My only qualm is the homoerotic sadism of Captain Jonathan Randall that is rather lovingly detailed in all his scenes. I would personally have preferrMy only qualm is the homoerotic sadism of Captain Jonathan Randall that is rather lovingly detailed in all his scenes. I would personally have preferred much less of that, but otherwise the setting, characters, story line and story telling in this first book of the series is enchanting. The dynamic between Jamie and Claire is so appealingly written - they are so well matched as companions and soul mates that it is a real pleasure to get lost in. If only ordinary men and women really were capable of such mutually rewarding relating, it would be a happier world! That element is why I have labeled the book 'fantasy', not just because of the time travel - which is also handled wonderfully! Over the years I have listened to this book in audio format twice, and read the hard copy twice, and it gives me great joy every time. Jamie is the best-written, fictional, ideal fantasy male ever!...more
A book featuring heroic librarians is my idea of a truly great book! My respect for the profession has greatly deepened. Geraldine Brooks wrote an artA book featuring heroic librarians is my idea of a truly great book! My respect for the profession has greatly deepened. Geraldine Brooks wrote an article for the New Yorker in 2007 detailing the background of the actual Muslim librarian Dervis Korkut, which is very worthwhile reading.
I was profoundly moved by the stories told in this wonderful book, in reverse chronological order, about the book's journey back to its origins. Brooks' experience as a war correspondent in Bosnia during the war served her well. Her grasp of the complex issues, peoples involved, and the sheer history of it all was very impressive.
It inspired me to seek out more background information about the eviction of the Jews from Spain in 1492, the Inquisition and the lives of those Jews who converted to Catholicism, the 'conversos'. I still want to learn more about the making of illuminated manuscripts, and the movements of various ethnic populations during the middle ages between the African, Arabic and European continents.
The current day protagonist took awhile to warm to with her cocky Aussie slang and manner, but I liked her well enough by the end to be glad for the choices she made for herself personally, occupationally, and romantically. I listened to the audio version and was grateful for an excellent narrator, Edwina Wren.
Jamie and Claire are dealing with the coming revolution, and the change of sides they must carefully make when all their relatives and many clansmen aJamie and Claire are dealing with the coming revolution, and the change of sides they must carefully make when all their relatives and many clansmen are staunchly loyal to the Crown. I love this period of American history, and feel that I now have a better insight into the nuances of the challenges facing people at that time. The details of piracy, smuggling, brothels, medical emergencies, and slavery are all gritty and fascinating too. [I have been grateful again and again that I live in gentler and fairer times.]
My respect and admiration for the author deepened profoundly as I made my way through this wonderful audiobook read by Davina Porter. What a marvelous story teller Diana Gabaldon is! ...more
I listened to this on audiobook and was completely knocked out by the wonderful performances of the three readers who brought to life Jane Boleyn (LadI listened to this on audiobook and was completely knocked out by the wonderful performances of the three readers who brought to life Jane Boleyn (Lady Rochford), Anne of Cleves (wife #4), and Catherine Howard (wife #5). The three intertwining stories of these three women whose lives were so involved is utterly gripping and heart-wrenching. It is the same story that we all already think we know, about Henry VIII and his wives, but told from this amazingly intimate and as-it-happened point of view. Even if you have read lots of books about this era this is so worth listening to, and maybe reading. I'd have to recommend listening over reading, however, as these readers injected such nuance and layers of meaning that my own internal 'reading voice' would never have conjured.
I originally chose it because I was interested in knowing more about Anne of Cleves, who lived to see the coronations of both Edward VI and Mary I, and it indeed offered wonderful insights. It is fiction, of course, but all the elements that I looked up were historically accurate, such as the fact that Anne's sister also sat for a portrait by Holbein - meaning the sisters were set up as rivals for the King's attention. Such agonizing family dynamics may help explain why Anne did not even consider returning to Cleves when the marriage was annulled. ...more