Saturday, November 29, 2014

Champagne for Christmas by Jean Joachim




Can a craving for mint chip ice cream and a passion for the theater keep a summer romance hot through the freezing cold of winter? Clint is a high school English teacher and a budding playwright. Nina, a former actress, is now a beautiful and wealthy widow...and more than a little lonely, especially during a glorious Christmas in New York City. 

A chance meeting brings them together. Their passion for the stage joins their minds while love blossoms, despite their age gap. The theater, that once united them, may be the one hurdle they can’t clear. An unexpected roadblock tests Clint’s love. Will he make the ultimate compromise to see his name in lights on Broadway?

Published & Release Date: Moonlight Books, November 16, 2014

Time and setting: Present Day, New York City

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Christmas

Heat Level: 1.5

Reviewer rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I just love this time of year and all the wonderful heartfelt Christmas romances that come out each year. Whether they are sweet contemporaries, historical Regencies, or something more sensual, I love them all. Jean Joachim’s Champagne for Christmas fits perfectly in the contemporary sensual category. This delightful tale even has a cougar!

Nina Wells has been a widow for three years. While spending the summer in the Catskill Mountains, she literally runs into a tall, good-looking man holding a double scoop of ice cream. As Nina grabs the melting ball of Mint chip, she meets the light brown eyes of the gorgeous man. She realizes that he is none other than her next door neighbor, who is renting the house next to hers. After introducing themselves, Clint Hayworth offers to replace her ruined shirt, and the story begins.

Clint is enslaved from the first moment, but Nina has quite a few reservations, since she has to be almost a decade older than he. However, not one to give up easily, the high school English teacher and budding playwright, persuades Nina to give them a chance. When Nina finds out Clint has written his first play, she asks to read it. After all, she is a former Broadway actress and knows what makes a good play.

Nina offers to help him fine tune it and then get her agent to look it over. When they return the city, they continue to work on the play together. When opportunity comes knocking for Clint, will he grab the brass ring, even if it means leaving Nina behind, or will he pass up a chance of a lifetime for the woman he has grown to love?

I enjoyed this emotionally-charged love story. Nina’s character quickly drew me into the story with her vulnerability and sweet nature. She is a strong female with plenty of backbone and does not let her tender heart rule her life. When he husband died, she moved on with her life, setting her aim on reviving her acting career.

Clint is a great romantic hero with a bucketful of integrity to go along with his startling good-looks and endearing charm. Even though temptation is thrown in his path when his producer insists he go to California, he remains steadfast in his devotion to Nina, once he pulls his head out of the ether.
I particularly really enjoyed the scenes with Cory, Clint’s thirteen year old son, especially the one at FAO Schwarz. I loved his enthusiasm when he saw all the trains while Nina did her holiday shopping. My heart melted when he sent Nina the beautiful pendant necklace as a present for Christmas.

My only complaint is that I would have liked a deeper plot. At times, the story felt a bit rushed, especially toward the end. Nonetheless, it is an enchanting Christmas read, and Ms. Joachim works her magic again, bringing her readers another delightful “Happily Ever After” love story with engaging characters. If you love a good Christmas tale, then this little story will be sure to warm your heart. Happy reading!
  


Friday, November 28, 2014

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon




From the author of the breathtaking bestsellers Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber, the extraordinary saga continues.

Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her...the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite—or forever doom—her timeless love.

Published & Release Date: Random House, October 26, 2004

Time and setting: Scotland 1968/1766

Genre: Historical Romance/Epic Adventure

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

Voyager is spell-binding in the extreme. This one kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire book from start to finish. Even though I have read this book before, it still caught me by surprise. I did not remember it being such an exciting, nail biting read. This book is so much more than just a romance, even though the love between Claire and Jamie is a love of a lifetime in its intensity. I am so glad I decided to read this epic series again.

