Written in My Own Heart's Blood
WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the eighth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga, which I’ve loved for many years. I’ve invested time and tears in the pages of this series, and I’m happy to report that this latest installment evokes many of those same feelings.
Jamie Fraser, presumed dead by his wife Claire and his family, turns up very much alive in Philadelphia with his sister, Jenny, also thought dead, to find out that Claire is now married to his good friend, Lord John Grey. While Claire is more than excited about having her previous husband back, her current spouse isn’t so thrilled. She’s in a bit of a pickle, to put it mildly. Jamie, upon hearing the news of his wife’s marriage, takes out his fury on Lord Grey when he reveals some personal details. That’s when things go off the rails. Jamie and Claire manage to find peace with the situation --- would their love allow it otherwise --- but the real big problem is the Revolutionary War, which looms large and problematic for the entire Fraser clan.
"WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART’S BLOOD is the eighth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga, which I’ve loved for many years. I’ve invested time and tears in the pages of this series, and I’m happy to report that this latest installment evokes many of those same feelings."
Jamie gets called to service as a General in George Washington’s army. Young Ian Fraser, who is also having love problems, is called upon to be a scout for the army ,which wants to make use of his Mohawk skills. Fergus and Marsali are still running the paper and managing to stay out of trouble, for the most part, but things are tough for them both on the rebel side. William, after finding out his biological father is Jamie Fraser and not Lord Grey, isn’t handling life well at all. Lord Grey, who goes missing for a bit after a run-in with Jamie’s fist, isn’t around to help his son, making things even worse for William. And Jenny? Well, she’s finding her place in the colonies, happy to be with her son and family again.
Back in the 20th century, Jamie and Claire’s daughter, Brianna, and her family are presumed safe, happy and healthy. While it might be easier for Jamie and Claire to sleep in 1778 believing this, it is not the case. A colleague, who has it in for Brianna, kidnaps her young son, Jemmy, hoping to discover the family’s secret. Believing their boy has been taken back through the stones, Brianna and her husband, Roger, make a heartbreaking decision. Roger goes back through the stones to look for Jemmy but finds himself even further back in time with no way to let Brianna know what’s happened.
Oh, time travel, the problems you can cause. Let me say this upfront: If you love this series, you’ll find yourself sucked back into Jamie and Claire’s story without even a second of hesitation. Gabaldon doesn’t disappoint on the crazy factor either. It’s truly hard to believe these two people can find so much trouble, or that so much trouble finds them. Wars, being shot at, fires, deaths, presumed deaths…you name it, it happens. Somehow, I’m able to put all that aside because, at the base of it, I really do like these two characters even if I can’t believe --- or sometimes even mildly buy into --- everything that happens to them. Seriously, I think Claire manages to meet every famous person in her 18th-century timeline. I just move past it and hungrily read on wanting to know what happens next. If you’re a fan of the series, I have a feeling you’re in the same boat. It might be unbelievable, but it's fun.
My introduction to the Outlander saga was by accident. I picked up book four, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, at a book sale, and a few pages in, I realized it was a series. I immediately went out and bought the first three books and haven’t looked back. As soon as I finished the seventh, AN ECHO IN THE BONE, I wanted to read this installment. After several days of total immersion in this world, I again want more. Not to ruin anything for Gabaldon’s fans, but you’ll probably be feeling the same way after this one, too. Eight books later, Jamie and Claire still ring very true for me. The two are still in love, having a lot of sex, arguing about the little things, and finding ways not to get shot at. All I have to say is to jump in. It’s a fun ride.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on June 13, 2014