Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon #Review

Posted January 11, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 25 Comments

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon #Review
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #8 Outlander
Genres: Historical Romance, Time Travel Romance
Released on June 2, 2015
Pages: 864
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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I have held onto this one for some time since its release.  I anticipate each new release so much that it must seem bizarre that I don’t devour the book immediately after I get it.  This is because I don’t like the feeling of it being over until the next one and I know that I will experience severe book hangover with no books matching up for quite some time.  And once I open books from this series, I am lost to the world.  As with the others, this one was no exception.  The ending of the last book left me dying to know what was going to happen next and this one didn’t disappoint.  It dropped me right back into the story and didn’t let go until it finished.

So, yes, this is the eighth book in a series that really must be read in order.  No starting in the middle or treating any, but the first one as a standalone.  Supposedly, the Lord John Grey series and the miscellaneous novellas don’t need to be read between these larger released books and that was true for the most part.  But with this one, I realized that a few characters and their backstory was more fleshed out and made better sense after having those other books/novellas already read.

The book opens right where the last one leaves off which leaves me in a quandary as to how to summarize without offering spoilers.  But, then I realized that it has been out for more than half a year so really, at this point, it’s probably okay to proceed with a quick summary.

Because of the nature of how this book is written, I’ve decided to do quick updates on each story thread I can recall.  Yes, there are many so hang in there with me.

First of all, there is Jamie and Claire’s daughter Bree and her husband Roger along with their kids with another time traveling relation of Roger’s in the 1980s Scotland.  Somehow word got out to a greedy man about their secret time traveling ability and that Jem knows where Jamie hid some gold back in North Carolina.  Rob Cameron hopes to capitalize on this knowledge and attack Bree where it will hurt her because he hates her.  Roger and Buc travel back in the past to look for Jem and have several interesting encounters.  Meanwhile, Bree is left keeping her and Mandy safe while desperately searching for Jem in the present.  Where and when they will all meet up causes quite the quandary.

All roads seem to lead to Revolutionary War era Philadelphia for everyone else.

As the war rages, everyone is put in danger.  They barely made it through the opening of the war and Saratoga and now it is the eve of the Battle of Monmouth.  Jamie and his family are pulled back into the war and it takes a heavy toll.  Spies for both governments seek to use or destroy Jamie’s family and friends.  Claire shivers as she sees events unfolding just as she learned in the history books as they rub shoulders with General Washington, Nathaniel Green, Mad Anthony Wade, Governor Benedict Arnold, Colonel Andre, LaFayette, Baron von Stuben, and so many more.

Claire and Jamie have had their fair share of trouble.  This latest of Jamie presumed dead and Claire remarrying Lord John Grey for his protection of her not being taken as a Continental spy leads to lots of trouble when Jamie is back.  Jamie confronts John even as Jamie also has to accept what happened and why.  The past is stirred up anew.  Love is tested once again.

William is nearly destroyed to discover that everything he thought he knew about his birth and family is called into question.  He is angry and hurt and lashes out and isolates himself even as ambitious men put a bull’s eye on him to use him to get to his powerful connections.  He is a paroled soldier so he is not allowed to take up weapons and fight, but is restricted to supportive army roles which frustrates him.  In the meantime, he acts as protector to a prostitute and her young sister which leads him into a great deal of trouble.  It distracts him from his pain and anger for a time.

Ian and Rachel along with Denny and Dottie try to figure out how they can make Quaker beliefs work with issues of marriage outside the meeting house and being a Quaker in a time of war.  Ian is finally at peace with his Highlander and Mohawk natures living within, but is a little fearful that he isn’t enough for Rachel especially after his Mohawk wife left him for another.

Fergus and Marsali with their family are in the crosshairs of a French spy that is a shadow from Lord John’s past, who wants something from Fergus and, he, or someone else, will do anything to stop Fergus’ printing work.

Jamie and Claire fight to keep the family safe and together longing to get them all away from the war and back home to Fraser’s Ridge.  They worked toward going home and wish that they could have all their children around them.

So, this one was one huge book of exciting multiple plot threads that weave together well.  Several are left dangling and of course, there was a cliffie there at the end to leave me wanting.  The swift shifts in threads and narration keep the reader on his toes, but I actually didn’t mind because I enjoyed all the plot threads this time around.  Stuff is actually moving forward swiftly.  The emotional impact was deep and I was riveted from the opening page until the end.

I loved that there was some strong intrigue in this one with the espionage element.  I love that the truth about William is out in the open now.  I like that a few relationships tightened up and committed.  There is also more of a magical element revealed when it comes to those with the time traveler gift.  Very interesting and left me with a few more questions.  There is also a sense that things are marching closer to the end as some things come full-circle.  In essence, I was pleased that each thread felt like it was moving forward and that was what I was missing a little from the last book.

There was a different level of energy to this one.  It felt invigorating and refreshed.  There is something powerful in the saga of Jamie and Claire’s romance and the family they have built around them.  Love it!

All in all, I was lost once again in the Outlander world and I hated coming back to reality.  I already know that I will be re-reading this book at some point.  I will definitely be eager with each release milestone for the next book.  I heartily recommend the book/series to those who enjoy historical romance particularly when it is written closer to historical fiction and saga romance.

