Kelly's Reviews > A Breath of Snow and Ashes

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, time-travel, historical-fiction, epic-sagas

So Melanie and I want to start a discussion about the Outlander books and my sister Melissa said to just start a review on my books and it would be sent to my friends who could then all comment and start a discussion that we can all see. Is that the longest sentence ever?

Melissa has read my personal emails from Melanie, but Lisa hasn't so just jump in because where I start here might seem random. Too bad we don't all live close so we could do lunch, although it might take a lot longer to discuss than one lunch hour!

In regards to Jamie seeing Claire (and vice versa) while she is in Scotland with Frank, Melissa and I have discussed this a lot. He was obviously not a hallucination by Claire because Frank actually saw him outside before he came in. Also, we ruled out Jamie doing any time travel because he can't hear the stones. Although, I have always held out hope that someday he will travel through the stones. I'd love to see modern America through his eyes (see, here I am again talking about him like he is a real person - just like I really want to talk to Edward about his perspective in the Twilight series). I think it has to be more than Jamie just dreaming or having visions of claire and then brianna and roger because, at least in the case of Claire, she saw him and Frank saw him. He must be traveling somehow, but obviously not through the stones. Melanie - I think you must be right about his spirit walking in other times. Maybe we need to email Diana to get a conclusive answer...or, at least, request that it be addressed more fully in a future book. Who knows, maybe it will happen again in the next book and it will be more clear what is actually happening.

As to who would play Jamie in a movie - for me, hands down - Gerard Butler - he is big, handsome, scottish, but no red hair (they can fix that, though). Melissa - I know you are not seeing it, but what do you know?!

Melanie - I am totally with you on the accent. I always try to read it with a Scottish accent. Okay, so full confession of the degree of nerdiness here - I will actually say some of the stuff out loud (yes, by myself) in the accent just to hear how certain phrases or words sound. Now, as my sister can attest, I can't do accents at all, so it is pretty embarassing...oh well. My husband can do accents, so maybe I should make him speak with a Scottish accent (it would only be to his benefit...he he). My sister-in-law (Deb - you should chime in on this discussion too) said that after she read the series, she listened to the books on tape and said it was really fun to hear the accent with the story. I have been meaning to do that forever, but with four kids, I am brain dead and never have time to do anything! She said there are two readers and one is much better than the other...think her name is divine or rhymes with divine....Deb???

I also loved their fight scenes...although, Jamie can call me a wee besom anytime and I would not mind a bit! I could never figure out how she could ever be mad with him because he loves her sooo much. Although, when he beat her that one time, I would have been pretty irritated at that (and, he would have had some battle wounds as well). I guess I'm going to have to read them all over again because when I'm reading them I have so much to say, but I can't remember everything now...been years since I read them.

I love all the adventure and things, but some of my favorite things were just the descriptions of everyday life on a farm or in the castle. Love to hear how they did things and how she made her medicines. You are totally right, Melanie, that she writes so brilliantly that everything just has you on the edge of your seat and even the most mundane things seem so interesting. When she finishes the series, I will be in serious mourning.

There is an action scene that I remember being so caught up in and I can't even remember the context...I think it was in America, but I'm pretty sure she gets raped and I don't think she tells Jamie?? I'll have to figure out where that was. Okay, guess I should let someone else talk...bring up a topic and maybe it will help me remember.

Oh, and I did so much crying when it came to Ian being left with the Indians....and, I cried a lot of other times too.

Oh, and I still don't believe that Geilie is truly sister says she is, but she was a special kind of evil that I'm sure could come back...
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Melissa Oh how I love Jamie and Claire and miss them when I am not reading the books. I am seriously considering starting over again (for the 5th or 6th time) the entire series. How long do you think that would take me?

One of the quotes that I love the most (I can't remember which book) is when Jenny says "come lay your head" to Jamie when he is hurt or tired or whatever and then later Claire adopts the phrase. He is so abused in all of these books (how does Claire handle it?) I tend to skip the torture scenes with Jack.

I remember one of the things that bugged me the most is when Claire miscarried her first baby then leaves Jamie to live with what's her name in the country or wherever, and she is just wasting away her time there...what an idiot. Just forgive him already. I totally resented her for leaving him.

