Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Fiery Cross

The fifth installment in the Outlander series, The Fiery Cross is definitely slower-paced than the preceding four, and perhaps if I had begun reading the novels as they were released, I would have been disappointed to wait three or four years for more breathless Jamie-Claire adventures only to be find them nearly collapsing into the rocking chairs on the porch of their 1770s Appalachian homestead. There's still plenty of drama and passion to be had wherever this duo finds themselves, but in this novel, their creator gives them a little time to enjoy the ordinary pleasures of home and community, and after reading the previous four novels in the span of eight weeks, I was happy to catch my breath as well.

Diana Gabaldon is such a fine storyteller and writes her characters so vividly that even the details of potty training on the frontier can charm and engage the reader. And this particular novel is an exemplary exercise in storytelling. Many of the supporting characters -- and there are legions of them -- get a chance to tell their own stories by campfire or hearthside. I can imagine this novel being serialized in a 19th century newspaper or magazine, or being read by Mrs. March to her daughters as was "Pilgrim's Progress" in Little Women. This is a novel for people who enjoy stories that unfold slowly.

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