“I woke three times in the dark predawn.”
I read the first book in this series about two years ago, the first summer during the Covid lockdowns, back when we were all taking our dumb little walks (I like walking). For some reason, I guess simply the length of these books put a hitch in my plan to keep reading them, because I found the first novel pretty compelling, especially the ending scenes with Claire looking into the morality of her position.
At the beginning of this novel, we meet Claire twenty years after returning to the present day as she’s bringing her now 20 year old daughter with her to re-connect with the Scottish landowners she knew when she was young, before traveling to the past. As part of that meeting, she tells her daughter and the now grown Roger Wakefield about the rest of her time in the past (she hasn’t gone back, but is telling the rest).
After Jamie’s rescue and recovery, he becomes part of the envoy to France with Bonnie Prince Charlie to ask for money from Catholic France to fund the Scottish restoration attempt. Claire knows that this attempt (the restoration) will be futile and she’s worried that Jamie will die in the battle she knows about. Jamie is also unsure if he wants to risk his family and their estate for a possibly futile rebellion and is working to undermine the envoy’s attempts.
There’s a lot of fun intrigue in France which leads to some very real silliness, but among other things, Claire picks back up her healing practice.
Eventually they head back to Scotland, where Jamie has been pardoned, and live more regular life on the estate. The novel barrels into the second half with the rebellion picking up speed, and the driving question of whether Jamie and his clan will be involved. And of course we know that Claire is destined to return to the present day soon as well.
I know where we’re headed because I’ve seen the show, but I still think the novels are quite compelling. Maybe I won’t wait two years after this one. But also maybe!