Oh and Fergus as an adult (on the Ridge)--getting all mopey about his one handedness...I thought better of him. I was disappointed that he wasn't more of a man.

And....when Claire has to go to the King and trade sexual favors to get Jamie out of jail (again!). Gross.

I was also totally amazed that after Jenny gives birth and Jamie is captured (again), that she leaves her baby and travels with Claire to help her find him--HELLO? Could you ride a horse x number of miles within hours after giving birth with no drugs? Not to mention the engorgement. It just shows how Jenny and Jamie have the same sort of passion in their relationship as brother and sister (I love their fights too!) that he and Claire have as husband and wife.

It makes me sad that Jamie never got to "raise" any children of his own. Although it would have been heart wrenching to add children to the mix of captures, jail time, torture, etc... I guess it was good that Claire had Brianna in real time without witnessing all of his pain.

Ok, so I am sure I mentioned things that happened in three or four different books, but I can't keep track of where one ends and another begins.

And, Gerard Butler sounds fine to me to play Jamie in a movie, as long as they don't make him have a Scottish mullet.

More later--especially if I start reading it all again!

Melanie ok, this is so fun! so, i was online trying to find info about the whole jamie's ghost mystery....and...i found out that if you buy the book the outlandish companion, she talks about his ghost but also says it won't be explained until the very last book of the series!! i will keep looking, but i think i need the outlandish companion like, yesterday. about saying the scottish accent out loud, i'm so relieved to hear that! i have taken to calling my kids a "wee fiend" when they act up!
i agree, the fact that jamie has never been able to raise one of his children was so very sad to me. between that, jail, toruture, spending 20 years without times i felt enraged on jamie's behalf because i just thought how much more can he take?? there's a point in ashes where the thing with malva's death had come to such a head of tension that jamie slams his fist on the table and says that he has reached his mortal limit of what he can bear. i just love that line. he's so humble, you would have thought he would have said that years ago! I need to google gerard butler and see what i think. who i picture in my head doesn't make any one actor jump to mind. the closest i can think to compare is a young brad pitt in legends of the fall as far as the beauty part! i could see keri russell as claire, but what do you think?
i am rereading the first book and i forgot how much i loved that fight between jenny and jamie when he first came back to lallybroch. so funny!! oh and the fight when he comes back from buying her ring and she thinks he had been off seeing langohaire?? so great!
i need to reread the details about faith and why she partly blamed jamie. was it because she miscarried while she was seeing him duel jack?

oh, but i also think diana gabaldon did a wonderful thing by having the whole brianna, roger, jemmy element. i felt like even though we were all robbed of him being able to raise brianna, we got to see them create their relationship, and see how much they were alike. and also i felt like him being able to help raise jemmy was finally a full circle moment. to get with jemmy what he had to miss out with brianna.
i can't wait for the next book. i think the letters brianna inherits from her parents are going to somehow take them back through the stones, what do you guys think? or do you think that modern time is their true time? on her website you can read small takes from the new book. i'm totally up for a trip to scottland ladies! wouldn't you love to visit the stones? how cool would that be! man, we do need a lunch, i could go on and on. it's late, but i'll write more as it comes to me, talk soon!

Kelly Okay, first things first...go to the official P.S. I Love You website and there is a link to a photo shoot with Gerard Butler and Hillary Swank..if he is not a beautiful hunk of man, I don't know what is. He was the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera and he was the king in 300. If you go to his website, just know that he looks totally different from movie to movie, so if he looks nerdy or something in something, just move on. Phantom and PS I Love you - he is mmmmmmm. Okay,'d think I loved him more than Jamie - or Edward?!

I also loved the fighting between Jenny and Jamie. Love Jenny - she is so tiny, but so brave and hardheaded. Yeah, her riding the horse after having a baby seems farfetched, but I think women were made of sterner stuff back then. She had been through a lot and I loved that she didn't even hesitate - they were not taking her brother to prison again.

Also, I thought the scene where Jamie took the baby for Jenny in the night and Jenny hears him spilling his heart out to her was just precious. Makes me tear up thinking about it. He always had to be so strong for everyone, but he could tell the babe his woes.

