In Drums of Autumn, Diana Gabaldon has once again created another enjoyable installment in the Outlander saga. I don't think I'll ever tire of spending time with soul mates, Jamie and Claire and their collection of family and friends, although I have to admit that the romance in this book seemed more subdued than in the earlier stories. When they were originally released, the first three books of the series were marketed as romance, but Drums of Autumn seems to be something of a turning point, in that it decidedly had more of the flavor of historical fiction with a romantic element. There are implications of intimacy written in veiled terms or with the door being shut before any juicy details are revealed, but there were only two moderately descriptive love scenes that I recall, one for Jamie and Claire and one for Roger and Brianna. Having the love and romance aspect of the story toned down a bit was somewhat disappointing but by no means a deal-breaker. I just love Jamie and Claire so much, I think anything they do would be interesting to me.
There is no doubt that Drums of Autumn was intriguing and enjoyable, but the first half of the book moved at a relatively slow pace. Unlike with the first three books, it was not particularly difficult to put down. I think this is because Jamie and Claire have finally settled into a more "normal" life and are just kind of going through the motions of day-to-day living. It was also very different having them in the American Colonies. They have a number of mini-adventures, but for the most part it seemed like a series of unconnected events. Some of these things did end up being related to other events later in the book, but at first glance, it was like a whole new story was being set up for Jamie and Claire. There also was initially no main objective that the couple were working toward like there was in the first three books of the series, and although a villain does rise up for them to "battle," I didn't find him to be quite as compelling as Jack Randall or Geillis Duncan. I know we haven't seen the last of him yet though, and perhaps he will come into his own in the next book. About halfway in, Brianna travels through the stones, followed by Roger, and at that point things began to gradually get more exciting and imbued with a greater sense of urgency, but it wasn't until about the ¾ point that things really got intense as Brianna reveals some shocking news and I really worried for Roger's safety after his inauspicious first meeting with Jamie. All of this led to a fairly climactic and satisfying ending. Although there were a few loose threads which I'm sure will be built upon in future books of the series, overall, the story had a more finite ending that the first three.
Diana Gabaldonis the #1"New York Times"bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels "Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes"(for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), "An Echo in the Bone, "and"Written in My Own Heart s Blood" as well as the related Lord John Grey books"Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, "and"The Scottish Prisoner;"one work of nonfiction, "The Outlandish Companion;"and the Outlander graphic novel"The Exile." She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband."
In the first three books, Jamie had some tremendously romantic and noteworthy lines. He wasn't quite as quotable in Drums of Autumn, but by no means has he forfeited his spot as my all-time favorite romantic hero. It's so sweet that even after all these years, Jamie still occasionally shows shades of innocence in his sexual relationship with Claire. I love Jamie's intelligence too. He's extremely well-read and multilingual with a true talent for picking up new languages fairly easily. He's never questioned Claire being a time traveler and her own knowledge of things that he doesn't fully understand. If anything, he shows an innate curiosity about things like baseball and a man traveling to the moon. I've always liked that Jamie treats Claire as an equal partner in their relationship, which is far more than many men of the era would have done. He also greatly respects her for her knowledge of the future and her medical expertise and supports her practicing medicine in any way he can. Jamie is a man with dignity and honor who doesn't want to appear a beggar even if he is currently penniless. It's almost inconceivable that Jamie would think he isn't a good man, but the fact that he does question his own goodness, I believe, shows great vulnerability and self-awareness on his part. He is also still greatly respected as a leader among the Scots who populate the Colonies, and it was great to see Jamie wearing the plaid again. I've always thought it so sad that fate robbed Jamie of the privilege of raising either of his biological children, but he's been a great father in every sense of the word to Fergus and young Ian, treating them like his own blood sons. It was great to finally get to see him interacting with Brianna. Even though he isn't quite certain what place he has in her life, he loves her to a fault and would do anything to protect his "little girl." Too bad he ended up beating up the wrong guy to do it. Although Jamie and Bree can both be stubborn and end up hurting each other more than once, they had an equal number of tender father/daughter moments. I also loved the scenes with Jamie and William. Unlike Brianna who is grown, Willie is still a boy, and I like that Jamie has at least had a few stolen moments with him. Jamie truly is a wonderful father and his family is only expanding.