When Claire finds out Jamie survived the Battle of Culloden, she is faced with an agonizing decision. Does she go back to his era to find him, or stay in hers with her daughter. While Brianna did not take the initial news that Frank was not her father, as she helps to discover what happened to her birth father and grows to understand the great love between her mother and Jamie Fraser, she encourages Claire to go find him. When they determine that if time moves parallel then she should end up twenty years from when she last saw Jamie. Brianna tells her mother, “Then you can go back, Mama,” she said softly. “You can find him.”

Even though it has been twenty years since she returned to her own time, her heart has never forgotten the love they shared. Claire returns to Craigh na Dun, but just when she begins to doubt whether she should go, Brianna convinces her. “We owe it to him, Mama,” she said softly. “Somebody has to find him, and tell him.” Her hand touched my face, briefly. “Tell him I was born.”  Claire takes a step and then another and is swept back through the crack in time to 1766.

When Jamie and Claire see each other for the first time in twenty years they are so stunned to be together it’s as if time stands still. I felt my heart pounding with their hearts. I felt their joy, their fear, their uncertainty. They come together slowly, afraid to believe they are actually together again. Of course all is not smooth for them. They begin a journey to places neither of them had ever imagined going.

There are so many incredible moments in this amazing story, I bookmarked pages and pages of these moments, way too many to even begin to share. I will share this one moment since it deeply touched my soul.

Jamie: “Do ye want me?” he whispered. “Sassenach, will ye take me—and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?”

Claire: “It’s a lot too late to ask that,” I said, and reached to touch his cheek, where the rough beard was starting to show. It was soft under my fingers, like stiff plush. “Because I’ve already risked everything I had. But whoever you are now, Jamie Fraser—yes. Yes, I do want you.”

While I do recommend you start with Outlander first, if you have not read it yet, you will not want to miss this amazing story. Even though all the books in this series are long, they do not read that way. They are extremely fast paced, keeping me reading well into the night. I am confident they will do the same for you. Happy reading!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! May you and your family come together to give thanks for all the blessings you have received throughout this past year. This is day for families above all else. Enjoy the day! 
Animated overflowing cornucopia

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Home for Christmas by Melissa McClone




Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon...the smells of Christmas. The smells of home.

Rachel Murphy longs for home and family. Since childhood, she's dreamed of owning her own pastry shop, but after being burned by a celebrity chef and losing her lease in Arizona, Rachel's spending the holidays with her brother in Montana. To keep her dream alive, she's creating custom gingerbread houses and selling them around town. All she needs is a bigger kitchen...and to stay away from her brother's handsome boss.

Former venture capitalist Nate Vaughn has embraced his inner cowboy and now runs a successful dude ranch where Rachel's brother works. Nate's commercial kitchen is perfect for Rachel's baking needs, and seeing the cute blonde's business acumen, Nate knows she'd be the perfect partner for a new business. When he makes her an offer she can't refuse, he discovers he's interested in more than her gingerbread.
 
While Nate could make her dreams come true, Rachel's heart, as well as her head, tells her mixing business with anything else could be a recipe for disaster. Should she return to Arizona, and leave Nate and her new eager-for-more customers behind? Or can Nate convince her that, here with him in the mountains of Montana, she's already home? For Christmas...forever.

Published & Release Date: Tule Publishing Group, October 31, 2013

Time and setting: Present day, Montana

Genre: Contemporary/Christmas

Heat Level: Sweet

Reviewer rating: 3.5 Gold Crown

Reviewed by Vikki

I always enjoy sweet Christmas stories during the holidays and start reading them in early October. This is a sweet love story, but a bit too vanilla for me. The beginning started out exceedingly well and drew me in, but then I grew slightly frustrated with Rachel and Nate. I had a difficult time because both of them had a very hard time making up their minds.

Rachel comes to Montana to visit her brother, Ty and to lick her wounds. Her dreams of owning her own bakery are shattered, because a shady couple took advantage of her trusting nature and swindle her out of the money she had put down on a lease for one in Arizona. By the way, Ty treats her as if she is still a teenager, instead of a twenty-six year old woman, and she lets him get away with it. I understand he has raised her since the death of their parents, but even parents, let their children spread their wings by the time they are twenty-six!

