Thursday, October 8, 2015

Diana Gabaldon's Dragonfly in Amber, A Review

If you could travel through a portal in time 200 years in the past, would you? If you left a beloved spouse behind, would that change your mind?





In the library belonging to a deceased clergyman scholar and his adopted son Roger, Claire Randall delves into historical records of her current time to find out what occurred after the battle at Culloden, fought in 1745 in Scotland. In Dragonfly in Amber, the story of her journey back in time unfolds after Claire has been back in her own time twenty years. She wants to tell her adult daughter about her real father. Roger's connection with that time in the past must also be explained.

Roger and Brianna listen as Claire tells how she arrived in 1745 from 1945 and why and how she came back. What she is burning to know - did Jamie Fraser, a man from that time, survive the battle which decimated Scottish clans? In the past from whence Claire came twenty years before, political turmoil gripped Europe, with the Bourbons, the Stuarts, and other nobles all plotting in Scotland, France, England, Spain, and Italy. From Scotland to France and back again, loyalties shifted and royal favour depended on whom you were backing.

Jamie and Claire establish a business in France, intent on keeping an eye on the Scottish royalty in exile there. They manage to get close to certain royal circles, but the game keeps changing. The intrigues of the French court under Louis XIV, and the pompous and tedious daily rituals of being 'at court' start to weigh on the Scottish visitors. 

A duel ensues after Jamie discovers a secret of the hated English officer from Outlander, Jonathan Randall and challenges his nemesis. Dueling is against the law, landing Jamie in the notorious Bastille prison, where only a royal pardon will release the prisoner. Once Jamie is released, he and Claire are given safe passage back to Scotland where preparations for a battle in support of 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' is gathering momentum.

Following on the heels of Outlander, this novel continues to explore the Jacobite uprisings. I recommend this book if you like historical fiction seasoned with time travel, romance, historical battles, duelling, attempted murder and blackmail. . .I enjoyed Dragonfly in Amber and its story nested within a story approach.

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Are you a Diana Gabaldon fan? Have you read Dragonfly in Amber? Would you like to time travel? To what time period?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for stopping by! I'm currently working on something for Halloween, via a challenge hosted by Denise and Yolanda at WEP ...Write Edit and Publish. . .. check out the link, you might be interested.



Reviews Coming Up: 
I'm going to be reviewing two totally different books for this blog soon: Hemingway's 'For Whom the Bell Tolls, and Anne Rice's 'Don't Look Back'. 

Currently reading: 
French Quarter Nocturne (R. Yeomans) and Sacré Bleu (Christopher Moore).

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26 comments:

  1. Hi DG - I know you suggested her before - and I'm sure I bought Outlander and have it here to read. I read quickly when I read - but all else goes out the window ... so at the moment I'm back to not reading.

    This sounds great fun and I did read a couple of books of this ilk over the summer - I need to write them up.

    Thanks for reminding me/us about Diana's works ... I love learning about this era through historical fiction - as it ties in with the courses I do ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Very interesting, Hilary that you do courses about this time period (are you the presenter?) I find Diana is meticulous with her research which adds to the setting. She talks of Versailles and Le Havre, France in this story.

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    1. Well since you ask, yes he does, as I've read other books in this timeline, but Claire doesn't know. I'm waiting to find out in the next book, Voyager. . .

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  3. I would love to time travel. I'd go to the late 1800s/early 1900s and buy every single marble and beaded purse I could find.

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    1. That's the Belle Epoque, JoJo, one of the eras depicted in Midnight in Paris, and includes the end of the Victorian period, I believe. I'd choose the next era - 1920s when the writers were congregating in Paris and medicine was improving. . .

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  4. I don't know if I told you, but I reread Outlander after you posted the review for that one. It was still an excellent read 20 years later. I have Dragonfly in Amber, but I know how I am when I read these books... I can't put them down!!! However, your review is making me rethink my time. It was an EXCELLENT book.

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    1. No, I don't think you told me but I have kept my copy in case I want to reread Outlander again. I liked this one too, and am looking for the next one, Voyager. I've got #4 and have read #5, The Fiery Cross.Glad I inspired you to read these books again. I'm a fan of Gabaldon the writer and the person (I met her at a conference).

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  5. Yep, I'm a big fan of the novels. Read most of them twice, because I just love the world she created. And it was fun to see the next generation follow Claire into the past and see how they adjusted.

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    1. I like her style and use her writing as a model when I am considering my world building, even for scifi. Makes me want to see the stones in the UK.

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  6. I love historical fiction and need to start reading more, used to be one to two books a week, suffers for the writing. But it's still the best way to relax and find inspiration. These sound like amazing books!

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    1. It works for me, I like the wayGabaldon writes, and it's hard to find fault with Jamie Fraser, her back in time husband - a man's man and a woman's man. Claire as a nurse who served in WWII, is interesting as she deals with the lack of medicine in the 1700s.

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  7. I'm a big fan of time travel stories. Not a fan of the Outlander TV series, but perhaps the books are better?

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    1. I think the books are better, Milo, and this one is where the protagonist is having to explain about time travel to non-believers. How difficult would that be?

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  8. I'd love to pull a Midnight in Paris and write/drink with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and so on. And I still haven't read any Gabaldon, but I'd like to. I love historical fiction and a good time travel story.

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    1. I'd like to do that same thing, meet and talk to the writers and the artists, sigh...Woody Allen may be a little weird but Midnight in Paris is one of my fave movies. I watched a couple of episodes of Outlander on tv, there's too much focus on the intimate scenes (sex) and too little on the historical period. I like the books better.

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  9. I read Outlander (loved it) and really need to read the next one in the series.

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    1. Yes you do, if you liked the first one. I'm looking for the third one now. . .

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  10. Somehow I knew you would read Sacre Bleu! :-) Time travel is fun in theory but the limitations of medicine would put me off going into the past -- however, I would like to be able to time travel like MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

    I hope you enjoy my FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE. Sadly, all the things I wrote Bush could have done for New Orleans were possible. Hundreds died needlessly, :-(

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    1. Sacre Bleu is about artists, and painting, and has an overlay of the paranormal - have you read it? It makes me sad what happened to New Orleans. . . and as for meeting the writers in Midnight in Paris, the only other place to do that is in Meilori's isn't it? (both are hard to get to)

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  11. Yes, I am a Gabaldon fan, but as her books are SOOOO BIG I tend to overlook them when I'm so overwhelmed with so many other projects. I'm enjoying your reviews. I'll love it when you review Hemingway. This is an author I can say I have every one of his books/short stories.

    Thanks for your WEP shout out D.G. A bit quieter this month I guess because there's so many Halloween challenges! But it'll be awesome fun!

    Hope all goes well. :-)

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    1. Even Gabaldon calls them her BIG books, Denise. . . As for Hemingway, I have all of his books I am interested in, but not the ones about Africa. I've read all of Fitzgerald's novels. I've not read many of either author's short stories, though.

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  12. I've only read this and the first one, so far, but the third one is in the TBR pile. I don't love it as much as those who recommended it to me, but I enjoy the series.

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    1. Ha, it's the third one I'm looking for. . .I have he 4th and the fifth one I've read and reviewed (the Fiery Cross). I like the historical aspect and I like the MC's partner, Jamie.

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  13. Sounds like a fantastic read... I woul love to time travel.... All over ... Mostly back in time. I have no real curiosity for the future.

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    1. I'd prefer to go back to, rather than forward, although I would like to be around when the average person can see Earth from space. Thanks for stopping by, Michael!

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