Diana Gabaldon, or Herself, as many of her fans call her, has done it again. First of all, the woman can flat our write, and she can spin a great tale, but mostly, she creates characters we love and care about, laugh and cry with, as if they were our own kin. In this, book eight of the Outlander series, she picks up where she left off in book seven, with hero Jamie Fraser's arrival back from the dead, and all it's import to the main characters of the piece, especially his wife Claire, and Lord John Grey, who has married Jamie's "widow" Claire to keep her from being arrested as a traitor. We rejoin General Washington's troops, fresh from Valley Forge, at the Battle of Monmouth, with Claire in the midst of the battlefield surgery along with her friends, Dr. Denny Hunter and his sister Rachel. Ian MacKenzie, Jamie and Claire's nephew, discovers his mother has not died in the shipwreck with his Uncle Jamie, and continues to court Rachel, while scouting for the Continental Army with his beloved dog, Rollo. Meanwhile, Jamie and Claire's daughter, Bree, back in the 20th century, discovers that her son has not been kidnapped and taken to the other side, and must now deal with what to do about her husband, Roger, who, along with his ancestor, "Buck" MacKenzie, has gone through the portal at the standing stones, to find his son. (If you have read the novella, A Leaf in the Wind at All Hallow's, one of your main questions concerning events in that will be answered in Roger's return visit.) It's all there, and yes, it does go a little slowly at times, but it's still great fun to read, to see our "friends" again, and to reflect on the choices they make and the events which lead them to the end of this particular part of their lives, and how they deal, or don't deal, with them. The ending chapter was particular satisfying for me: "Hello the house!" You'll understand when you've read it. So, five stars for Written in My Own Heart's Blood, To repeat myself, Diana does it again, and I for one, thank her very much.
June 23, 2014