Nate Vaughn finds Rachel in his kitchen and thinks Christmas has come early. He’s been good this year and deserves the hot gingerbread baking and the even hotter woman who is preparing it. He is immediately attracted to the cute, messy-haired blonde. When he discovers Rachel is Ty’s sister, he realizes he should have known it’s too good to be true. His foreman is very protective of his sister, and Nate knows that he needs to keep his hands off the beautiful woman, no matter how attracted he is.   

That starts what I thought would be an interesting story line. The premise for this story is excellent. However, I like a bit more depth to the characters, and I do not feel that I was ever in their heads, so to speak. While I understand it is a sweet contemporary romance, that makes it even more important to have strong sexual tension. The chemistry between Rachel and Nate was not as strong as I would like it to be. When I read, I want to become engaged. I want to feel what the characters are feeling, see what they are seeing. That did not happen in the second half of the book for me.


Nevertheless, the book is well-written, and the pacing is good. I read the story in a few hours. I am also glad Rachel and Nate found their “Happily Ever After”. I read some of the reviews from other readers, and I am in the minority in my opinion of the story. The book has quite a few 4 and 5 star ratings. I can understand why there are so many great reviews. It is a very heart-warming story with a fulfilling HEA at the end. If you are looking for a sweet love story with a happy ending, then this may be a book you will want to read. There is a great scene with mistletoe that I quite enjoyed. Happy reading!

Monday, November 24, 2014


What if everything you wanted was all within your reach but not yours for the taking?





Klaus and Stefan are tearing through the South collecting hybrids and leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. Unable to reach Stefan any other way, Elena devises a holiday plan to lure Stefan back home.

Damon thinks Elena is wasting her time and fears the worst. He and Stefan no longer celebrate Christmas, but if Klaus approves Elena’s request, Damon will support her by giving her what she wants—a traditional Christmas.

What Elena wants and what she gets are two different vampires altogether. Elena approaches Klaus and asks for Stefan’s release, even if it’s only for one Christmas weekend. Klaus agrees, but his terms and conditions are nonnegotiable.

Soon, Elena is holed up in a snow-covered chalet with the Salvatore brothers and Klaus, an original vampire with an unusual agenda. And he’s gone to great lengths to find out who Elena really loves. 

Excerpt One

Dear Diary,

I used to love mystery and danger. Like other teenage girls, I’d often imagined what it might be like to find myself in the middle of a catastrophe, stuck between two great forces—like good and evil—only far more dramatic.
At that time, Stefan and Damon Salvatore didn’t exist in my world. The world—at least the one I lived in—was less complicated. My days then were in black and white, with an occasional burst of color and flare, compliments of Caroline. 
Then the Salvatore brothers entered my life and everything changed. I soon learned there wasn’t a line of division down the middle with these two. And after I met Damon and Stefan, my former life faded to black and now the past seems surreal.
I look down at the Salvatore driveway, now lined with packed snow and jagged tracks and wonder how I could’ve been so na├»ve. Who was that young girl who compartmentalized thoughts, people, places and things?  Why didn’t she take the time to see the bigger picture with more multidimensional aspects, more depth?
As I think about the coming hours with a mix of dread and a dash of excitement, I now know a well-rounded life takes a triangle’s shape. Life isn’t clean and tidy with a circular rotation driven by nature to lead us all back to where we started. It’s not boxed up all nice and neat with defined planes and specific instructions to make our days easier. How boring would that be? Then again, after barely surviving these last few months, boring sounds like a little slice of heaven. 
It’s the most wonderful time of year or it is for those who believe in the two-sided world, the world beyond this window, the one where others grade their mere existence by good or evil.
But there is a third entity or force. And he’s standing right behind me. 