I was totally mad at Claire about the whole leaving Jamie after he fought Jack Randall and having the miscarriage. He was in so much pain! who gives a damn if he fought Jack Randall? seriously, i never understood why it was such a big deal to her. hello - the man raped him, tried to rape her, tortured them etc. Jamie was totally entitled to taking him down. yes, i know her argument about frank and all, but their love was epic and i just didn't care that much about frank...sorry, just didn't. In fact, I think I would have killed him myself. Jack Randall was/is pure evil. Sorry I'm having a hard time with past/present tense...another indicator of my sick relationship with Jamie and Claire. They are real to me, but the books have already been read???? Whatever!

So fun to discuss because I'd forgotton so much. I totally agree that watching Jamie interact with Jemmy was so cute. Taking him with him places, working with him and teaching him - loved that. But, I have to say it did break my heart when he saw the pictures of Brianna the first time (funny though with the bikini shot) and realizing she was all grown up...and, having to watch his son being raised by someone else, although their relationship was really close.

I checked the Outlandish Companion out years ago and, at least that edition, only covered like the first three books? can't remember, but it didn't cover the whole series.

I think Roger and Briana will come back through after the war. They belong together as a family. And, even though I'd love to see jamie get a glimpse of modern life, he doesn't belong there. He belongs in the era he is in. A strong, chivalrous, manly man..I'd hate to see him turned into a metrosexual...

And, Melissa, if I ever see anyone try to put a mullet on Gerard, there will be serious consequences. I refuse to believe that Jamie has a mullet. If it does indeed refer to that in Outlander (as you say), I have blocked it out and will always deny its existence. My Jamie never did and never will have a mullet. yes, I have seen Braveheart and Rob Roy, but I can be in denial if I please.

Scotland...I'm in! I bet there is a Diana Gabaldon tour. In the Outlandish Companion she shows the manor in Scotland that is her inspiration for Lallybroch and also the castle that is Broch Morda (is that the right name?).

Also, I know this is strange, but who is Malva..why don't I remember her? I've got to get reading...

Kelly hey - little scottish accent fix for ya

Melanie yes, i went through a phase where i wanted jamie to experience claire's time, but then decided that no, i loved him in his own time and he wasn't meant for a different one. malva christie was the daughter of tom christie and she was kind of like claire's apprentice in a way. she got pregnant by her brother but claimed that jamie and her had an affair and that it was his baby. that story line just broke my heart because he is so good to everyone and i hated that she did that to him. yes, i agree with you, i didn't care one ounce for frank and wanted her to just accept that she chose this time and not worry about frank. after what randall did to jamie i just couldn't figure out why she wouldn't understand and support jamie going after him. i remember jamie finally getting frustrated and telling her that he thought he could share her heart but that he couldn't and wouldn't share, not even with a ghost. i loved that line. the only reason i can give claire for resenting jamie after the birth is that they had made a deal when he could kill randall and because he didn't wait, he ended up being in prison while she was giving birth, and had to have sex with the king to get him released. but if she had just agreed to let him kill randall months ago, there would have been no problem.
ok and i went to the youtube of gerard butler, wow!! he would make an awesome jamie, holy cow! i was looking around at some of the outlander casting idea videos and someone chose gabriel aubry as jamie which i have to say i can totally see him as well. kind of like mush them together into a hybrid jamie or something! man, that accent is so sexy, there's just no getting around it! in the height of my mania over twilight, before breaking dawn came out, i did a twilight casting slideshow and put it on youtube....i know, crazy right?? i was having wood floor installed downstairs at the time and i was trapped upstaris for 8 hours with only my laptop, so what other choice did i have than to make a twilight photo montage and put it on youtube?? here's the link if you are interested.
i'm thinking maybe i need to do one for outlander so that i can fully embrace my nerdiness and obsession!! oh and i also loved that scene where he talks to the baby. that made me cry. there's a scene, i don't know if it's the same book or not, but claire wakes up to hear him talking to her and he tells her to go back to sleep so that he can tell her things as well. i love my edward, but man, i don't know if there is a more perfect fictional man than jamie!
oh, and i have a theory about jamie's ghost. what if him being there at her window means that she does not die during his time. remember when jamie thinks he is going to die of the snake bite? he tells roger on his "deathbed" to make claire go back. that she is not safe here without him and he must force her if he has to. what if (and hopefully it's a long life) but jamie eventually dies and she goes back to modern times and eventually dies there. so really jamie's ghost would be without her until she dies in like 1980 something. i don't know, just speculating. i don't really want that to happen. i want them to grow old together and die together in their sleep! but i'm pretty sure claire lives to be quite old because remember the indian woman told her that she had seen in a dream that claire was the "white raven." and that she would come into her full power when her hair was all white. remember that? anyway, just random things that are coming to mind. hope you guys are enjoying your day!

