Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

SPOILER ALERT: Dinna read unless you have finished Chapter 7 in A Breath of Snow and Ashes. (Frankly I may be on chapter 6; I'm not sure. Och! This damn Kindle!)

So I've started Book 6. That's code for A Breath of Snow and Ashes. (I'm so stealth, am I not?) And so far - SO good. I was a little dismayed/freaked out at first when Ian was hurt in the woods. I was also half-expecting chapter 1 to be a first person narrative from someone other than Claire, since Tracey had such a reaction to the writing style when we made our last video. But, alas, it was written in third person, from Ian's point of view. Which is verra cool, Sassenachs. Anything remotely having to do with Ian is totally exciting to the lassies of My Outlander Purgatory these days.

(Have I ever mentioned that my son's name is Ian? Just thought I'd throw it out there.  Let's face it... anything in your life that relates even slightly to Outlander is pretty damn cool, no?)

You know - I usually spend half the book pondering and theorizing the meaning(s?) of the book's title - but this one is kindof jumps out at you by chapter 2. Verra verra sad, no? And I'm wondering if they're right about the same "band of brigands" (Jo and Kezzie's word) being the ones who hurt Ian.

Soooo.... MacDonald is at the big house, absolutely DISGUSTING Claire with his tales of calling all prostitutes Polly (ugh what a PIG) and I want them to get their butts to Edenton and find that poor girl and adopt her. And he's running all sorts of propositions by Jamie - to head up a Committee of Safety... and to "take in" a large group of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders - who have come in from Scotland in droves - and help them set up homesteads on the Ridge. Because, let's face it, Jamie is all-giving as well as he is all-knowing, right? All are welcome... all welcome.

BUT - Roger Mac and Bree are on their way to the McGillivrays' to fetch Jemmy who was brought there while they were away (at the burnt-out Dutch house) by Lizzie and her father. They could have waited until morning, but they are good parents and just plain miss their son. Which is very sweet in my humble opinion. And while walking...Bree is talking about different ways to design indoor plumbing, which I've been saying they should do since Day 1. So this is one "invention" I can totally get behind with Bree. It's a no-brainer (not in terms of design but in terms of necessity.)

Lastly - I have to mention that I find it odd that these poor Beardsley kids (I don't even like using that name; Jamie should just adopt them and make them Fraser's) are still kindof vagabonds - even though they're living at the Ridge. I mean - do we know where they're living? Whose house? Do they live at the big house? I'm confused. All I know is they seem to roam around in the woods quite a bit. And when I got to the following line I was appalled: "Come along to the house with us, aye.... I'm sure Frau Ute would give ye a bed by the fire."  These poor kids!  I know, I know - it's the 18th century. But come on! These kids need some parenting! If Jamie's not going to step up to the plate and claim them, someone else should! They're way too young to be allowed to roam around in the dark woods at night.

OK that's all... off to read. More later, Sassenachs. More later....


  1. The Beardsley twins seem to be past the point of needing or wanting to be parented by the time Jamie becomes acquainted with them. They are very resourceful, competent and independent and know they can survive on their own. Like many teens, they are at an age where they want to make their own decisions and not have someone telling them what to do, which is exactly what would happen if Jamie took them in.

    They reminded me of a cat who hangs around your home hoping to be fed and even welcoming a certain amount of attention and affection, but not interested in being owned in the traditional way. The Beardsley's are not traditional, as you will find out.

  2. My point re: writing style in the video was that DG introduced a new POV (Ian's) in the first chapter--up to this point, we've only gotten the POVs of Claire (the only character who will ever be written in first person, as per DG), Jamie, Bree, Roger Mac, and Lord John.

    I will say also that I skimmed that chapter verra fast, and at first thought it was an account of what had happened to Ian while he was still a Mohawk--once I was off camera and read it more carefully, I figured out that it was present-day.

  3. Oh, the Beardsleys. Just you wait, Carol, just you wait...

  4. Carol, if no one else has warned you about Chapter 27, I will do so now. You will want to have a large chunk of time all to yourself to read it and the ones following right after. Do not read it in the car. Lock yerself in the privy if ye must. Ye can thank me later.

  5. I'd say pretty much all of part 4 is a "read in the privy" experience. Like I said earlier, other than the reunion and the wedding/honeymoon, it's the best thing DG has written in the series thus far.

  6. Jennet - love the comment about cats. So spot on! They want nothing to do with being owned - until Lizzie comes outside with a big, ol' bowl of milk. Then all bets are off!

    Jo - ooooh really? Well that is interesting. Wasn't expecting that.

