Sunday, January 9, 2011

We Interrupt this Outlander Blog...

Methadone SPOILER Alert: Dinna read unless you have read "Green Darkness" by Anya Seton.

I finished "Green Darkness" by Anya Seton today... and I just have to talk about it. How I made it all the way through the book without ranting is beyond me. I thought to do it a few times and then thought "This is an Outlander blog! They don't want to hear about this story!" But now that I'm finished, I do want to post my synopsis for those of you who have already read and love Green Darkness.

Seriously - if you haven't read the book - but you plan to - don't read this. This book would not be nearly as interesting if certain things were revealed. I stumbled upon one of the historical aspects which totally gave away a large part of one storyline... but luckily it wasn't too upsetting because it made sense and was sortof a natural progression. But because the very plot of this book is so suspenceful until the very end, I fear it would just make the journey so much less enjoyable.

OK - on to my synopsis...

I loved it. Absolutely LOVED it. Yes there are a TON of historical characters described. Some are described in two sentences... while others are described in two pages or more. But Anya Seton was a stickler for factual content - and did a ton of research long before the internet was available. And I was amazed to find so many locations that still stand...  from Ightham Mote... to the Spread Eagle Hotel... to Cowdray House... they're all there... exactly as she described them. Well some more upright than others...but still. These places were/are real.

I really enjoyed most of the storylines. While it seemed a bit off that Celia and Richard lived at Medfield Place... while Stephen never lived there after he was a boy... I finally accepted it and realized how poignant it was. Why? Because that's where Celia and Stephen belonged. During the last quarter of the book, I kept hoping that Julian was going to be able to change the past... and get to Stephen and Celia in time to save them and save their undying love for one another. And I kept thinking how wonderful it would be if they could go to Medfield... live in a little cottage near Tom and Nan... and raise their baby amidst family... and love. Although that was not meant to be... it WAS meant to be for Richard and Celia... and for that I was extremely grateful.

I was thrilled that Edna bit the dust in such a horrible manner... however it should have been Emma...and I felt a bit robbed. But better late than never, right?

I loved that Igor was Simkin... figured that out as soon as he started telling Celia "oh no you di'nt" when she was suggesting red and gold (I think?) for her dress.

Although Ursula got on my nerves a few times (girl PLEASE... you have to make poor Celia marry that bag of wind when you found her with Stephen?) I always understood her motives (c'mon now Celia... t'isn't decent to be rolling around with a monk in the 16th century, know what I'm sayin'? Many people could be offed because of your actions.)

I knew Magdalen was Myra - so that was no shocker. But am I the most ignorant dumbass on the planet that I couldn't figure out Anthony was Harry?! That truly threw me for a loop! Most likely because Anthony had such a huge role... while Harry was barely mentioned. Wow. 

When did I cry? At the end of Part 2 - when Stephen and Celia were dead. Not because they were dead, oddly enough... but because Julian left Ightham Mote with Tom and did absolutely nothing. I thought he was a spineless turd at that point. You KNOW she's in the wall.  He should have done something to get her out of that wall... or told as many people as he could... or die trying. Spineless, I say. And that Tom Marsdon, as well. He knew damned well something was up... and he did nothing to find out what. About his own BROTHER... who never got the chance to live happily every after with the woman he loved like YOU did, Tom. Oh no... Stephen was the one who had - HAD - to become a monk! You know what, Tom? Complacency can be a sin in my book. Run and tell THAT down at the pub.

What didn't I like about the book? Ok - I'll admit - I wasn't happy with the ending. I felt we, the readers, deserved more than just a quick little description of their remarriage in Medfield. I wanted fireworks. I wanted a profound scene of crying and snarfing and pronouncing undying love for one another. And I didn't get it.

Everyone who reads Green Darkness will warn you "there isn't much romance"... and they are telling the truth. Yes, there is a totally star-crossed, undying love throughout... running in the background... like MacScan has been running in my MacBook's background the entire time I've been typing this. But there is not much in the way of communication between the two star-crossed lovers... and not much in the way of nookie, if you know what I mean. Clearly my love for Twilight shows I am perfectly fine with little to no hay-rolling... providing the characters are able to be together and you can feel their undying love right through the pages. And there wasn't much of that, either. But for some reason, I was OK with that. Most likely because I had a ton of respect for Stephen's convictions... and it almost would have soiled the book - or made his undying love for the Catholic Church seem less great - and that would have been a great detriment to the plot.

Lastly (I think) I would have liked to have seen more from Stephen's POV. There were times when I felt Celia was spinning her wheels and he really didn't care. Until girlfriend stood there topless after Wyatt attacked her (yes, Thomas Wyatt) and, well... let's just say Stephen must have been a boob man because Jesus and the Saints sortof fell out the window at that point.

OK - I must wrap this up. Here is what I have to say. If you love the historical aspects of Outlander...and you love Tudor history (namely the reigns of Edward, Mary and Elizabeth)... and you love star-crossed love... you will love, LOVE this book.

And that's all I have to say about that.


  1. Didn't read your blog due to spoiler alert. Question...should I read the book?

  2. I would say this: If you like a lot of true history in your books... if you like Tudor England... and if you're OK with the concept of reincarnation (in place of time travel), you'll really like it. :)

  3. Hey Carol, I didn't read all of this since I plan on reading the book, but I had to tell you I finished "The Winter Sea", you have to read it next! It has romance, Scotland, and Jacobites! Absolutely wondeful! It's a perfect time of year too, since it's cold and she has wonderful scenes of the coast of Scotland in the winter.


  4. 2 words: Bernard Cornwell

    Uhtred's right up there w/Jamie, IMO, though I'm only finishing up book 4 so that all could change. But I don't think it will.

    And I'm no historian, but I think the author is quite well regarded in this area.

  5. Adventures - you had me at "right up there w/Jamie". Which books?

  6. Beth - thank you! Romance...Jacobites...Scotland... like Adventures North, you're speaking my language!!

  7. The Saxon Tales. Start with the Last Kingdom, and don't fret, I'm not a wierdo, he grows up! (-;

    I was listening to DIA today and got to the part where LJ appears...but is his name William? I didn't remeber that. John William? William John?

  8. AdNor--I remember that from my D in A reread--Not 100% sure, but I THINK that it's William John...

  9. I first read this book some 25 years ago, and really loved it. On one of my trips to England & Scotland (my family are from Selby, Yorkshire--my maiden name is Selby ) in 1997 (aside: I dragged my husband and son all over secretly looking at Outlander sites--they handn't read The Book yet--so had no clue) we visited Igtham Mote in Kent because of the book's setting. Imagine my surprise when the docent credited Dorthea Selby for saving the house in the 17th century and the Selby's for living there for over 300 years and keeping it up. It's "my house" now, and we visit often. I've loved watching the full restoration by the National Trust. Read the book and visit that house!

    Gail A

    PS: Love your site! Found it by the link on Diana's new website. Good luck with your traffic from now on, girls!