Kelly yeah, gabriel aubrey is lovely as well...younger too which would work better for outlander. although i am, of course, partial to gerarad - he just does it for me. LOVED your montage on youtube. Is that the real cast for the movie, because if those are the people you chose, they are perfect. All of them....Esme, Rosalie etc. Love the Edward.

You are right about the baby - it was Claire that heard him...see I foget all the details.

Very interesting and astute theory about the ghost thing. You could absolutely be right on. That would make total sense. Although makes me sad to think of her living on without him. forgot about the white raven part. oh, well, go to go get kids school supplies sorted out! Have a good one!

Melanie i WISH that was the cast for twilight. i think all the actors that are in it are on
Not a huge fan of who they have chosen but some of them are growing on me. and i have to keep telling myself that the books and the movie are two seperate things. especially if i end up hating the movie! glad you are on top of the back to school stuff, i probably should be too! talk later,

Kelly Oh, please don't believe I am on top of NOT! I wish I was, and when I had three kids i kind of was, but four was the kicker. My kids are all four years apart, so I have a teenager and a toddler...I am a schizophrenic! Yeah, I went to the Twilight movie site and I have to say, I like your casting choies better. I think Edward will grow on me, but yours was much more what he looks like in my mind. Your Rosalie was perfect because she was beautiful, but mean and snobby looking. The one they cast is a little too sweet looking. Also, the Alice they cast doesn't seem cute enough...not to be rude... I so very badly want to love the movie, but I am trying not to get my hopes up because inevitably the movies of books i love leave me empty. Notable exceptions are the Jane Austen movies and i'm sure there are others... But, I always have to remember how stupid and bad the movie "Prince of Tides" was and how fabulous the book is...I love Pat Conroy (author of Prince of Tides) and after I read it, I rented the movie (which is pretty old) and it wasn't even the same story line at all. It wasn't about some stupid affair, but about a boy's relationship with his family in the south...yada yada yada - sorry, i digress. Anyway, the trailers look great anyway! Looks like Stephenie is pretty involved in the production, so I'm sure she'll be particular about how things look and how authentic the story seems...she knows it could be a four movie deal and how passionate her fans are (and how many more books she will sell to people who haven't read them, but love the movie)...

Debra what if it's taken me 2 months to reply. Kelly understands I'm not a good multi-tasker...I have to concentrate on 1 thing at a time. But reading this blog got me to listening to the books again. Since I am alone painting almost every day it helps to have other voices around! Since the first few books are only available in cassettes(remember those?)at the library and I no longer have a walkman, I went to itunes and bought them for my ipod!!!! Last night I fell asleep listening to Outlander and woke up a 1 am with Jamie calling me Sassenach! For anyone interested it's well worth the money to reread them this way. Just make sure you buy the unabridged version with Davina Porter as the narrator. It's amazing how many different accents she can do convincingly.
But I'm remebering things I had forgotten how many encounters Claire has with Jack Randall, how intense there first few weeks together are ( had to put the earphones in during those scenes so others couldn't hear and think I was demented!) It's hard to find books as well written as this series and with as many complex characters and plots. LOVE THEM...thanks Lel for getting me addicted to them!

Kelly Ooooohhhh...wish i could wake up with jamie calling me sassenach - really, whatever he wants to call me would be fine!!! i'm so excited that i can download the books onto my ipod - treadmill and jamie...mmmmmm. okay, i'll settle down.

Um, I'll take the "incredibly talented painter" over "multi-tasker" anyday, sister!

you know i'm always here for you if you need a new addiction. speaking of which, you HAVE to read the book thief - soooo good! you could read it while you were here at christmas if you want.

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