A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - 5*(rounded up from 4.75*)
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (ABOSAA) is the sixth book in the Outlander time travel/historic fiction/romance saga about the extraordinary lives of Claire and Jamie Fraser and their family.
By this time in the series Jamie and Claire are well settled into their home on Fraser's Ridge in the mountains of North Carolina in the years right before the Revolutionary War. Most of their immediate family lives on the Ridge also, and more Scottish settlers. Jamie is "Mac Dugh" - in many ways the laird of the Ridge community. But it's an uneasy leadership. Many of the settlers are Scottish lowlanders and Protestant (Presbyterian). Jamie is a Highlander and Roman Catholic.
Some readers of the series have said that the previous book (A Fiery Cross) is their least favorite because of the lack of action. But there is no lack of action in this book - especially in the back half when we have disappearing slaves, disappearing gold, murders and a trial for murder, kidnapping, the beginnings of the Revolutionary War, time travel and more. One of the best parts of the book for me was listening to Brianna recite the poem "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" (which she had learned in grade school), at the same time that the ride itself was happening. It sent a few chills down my back.
The only reason this book isn't rated a full 5* is that I occasionally find it overly conicidental that so many bad things can happen to one family. BUT I've had this problem with other historical fiction books (exp: The Illuminator), and for me these events in the Outlander series seem much more critical to the plot and make more sense than in the other examples I gave, so it only mildly detracts from the ultimate rating. Plus, there are plenty of good times and sometimes even LOL moments to lighten the mood.
Most of the mysteries in this book are wrapped up before the end but not all. I can't wait for the next book!
Not my favourite in the series, but still an enjoyable read if you're (still) interested in the adventures of Claire and Jamie Fraser. Part of what turned me off was the seeming monotony of day-to-day life in Colonial America.
I loved the earlier books set in Scotland/England because that's the region whose history I am interested in. I don't much care for Colonial/Revolutionary American history, so I've been lukewarm about this series since it came to America shores.
The sixth volume of the saga of Jamie and Claire Fraser. The whole series is an annual re-read for me and still brings bouts of laughter and vales of tears; this may be the best volume yet. Are these romances? Yes, but not in the typical use of the word, for the historical documentation of the lives and times of the characters far outshine the underlying love story. Perhaps these could be read separately, but the full breadth of the storyline can only be felt if the books are taken in order.
Love this series. Although the size & length of the books is a pain, the details are delightful. I am a particular fan of American history so this one set in the time of the Revolution was particularly facinating.
6th in the Öutlander series about 20th century time traveler, Claire Fraser, and her life with 16th century Scottish Highlander, James Fraser, this time in America just before the Civil War. Excellent, though lacks some of the freshness of earlier books in the series.
Loved this latest addition to the Outlander series. I felt this book brought the focus back to Jamie and Claire (where I like it). It was full of surprises, some quite shocking! All of it leading up to that fateful newspaper clipping that foretells the death of Jamie and Claire in a house fire. As usual, the beautiful writing brings the back country of North Carolina to life, and the characters live and breathe. Ms. Gabaldon's ability to make you see every tendril of fog and smell the beautiful pine forests amazes me. I have yet to encounter a writer whose stories are so rich with detail without bogging the reader down, and whose characters are brought to life with such depth and sensitivity. None of her characters are two dimensional, even the secondary ones and all of them have flaws as well as heroic traits. This is the best series of books I have ever read, no mistake!
Usually I like to start my reviews with a short synopsis, but let's face it: if you're five books into a series already I highly doubt you need one. If you do you're on the wrong page my friend. The first book in the series is "Outlander." Go read that one and you will eventually make your way here.
I have to say that this has been my favorite Gabaldon book in the series after the original "Outlander." Of course, I'm a history buff so the fact that the beginnings of the Revolutionary War are starting around them might have something to do with it.
This book was compulsively readable. It started out very slow and I was sure I was in for the long haul like I was in "The Firey Cross," but after the first hundred pages, the story really took off.
I was very sad when this book ended. I'm really looking forward to reading "Echo in the Bone."
I realize this review really didn't add anything that true "Outlander" readers probably didn't already know, but if you're this far in you may as well keep going. Trust me: after reading "Breath..." you will be glad you didn't give it up!
I was a bit hesitant to dive into this one because it was so long, but I'm so glad I did. I loved this book. The series is one of my favorites, and even though this book is very, very long, it was a page-turner throughout. It kept me guessing every step of the way, and had several twists that I didn't expect. Another great book from Diana Gabaldon. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I have enjoyed this series very much. I will say I didn't love this one as much as the others. I still want to read the next book when it comes out. Many of the story lines do get wrapped up in this book.
As you read this series you become engrossed in the everyday lives of all of Gaboldons characters. You watch them grow and mature over the years, just as you would in real life. But since the story is so long you begin to move so far away from where the story started and the things you fell in love with in the first two books. This sixth book though brings you right back the beginning. It embraces everything that caused your heart to race with the introduction to the story 6 books ago. Simply wonderful.