Challenges Met (2015):

Romance Roundabout #1 HR

Mt. TBR #1

Literary Pickers #1 Candelabras

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • I had planned to read Outlander on my holiday break, but it slipped through. It’s been on my shelf forever, but I’m honestly thinking of getting the audio book because I don’t have time to read it while working. Great review!

    • I listened to the Outlander audio for a re-read. It takes a while either way. LOL But Davina Porter is a wonderful narrator.

  • I would never make it to book eight in a series! I’m bad about starting a series and never making it past book two or three. I have a short attention span, I think!


    • Haha, Stephanie!

      Sometimes series aren’t people’s thing. I tend to flit around and get books out of order, but there are a couple series where I actually did it right. So proud of myself. 🙂

  • Debbie Haupt

    Oh Sophia, I love this series. The End NOoooooo say it aint so. Right now I have A Breath of Snow and Ashes waiting for me on my TBR shelf.
    Thanks Girlfriend EXCELLENT review!

    • I don’t know if the next book is the end, but this one felt like it was drawing people together and tying off plot threads like it was getting close. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I want to get to the end, but I also don’t want it to ever end.

      I figure, I’ll just keep re-reading this series every few years because I love it. I’m on book four, Drums of Autumn, in the audios.

  • It’s good to know you loved this one! I’m slowly going through this series myself and only on book 3. 🙂

    • Yes, slowly is about right. They’re huge. 🙂 I’ll be interested in what you think of the next three.

  • I have only listened to book one…ooh your review has me craving to start book 2.Fantastic review Sophia!

    • Oh yes, book two has a lot going on particularly at the end. Mmhmm! 🙂

  • Wow! I can’t imagine sticking with a book series so long! 8 books and it’s still going? I can tell you’re really passionate about these books though and that’s epic! As long s the story doesn’t drag and it always offers something new, we’re all good! <3 I hope your next books are just as awesome! <3 xoxo

    • Oh yes, not only are there eight books, but these hummers are like 800 pages long or more. LOL

      Love the series! I will definitely re-read.

  • Doubtful I will ever read these

    • LOL! They aren’t for everyone, true, but you never know…

  • I have been curious about reading these, but I am not sure I will pick them up….at least until the series gets finished. And boy are they huge. But I also am not sure if these would be books I would truly enjoy. I like saga romances, (as you know) but this saga is a bit different from anything else. Glad you have loved it though.

    • Yes, these are a different sort of saga and holy cow yes, they are long. They blend historical fiction, sci-fi, suspense, and romance. Maybe in a few years or something. 🙂

  • Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t read this author and I liked your review.

    • Appreciate it, Mary. Always glad to get kind words about my reviews.

  • Kids?! Okay, I need to watch the episodes, not sure if I can read this many books right now, but I can definitely binge watch it. I love the actors playing the MC’s too, the girl playing Claire has an amazing ass! lol #girlcrush

    • Oh yeah, and grandkids. This series follows the couple over a long time span.

      I watched part of the first season and liked what they did with the show. Naturally there are differences, but I think those were to get such a huge book condensed for the show. LOL, Catriona does have a grabsy butt for sure. She looks so much like what I picture for Claire so they did a good job casting her.

  • lawd have a heart, there is so much going on with this series. Honestly, I couldn’t finish book 1…it was long as ever, lols. But I will say there is some rich and descriptive storytelling going on. Glad you are enjoying it 😉

    • You said it! A lot, for sure. No shame in not finishing book one since it was like the size of five regular novels. Oh yeah, the historical setting was amazing stuff.

  • That first alinea perfectly describes what I do with my anticipated releases, I love the feeling of still having a book I know I will love to read that I often don’t start it until weeks or even months or sometimes years later. It’s sad once it’s over and the feeling of potential and knowing you still have a good book to read can be so nice.

    I haven’t read this series and not sure if I will, time travel is a topic I usually avoid and the books are pretty long, but lost of people seem to love it. I like the sound of the multipel plot points and the intrigue, it sounds very well written. I am glad you enjoyed this book so much 🙂

    • Oh good! I hate to sound crazy. I do that with a lot of series. I race out to grab it when it releases, but then hold onto it for so long before actually reading it. But yes, its because I enjoy the anticipation as much as the story itself.

      These are definitely not for everyone. The time traveler element is a sticky point for many people. I don’t mind it. And yes, these are huginormous books and can be intimidating as a result. The multiple plots are done well so the switches are easy to follow and many times they seem separate, but end up coming together in a surprising twist. Oh yes, I do love these. 🙂

  • That first alinea perfectly describes what I do with my anticipated releases, I love the feeling of still having a book I know I will love to read that I often don’t start it until weeks or even months or sometimes years later. It’s sad once it’s over and the feeling of potential and knowing you still have a good book to read can be so nice.

    I haven’t read this series and not sure if I will, time travel is a topic I usually avoid and the books are pretty long, but lost of people seem to love it. I like the sound of the multipel plot points and the intrigue, it sounds very well written. I am glad you enjoyed this book so much 🙂