This book covers the longest period of time in all of the Outlander books to date and it was noticeable. Despite going on many side adventures all over North Carolina, the Frasers et al are largely based on their land at Fraser’s Ridge in both this book and the one that proceeded it, The Fiery Cross. Because so much time has been spent on the Ridge, a lot of time is spent with its various inhabitants. They’re often not treated as on-going concerns with true throughlines throughout the novel. Instead, Gabaldon picks them up and drops them again as needed so that you often have to be reminded of what was going on with those characters when you last spent time with them several hundred pages later. I think some of these storylines with the side characters may be handled better if the TV series gets to this book because a story could be compressed into an episode or two instead of feeling like Gabaldon went “Oh yeah, I started that one thing with those people awhile ago, I should really tie that up.”
I read the first four books in the series several times but this is probably only my third time through this one and the second time I listened to the audiobook of it. Davina Porter continues to be my all-time favorite narrator even as this book stretches on forever. It’s gotten to the point that I only really care to have her read these books to me instead of reading them myself. Part of it is that I don’t have the time to read 800+ page books that I did as a teenager but part of it is that I just don’t have the focus to follow Gabaldon on her various side journeys of things she thought would be fun to research.