Title: Drums of Autumn
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Fantasy, historical fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the library
Audiobook reader: Davina Porter
First line: I heard the drums long before they came in sight.
I finally finished it! This audibook has taken me forever – and not only because it was 39 discs long. (Note to self: when ripping audiobook CDs to computer, check to make sure you have ripped all the discs before returning said book to library – especially if it’s a popular one.) It’s getting harder to review these books, because since I’m listening to them all in succession, one book starts to blend into another. I’ll try my best, though.
Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the Outlander series through Voyager, then even the plot synopsis of this review will contain spoilers for you.
In Drums of Autumn, we find Jamie and Claire Fraser in South Carolina, building a homestead in the mountains. Jamie and Claire’s homestead is surrounded by the homes of his fellow Scotsman. Fergus and Marsali live nearby, and nephew Ian is still with Jamie and Claire.
Meanwhile, two hundred years in the future, Brianna and Roger are trying to find any information they can to assure Bri that Claire made her way back to Jamie. They do find proof – but Roger also finds a death notice in a newspaper, stating that Jamie and Claire die in a fire in 1776. He hides this from Bri because he is sure that the past cannot be changed and he doesn’t want to lose her. Bri, however, finds the notice on her own and travels through the stones, hell-bent on finding her parents. When Roger discovers what she’s done, he makes his own voyage into the past, determined to find the woman he loves.
This is one of my favorite of the Outlander series, partially because I adore Roger and Brianna’s love story almost as much as I do Jamie and Claire’s. One of the best things about this series is that it explores the idea of romance and love after the wedding, while so many other romance novels stop with the wedding as the culmination and ultimate desired outcome. Those of us who are married, though, know that the real work – and real interesting stuff – of marriage begins after the wedding.
I also adore all the minor characters that are brought to the forefront in this book: wee Ian makes a sacrificial decision for the good of his family; Aunt Jocasta is a strong, independent woman who finds love; loyal Duncan Innes finds love; the young maid Lizzie tries to help Brianna, but the plan backfires; and evil Stephen Bonnet brings horror to the Fraser clan. Roger and Brianna are both faced with life-altering decisions – and Gabaldon writes characters so well that we can feel how torn they each are and understand their doubts while we applaud their choices.
I’ve already started listening to The Fiery Cross, which is even longer. I’m not sure if I’ll make the September 22nd deadline to have both that and A Breath of Snow in Ashes finished – though I might, since I have more audiobook time lately while I’m working out on the bike and treadmill and weights.
If you’ve read (or listened to) the Outlander series, which one is your favorite?