Jamie Fraser is lying on the battlefield of Culloden, where he rises wounded, to face execution or imprisonment. Either prospect pales beside the pain of loss – his wife is gone. Forever.
But sometimes forever is shorter than one thinks. In 1746, Claire Fraser made a perilous journey through time, leaving her young husband to die at Culloden, in order to protect their unborn child. In 1968, Claire has just been struck through the heart, discovering that Jamie Fraser didn’t die in battle.
But where is Jamie now? With the help of her grown daughter, Claire sets out to find the man who was her life – and might be once again.
Having loved the other two Outlander novels, I was excited to get into this one and read Voyager. I think this instalment in the series was thrilling as we’d finally be able to read Claire and Jamies reunion as well as see whatever adventures they’d get up to. I have to say Gabaldon takes us and the characters on a wild ride – from Boston to Scotland to the Caribbean, the world of Outlander becomes so much more vast and exciting. The whole way through the writing is excellent as usual and has a unique addictive quality that made it hard for me to put it down.
The novel begins with Jamies perspective as he reaches Culloden and dun dun dun…survives the horrible battle which ensues although he is heavily wounded. We follow him through his initial grief from losing Claire and his child (or so he thinks) and see how he has fared in the 20 years they spent apart. While the majority of the previous novels were told through Claires perspective, which I really enjoy, in this novel we get to hear from Jamie directly which was great. He is every bit the swoon worthy hero we’ve come to love as well as gained some more experiences and complexity. He goes through so much in this period, from being imprisoned, to being freed, and finally setting up a printing shop in Edinburgh, which is what enables Claire, Roger and Brianna to find him in 1968.
The perspective then switches to Claire as she makes provisions to go back through the standing stones and find Jamie once again. This time she truly has no idea what she’ll find, after all they’ve spent 20 years apart and have their own lives. I loved the interactions between Claire and Brianna, it really reaffirms their mother / daughter bond and the understanding between them. I’ve seen quite a lot of reviews call Brianna ‘bratty’ and I can definitely see where they’re coming from but you have to give her some allowances, she found out a lot of shocking information all at once! I think I would be a bit bratty in that situation too. Despite her initial resistance, Bree gives her blessing to Claire and knows that going back is what will make her the happiest. It’s hard to fathom a life without your mother though so I think this choice is quite selfless on Bree’s part.
While the first parts of the novel are enjoyable, the story really starts to get going once Claire and Jamie reunite. I loved their reunion and found it realistic – despite some initial awkwardness, they seemed back to normal pretty quickly. I just found it so sad to think Jamie never had the chance to watch Bree grow up, he had to miss out on so much but it was touching to read about how much he loved her despite not knowing her really. The romance element in Outlander is a touchstone and once again, Gabaldon comes through with making it every bit as enticing and touching as usual.
As well as this long awaited reunion, there was also a number of other things which made me love this book. I liked that we got to ‘meet’ Fergus, Jenny and Ian once again as well as their teenage son, aptly named ‘young Ian’. Young Ian fits into the narrative so well and furthers the plot too – as our characters are retrieving some treasure, Ian is kidnapped by pirates and so begins a swashbuckling adventure filled with tropical islands, witchcraft and some familiar faces. While there were so many coincidences and threads fitting into place, you have to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy it for what it is. I’m the type of person that doesn’t try and pick holes or criticise every single far fetched thing in the series.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Voyager and it’s definitely my favourite Outlander novel thus far. I can’t wait to see where Jamie and Claires arrival in the Americas will take them and what adventures they’ll get up to next.
Until next time,