    Terry - THANK YOU. I saw your post and called Tracey and she said the same thing. Let me tell you - when I read the reunion scene - I was in the school parking lot waiting for my daughter. And BOOM! Claire walked in and saw Jamie - just like that. I was like "WAIT! WAIT! I'M NOT READY!" LOL

  7. Carol, I think you and I are reading about at the same rate now. I just started ABOSAS last night myself. I decided to get to Chapter 7 before I stopped to finish Part 1. So glad I did, now I do not feel like I have to watch your blog with one eye shut (for fear of accidentally reading a spolier). Though I must appauld you for spoiler warnings and for even being vague about entry titles.

    I am enjoying the fact that there is a little more "rolling in the hay" going on.

    Having a 2yr old son at home myself I can relate to Roger and Bree's difficulties in finding quality, uninterrupted alone time. Jem gettin tipsy would be a sight to see.

  8. I looked forward to rereading the wedding and reunion chapters. I dreaded Part 4 just as much as the Jamie in Wentworth with BJR chapters.

  9. hi carol
    i,ve been following your blog for a couple of weeks now and am loving it so thought i,d drop by to say hello. i discovered the series early last year after my sister had read it and by the time i was halfway through crosstitch/outlander i,d bought all the books and read them in 6 weeks.i was caught weeping a couple of times too and dh thought it funny to tell everyone, do i care?? (not really but i,d rather enjoy the moment in private :-) ) i got my copy of echo in september and finished that in a few days.i,ve also got the available ones on audiobook and have just started a 2nd listen through,davina porter is awesome.
    keep reading and enjoying

  10. I have heard great things about the audio version of the series and will definitely have to try it. I'm already dreading my withdrawal once I've finished Echo (I'm thinking that will be sometime in March), but I do have all three Lord John books ready to go, too, so that will help. Then I guess I'll just have to REread! :-)

  11. hi tracey
    i can,t rate the audio versions highly enough. i love reading the books but hearing them gives another dimension, davina is excellent with the accents which she keeps up throughout. i got an ipod which is much easier than carrying the laptop round lol it means i don,t have to keep pausing it when the kids are near.(unless i,m wanted of course)
    the withdrawal was not nice, i started a reread quickly afterwards and it,s surprising how much i,d forgotton! i don,t think i,ll ever get tired of it.
    i,m going to get the lord john books soon to help fill the time till book 8. and dg if you,re reading, how could you end echo like that???

  12. Warning: Voyager spoiler

    Okay, so I'm listening to the audio version of Voyager (I've already read it). Until this point, I'd only been moved to tears by the scene where Jamie forces Claire to leave him at the end of Dragonfly. *sob*

    So there I am, innocently driving down the interstate, listening to the wonderful Davina Porter doing a GREAT job with Jamie's accent, and we get to the part where Claire shows him the pictures. And he loses it. And then I proceed to lose it...WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE INTERSTATE! I was literally telling myself out loud, "keep it together! keep it together! there is nowhere to pull off safely for at least a mile! KEEP IT TOGETHER!"

  13. Jo M.: Of all the thousands of pages I've read of these books, the scene where Claire shows Jamie those pics touched me more than any other. I sobbed like a baby.

    Actually, the sobbing started when Claire walked into the print shop. The line is something like, "And there, bent over the printing press, stood Jamie." And I literally put the book down and began sobbing, and didn't stop for probably 10 pages.

  14. Welcome Lesley! I'm glad you commented because I've been considering getting the Davina Porter version of A Breath of Snow and Ashes. I've been trying to get on the treadmill lately... and it's much easier to listen on the treadmill than it is to read!

    Jo - that would SO BE ME! Crying my heart out while driving. Hell I do it when I'm driving and hear a song on the radio that reminds me of the series! Anything that makes me think about Jamie in the first 3rd of Voyager can make me cry in seconds.

  15. You all are probably done with this blog, but I'm new to the series and am sooo in love i can't stop listening/reading. Porter does a beautiful job bringing DG books to life. My husband and I are enjoying now the 2nd book together presently , but I've forged ahead to ABOSAA and am dreading that I'm nearing the end of the series. But yes there are several crying moments throughout, starting with the 1st time she runs back to jamie, for "good" to the entire Wentworth and nearly all the way to the endof book one. But as much as the pictures of Bri for Jamie was phenomenally touching, the sacral ice of Ian to the Indians, and subsequent return, left me emotionally done. Second only to Jamie's 1st realized who Bri was. But I love everything feeling the simuarities to Claire/Jamie with my husband. It's very affirming.if anyone else is having a second, third or 5th read, feel free to contact!

  16. Welcome Cheeky! Yes - I am here! I can't always answer all the comments but am thrilled when I can. :)

    And you don't even know. I sobbed on the phone to Tracey when Ian stayed with the Indians. Sobbed. And read about his return while on a car trip with my hubby and kids! I was trying reallyyyyyy hard not to let everyone know that I was losing it in the front seat! :)

    Keep commenting, sassenach! :)

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