Of the entire series, this is the one that rivals first place with the 1st book (Outlander). So much happens, the characters really grow and change, the author does amazing things with this story. It's a riveting story! One of my all time favorites!
I won't rant and rave. I simply love this series of books. I could read them over and over and again. I love the characters I love the plot and the historical accuracy. I love the fact that it's never dry or boring. I love the urge to slip a bookmark in and go ahead three pages as I can hardly bear the suspence!
Read the series it it just wonderfully written and such a joy to read on every level.
awesome book. as long as all the books are i can honestly say i wish they were longer,LOL. so much going on...a few surprises. i didn't find there to be any more romance in this book than in any of the others. a must read.
The saga continues, with war on the horizon, Jamie and Claire trying to find a way to weather the storm safely. The book is full of the details of day to day life, broken up by events that are traumatic, life changing, funny, heartbreaking, and overall satisfying.
As is usual in these books, various characters are really put through the wringer. In this one, it seems to be Claire's turn for the worst of it. The Browns make a reappearance, this time determined to enact vengeance. Claire is kidnapped and raped. I thought she did a great job of keeping it together, and loved her certainty that Jamie would find her. It was fun to see her playing with the minds of her kidnappers. Absolutely loved the rescue scene, with the use of the drum and ye olde Highland yell. They definitely got what was coming to them. There was an interesting twist with the appearance of another traveler and the sharing of his experiences.
The Loyalist Scots are pulling out all the stops in their attempts to bolster support of the Crown, including what is basically a fundraising tour by Flora MacDonald, the woman who saved Prince Charlie after Culloden. Jamie knows the truth of what will happen, but tries to remain neutral for as long as possible.
Claire continues her work as a healer, while trying to find a way to bring in some modern medicine. Her experiments with ether have some pretty amusing moments, and also some lasting consequences. Jamie's conflict is real as he tries to reconcile his knowledge of the future with his honor and the oaths he has made. Throughout it all, the love that he and Claire share give them each the strength they need to weather the storms.
Roger and Brianna continue with their adjustments to this time period, some being more successful than others. Brianna brings her engineering expertise to the Ridge with her attempts at indoor plumbing, a better kiln, and the "invention" of matches. Roger has finally found his place, calling upon his background with the Reverend Wakefield, and becomes a preacher. There are some pretty funny moments as he settles into the job, including the presence of a snake at his first sermon.
Various secondary characters play parts that add some interesting complications. Lizzie's engagement to Manfred ends for an unexpected reason. As a single young woman she draws the interest of multiple young men, but who she ends up with and why is quite a surprise.
Young Malva Christie has become a devoted apprentice of Claire's, but I have to say that there has always been something about her that didn't set right. This proves true later in the book, as she takes an action that divides residents of the Ridge. It only gets worse when Claire and Jamie are accused of murder, bringing them into further peril. The final resolution of that storyline was sad and creepy.
Stephen Bonnet is still making his presence known. The Frasers and MacKenzies continue their attempts to find him and bring him to justice, but he proves as slippery as ever. With assistance from someone with a grudge against Jamie, Bonnet once again gets his hands on Brianna. I quite enjoyed Brianna's strength of will as she does her best to protect herself. Bonnet continues in his amoral actions, but also reveals an unexpected vulnerability. This proves to be important at the end of the book.
Lord John's presence is there throughout the book, as he and Jamie continue their friendship through their letters. This allows Jamie some chance of keeping up with William's life. With Jamie's choice of sides in the coming conflict, he wishes to protect John from association with a known traitor and breaks off communication. But the fates aren't done with them, and bring John and brand new lieutenant Lord Ellesmere to North Carolina, along with troops meant to quell rebellion. Brianna gets quite a shock when she goes to see John to ask for help and encounters William.
A health problem with Brianna and Roger's new daughter Amanda creates the need for an important decision on their part. What are the risks versus the benefits, and is it even possible? I loved Jamie's comment to Jem about a mouse named Michael. The epilogue with Roger and Brianna gives a hint of their plans and reveals a surprising gift.
At the end, the story of the newspaper clipping is revealed, with an interesting reason why. What really happens to the big house is the result of the reappearance of that other traveler. It is intense and nervewracking, and in the end satisfying. There's an amusing bit with the white sow, which seems to drive Jamie's decision on what to do next.
Eagerly anticipated by her legions of fans, this sixth novel in Diana Gabaldons bestselling Outlander saga is a masterpiece of historical fiction from one of the most popular authors of our time.
Since the initial publication of Outlander fifteen years ago, Diana Gabaldons New York Times bestselling saga has won the hearts of readers the world over and sold more than twelve million books. Now, A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.
The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.
With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamies death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.