We’ve done it! We’ve finished Outlander by Diana Gabaldon! I’m going to first talk about my thoughts on the final section, and then my thoughts on the book as a whole.
So this section was all about Jamie’s escape from Wentworth and his recovery. Claire manages to get into Wentworth and get inside information by posing as Jamie’s distant English relative concerned for the rest of his family and giving him a message. Claire is not allowed to see Jamie but she does gain some information that will be useful. Similarly, Rupert and friends get drunk with some of the guards at the prison and are able to find more information.
During an unsuccessful attempt to free Jamie, Claire is caught by Black Jack Randall and Jamie is forced to sacrifice his body to Randall in order for him to set Claire free. We know that Randall is a sadist and will rape Jamie when Claire leaves. When she leaves she is then attacked by wolves. She kills one and we continue to see this more ruthless side to Claire, before she is helped by a man and his wife, and she again meets Rupert and Murtagh.
Together, the form a plan to get their cattle to stampede the prison. Luckily, they were successful and they free Jamie, though by now he is a broken man. They take him back to the house and first tend to his physical wounds. Realising that they cannot stay for long, they pack up their things, making sure Jamie is in good enough physical condition to sit on a horse, and leave. Though of course they run into some bad luck, and again are approached by redcoats. Claire again is forced to kill for the sake of Jamie’s life, and she kills a young boy of around seventeen. Claire is certainly not a damsel in distress!
They then make it to the coast and take a boat to Normandy, France. Here they stay in an abbey and are helped through Jamie’s recovery by clergymen. Though Jamie’s physical wounds seem to be slowly improving, his mental state is in a terrible condition. He is having regular nightmares, and is scared of all forms of intimacy. He believes that Randall broke him.
There is an excellent analogy that Jamie uses about privacy, and how everyone needs some part of themself to keep to themself, but that his had been destroyed by Randall. Gradually, he begins to rebuild a fortress around it again.
Over time, and a critical infection in Jamie’s hand, Claire and Jamie are able to make plans for the future and be intimate once more. Though not fully recovered, Jamie is getting better each day, both mentally and physically, and we are left wondering where the next adventure will take them.
If it’s not clear from my previous six Outlander blogs, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As far as I can tell, it is historically correct, and covers so many aspects of life in Scotland during the eighteenth century, I also felt like I was learning a lot as I was reading it.
I love having Claire, as a modern woman, tell this story, because in many ways she views the eighteenth century lifestyle in a similar way to how we would. She is a tough character, and I think she’s really well written and a complex character I’d love to read more about.
Jamie. Jamie displays unbelievable amounts of mental and physical strength and goes above and beyond for his wife. He’s such an interesting character, and the perfectly written romantic hero of any historical fiction novel I have ever read.
Their relationship is wonderful, and Gabaldon makes sure to include the extreme highs, the extreme lows, the humour and even the mundane.
My only small complaint with this book is about the scene where Jamie beats Claire for disobedience. I understand that such things were a regular occurrence in the eighteenth century, and that it wasn’t taboo to beat your wife at that time. I don’t have a problem with reading about such things in historical fiction. I do however have a problem with the suggestion that Jamie got some kind of enjoyment from it, as Randall turns out to be a terrible sadist. I didn’t enjoy the parallels between the two characters.
My favourite thing about this novel is that I believed everything. There was no character or event that I didn’t find believable, and I found myself wishing it did all really happen and that these characters really did exist.
I’m looking forward to Dragonfly in Amber!