamie have tried so hard to stop has come to Scotland and Jamie is right in the middle of things, which means Claire is too. This section was just so incredibly written – you feel like you’re there (all the while being very thankful that you aren’t) and so many elements and characters that had seemed side notes suddenly reappear as important elements to the story. You’ll be glad you paid attention!


The last 35% of Dragonfly in Amber is so incredibly intense and I could not put it down. And then the last 10% will just tear you apart! I do not recommend reading this part in any public place, unless you don’t mind losing it public. Because you will. No matter how prepared you should be – because you should know what’s coming – you won’t be ready. I sobbed my eyes out. My one hope is that this series has several more books in it, so Gabaldon must have some twists in the offing. I can’t imagine reading this when it first came out, it might have been more than I could take.


Concluding Sentiments…

Dragonfly in Amber is full of excitement, as Claire and Jamie work to thwart the efforts of the Bonnie Prince Charles in Paris. There’s more intrigue and mystery in this book than in Outlander; there’s still a decent amount of action as well. Ultimately though, this remains a love story – and on that front it does not disappoint. There’s also a lengthy introduction and conclusion in the 1960s that raise more questions than they answer, leaving you anxiously awaiting the next book. A long, but great read. Definitely a tear jerker, so be ready with your tissues!