Sunday, 18 October 2015

Review: Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander #4)

Title: Drums of Autumn
Series: Outlander #4
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Arrow
Pages: 1185
Genres:  Romance, Historical Fantasy, Time-Travel

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

How far will a woman travel to find a father, a lover a destiny? Across seas, across time - across the grave itself.

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. Claire Randall was swept through time into the arms of James Fraser whose love for her became legend - a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Two decades later, Claire travelled back again to reunite with Jamie, this time in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in her own time - their daughter Brianna.

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she risks her own future to try to change history - and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past - or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...

I'm finding it hard to articulate my feelings about this book. The phrase 'a hot mess' comes to mind, but this is not a bad thing.

The story in Drums of Autumn begins quite slow paced, Jamie and Claire are travelling to Jamie's only known relative for miles, Aunt Jocasta, seeking refuge. I felt really sorry for Jamie at the beginning of the book. He confides to Claire that he feels like a failure for not having anything to show for his grand old age of 45 - I wanted so badly to jump into the book and give him some comfort. This being an enormous Outlander novel, a lot of dramas, moral issues, and disasters enfold during the entire length of the book.

Jamie, Claire, Young Ian and the rest of the characters felt like comfortable old friends. I love witnessing the development of relationships and seeing Jamie and Claire persevere despite starting from scratch in a new country.

Before long Brianna takes centre stage in the second half of this book. At first I was not sure of the focus being changed from Jamie and Claire's relationship to Brianna and Roger. Brianna is at heart a sweet girl, and I did warm to her the more I read. The meeting of Jamie and Brianna was amazing, it was the moment I had been waiting for and it was everything I hoped it to be. I loved seeing Jamie in his role of caring father and it added new dimensions to his character.

There are hardly any sex scenes in this  book, which is noticeable for me. There is a fair bit of violence though and a lot of new characters. I almost wish there was a little index at the back of the book to help keep straight who everybody is.

Native Americans feature quite prominently and I loved all the details of the tribes and their beliefs and customs - many of which I had no idea about. I also feel like I understand a lot more about travelling through the stones and how dangerous it can be.

There are so many jaw dropping moments in this book, it is worth the commitment to read and savour. By the end I was satisfied but I was still left with quite a few cliffhangers to make me want to read the next instalment, The Fiery Cross.

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