Series: Outlander. I read book 1 in 2015.
What I remember about this series prior to reading this book: Not much. A married nurse in Scotland accidentally goes back in time and falls in love with a big, hairy Scotsman from several centuries ago. There’s a lot of disturbing sexual violence and the first book was ridiculously long.
Why I stopped reading the series: See above re: sexual violence and book length.
The plot: Claire (the nurse from Book 1) is back in her own time, but now it’s 25ish years later and she has a grown daughter who thinks her father is Claire’s husband Frank (not the Scottish husband, Jamie). They travel to Scotland and there Claire reveals that in fact her daughter’s father is actually Jamie, her 18th century husband, and that Claire returned to the present when she was pregnant. The book then picks up where book 1 left off, after Claire has rescued Jamie from the antagonist, Jack Randall (who is also, by the way, the ancestor of Frank, her first husband). The two of them head to Paris in order to thwart the Jacobite plot to overthrow the British king and replace him with the Catholic Prince Charles, because if the plot goes forward, a bunch of Scottish people are going to die. And then a million other things happen, including at least two characters being raped (I stopped reading this book about halfway through, so who knows, there could have been even more in the second half).
The good: Very little. I liked the Mother Superior of the hospital Claire works at in Paris. I liked the Mother Superior’s dog, too. Claire’s reactions to life in the 18th century were entertaining. My favorite part of the whole experience was the Goodreads reviewer who was indignant that Diana Gabaldon kept writing about birds that don’t even live in Europe (word to the wise, they have skylarks in France, NOT meadowlarks).
The bad: I really didn’t like this book. I actively disliked Claire. I’ve never met any 18th century Scotsmen but I found Jamie to be a wholly unbelievable character, and basically just wish fulfillment rather than an actual person. The section that takes place in France is INTERMINABLE and try as I might, I couldn’t care about the Jacobite uprisings, especially not the political, backroom wheeling and dealings over funds and weapons, which is what the part in France is about. I also felt (which is how I felt about Outlander) that the sexual violence is gratuitous, and that the bad guys are bad enough without also being sexual predators. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just not the right audience for this book. It felt liberating to decide, even after some 400 pages, that I didn’t have to finish.
Did Dragonfly in Amber change my opinion of the series: Yes, I disliked this even more than Outlander.
Will I keep reading the series? I almost always finish books, even ones I don’t like, and I couldn’t finish this. There’s no way I’m coming back for more. In fact, this reading experience was so unpleasant that it has me rethinking my whole plan for my CBR reviews this year. Maybe I quit reading all these series for a reason?