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Written In My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – A Review

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This is the eighth novel of the Outlander Series and it continues several themes from the previous installment, An Echo in the Bone. The Outlander Series is already seven books too long: it doesn’t need another installment. Most of the plots and details that need to be tied off could easily have been tied up in the An Echo in the Bone, and really have no business continuing here. Nothing new or interesting has been added to the story line; at least, nothing that the series could not have done without.

This installment is set in June 1778. We hear of the British army withdrawing from Philadelphia – which is almost reported and is of no interest to the rest of the story. We hear also of George Washington making to move from Valley Forge in order to pursue the British. In somewhat of a twist – at least, in that the author has suddenly had some sort of rush of inspiration and has decided to report something other than basic history in basic descriptions – we hear about one of our characters, Jamie Fraser, coming back from the dead. In a cruel twist of fate and with a stab of betrayal, however, he finds that his wife has now married his best friend.

We follow other characters in the story as they have their Eastenders-esque shorts and surprises. The ninth Early of Ellesmere, for example, discovers that he is actually Jamie Fraser’s illegitimate son, although it is difficult to muster up any sympathy for this rather dry character. There are kidnappings, affairs and betrayals, but none of them have any intrigue or are particularly interesting, it is difficult to believe some of the more complex relationships that characters have to one another because sometimes they just become too divorced from anything resembling reality.

Sometimes each character’s story can get just a little too complicated and difficult to find within this novel, and what with titles and unbelievable familial links, it can be difficult to follow exactly who is guilty of doing what to whom. That makes it difficult to identify with any one of them. The writing style is enjoyable enough, but the content of the novel is dry and repetitive: we’ve seen these tropes and these troubles many times before and we’ll see them yet more often in the next 17 unnecessary installments of the Outlander Series.

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