Friday, January 28, 2022

Book Review: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Audio Book/Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 23, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Personal Copy
Other Books By Author: Outlander,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
 


Goodreads says, "The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .  Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them twenty years to find each other again. Now the American Revolution threatens to do the same.  It is 1779 and Claire and Jamie are at last reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children on Fraser’s Ridge. Having the family together is a dream the Frasers had thought impossible.  Yet even in the North Carolina backcountry, the effects of war are being felt. Tensions in the Colonies are great and local feelings run hot enough to boil Hell’s teakettle. Jamie knows loyalties among his tenants are split and it won’t be long until the war is on his doorstep.  Brianna and Roger have their own worry: that the dangers that provoked their escape from the twentieth century might catch up to them. Sometimes they question whether risking the perils of the 1700s—among them disease, starvation, and an impending war—was indeed the safer choice for their family.  Not so far away, young William Ransom is still coming to terms with the discovery of his true father’s identity—and thus his own—and Lord John Grey has reconciliations to make, and dangers to meet . . . on his son’s behalf, and his own.  Meanwhile, the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to Fraser’s Ridge. And with the family finally together, Jamie and Claire have more at stake than ever before."

 

Readers return to the Outlander world in the woods of North Carolina on beautiful Fraser's Ridge. Everything seems almost idyllic.  Claire and Jamie are living peacefully and their daughter, Brianna, along with her family, have returned unexpectedly.  The only main concern they have at this point is why Brianna left the 20th century and will her problems follow her to the past.  Meanwhile, there's a lot of details about daily life on Fraser's Ridge, some interesting and some mundane.  Readers are reunited with beloved characters like Fergus and Ian, as well as some new characters.  Colonial life in America is a main focus for quite awhile and readers get comfortable with this quiet story for quite sometime.  However, if you have read Gabaldon before, readers know to not get too comfortable as once things finally pick up, they continue at a good pace.  Fans of the Outlander series may be a bit disappointed with the pacing in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, the ninth Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon, but die-hard fans shouldn't miss it.

Jamie and Claire, as grandparents on Fraser's Ridge, is everything I thought it would be and more in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.  Finally we reach the portion of the Outlander series where we can exhale and not worry about them too much, at least we hope.  Their relationship has weathered many storms and is quite stable now, but still as fiery as ever.  Fans of Jamie and Claire's relationship won't be disappointed by its depiction in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.  It was definitely my favorite part of this epic tome.

I also liked revisiting Brianna, Roger, and their children in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. I really have come to enjoy them more and more as the series progressed, but for some reason, I wasn't feeling as invested in their story as I was in the previous book.  I feel like their story line may have even gone off the boil. On the other hand, I did start to find William's story a bit more intriguing this time around, but once I started to get invested, Gabaldon switched it back up to a different character's point of view.  That leads me to Gabaldon's focus on a lot of secondary characters that I didn't care about. I wish she would have cut some of those story lines, because I wanted more focus on the Frasers and Mackenzies.

Readers can also tell that Gabaldon extensively researched colonial life in America. There's a lot of descriptions about daily life whether it be bee keeping, hunting, collecting berries, identifying prey, dealing with Native Americans, etc, Gabaldon covers it all very well.  But that's not to say I wasn't bored. There's a lot of exposition in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone and a lot of details about mundane colonial life.  After awhile, it got to be a lot and I wanted more action and more of the moments that we have come to love about the Outlander series.

I also really loved Davina Porter's excellent narration in the audio version. She is so good at what she does that I no longer just read the Outlander novels. I always purchase the audio book, because I have come to love her depictions of the characters. She is an absolute delight.

While the novel was most definitely well researched, I had issues with the pacing in Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone to the point where it's my least favorite Outlander series novel.  There's just too much exposition and not enough action until the last quarter of the book.  I felt like I was waiting for the story to start and after 500+ pages, that's a lot of time invested. Don't get me wrong, I loved being back in Jamie and Claire's world, but Gabaldon has to give us more than just disjointed short stories about mundane colonial life.  I am hoping this was all a set up for the tenth installment, which should be action packed.  Let's just hope it doesn't take another seven years to come out.

Are you a fan of the Outlander series? Have you read Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone? Let me know in the comments below. 

2 comments:

  1. I always appreciate Gabaldon's research, but at times it does feel like too much. The last book had such a good ending that I was a little surprised that she continued the series. But, of course I'll read this one for Jamie and Claire!

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    Replies
    1. Me too! I will definitely read book ten, but I'm glad you agree that this one felt like too much at times. Thanks for visiting, Angela!

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