Excerpt Two

“You promised to release him while we’re in Tennessee.”
“And I will,” Klaus assured her. “Once we’re settled in and before the sun goes down.”
“Is there a ‘but’ in there somewhere?”
“All right, Elena, you win. I’ll let you in on a little secret.” His demeanor changed then. “You can’t play with fate or run from it, love. Katerina tried and as you saw for yourself, she failed on numerous occasions. She also loved two brothers as you love two brothers.”
“I never said—”
Klaus held up his hand. “Let me finish. Damon gives you what you need, what you must have at any cost. Stefan, on the other hand, gives you what you want—the ability to stay committed to your high moral standards. The Stefan you know gives you a normal relationship, an acceptable bond. Your friends like him. Your teachers accept him.” 
“What about the Stefan you know?”
“The Stefan I know would rip your pretty little neck apart if I so much as compelled him to do so.”
She swallowed, processing. Klaus wanted to hurt her. He wanted to watch how she interacted with the Salvatore brothers. He would then later use what he learned against her. “You made Stefan into something he’s not.”
“On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”


Beta Readers' "Favorite Lines from The Vampire Diaries" Mystical Christmas
(Kindle Worlds Novella) [Kindle Edition]


1. Her mind’s eyes flickered with newspaper clippings about a rampant killing spree, a murderous binge controlled by Klaus and executed by Stefan.

2. “On the contrary,” Klaus said. “We’re vampires. That makes us hunters or predators by nature. We’re only killers by choice.”

3. "Stefan’s weapons are embedded in his gums. No one hands him anything. He takes what he wants.”

4. "You and Damon probably weren’t supposed to spend Christmas together. You aren’t exactly an ideal mistletoe-seeking pair.”

5. "At the end of the day, you’re nothing more than a bleeding vein to him, Elena.”

6. Their love washed over her like a high tide racing toward shore in the middle of a devastating storm, a volatile gale that would temporarily calm before striking with brutal force in the desolate hours of a quiet holiday night. 

7. “Proximity is a real bitch when you’re the only one with a beating heart in a houseful of vampires.” 

8. “You can make a deal with the devil but it doesn’t mean you have to follow him back to hell.” 

9. "Far be it for me to break the news here, but we’re both dead, brother.” Stefan lifted his glass. “I thought you knew.”

10. "I can’t pretend I don’t have feelings for you when every single time I look at you, I only see an extension of me.” 

11. “It’s hard to choose a side when your heart draws its sword for one cause while your head supports another.”  






About the Author: Susan Smith Alvis has been a career author for over a decade. With over 300 titles to her credit, her pseudonyms have been award-winning authors with international bestsellers in most genres. To find out more, visit her book page at Amazon. To sign up for updates and future release date announcements, email her at susansmithalvis@gmail.com


Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship by Laura Strickland




Scottish chief's daughter Tinnie MacAieth can think of only one way to ransom her clan's folk, defeated by the fierce Viking, Claus — agree to his demand that she become his bride. She hopes the faith she holds to and the love she has for her people will give strength to endure a lonely, loveless future in the cold north. 

Claus has claimed Tinnie for his wife, but the prize he truly wants is her heart. Determined to win it, he offers her many gifts, but not until he undertakes a dangerous winter voyage for her sake does he dare hope. And on one magical Christmas Eve, while delivering toys by sleigh to her clan's children, he begins to believe she may grant him the one gift he desires...

Published & Release Date: The Wild Rose Press, November 19, 2014

Time and setting: Scotland & Netherlands, 850 AD

Genre: Medieval Historical Romance/Christmas

Heat Level: 1

Reviewer rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

What a wonderful short story! I always enjoy medieval romances, especially ones written in a time that is less easily found. This one fits in both categories. The story is engaging from the first page and kept me entertained until the last. And isn’t that what we want? After all that is why I read, and I am sure that is true for other readers.

Tinnie MacAieth has a terrible choice. Either she marries the Viking warrior Claus Henjelssen, or allows her late father’s people to be taken away as slaves or killed. At the protestation of her mother, Tinnie agrees to wed the fierce Norseman if he promises to leave her mother and their people without harming anyone else. She leaves hearth and home and travels to Jarlsgrell, the land of the Viking warrior. Claus is nothing like the barbarian she expected.

Claus refuses to take an unwilling bride, and Tinnie is definitely unwilling, even though she does not push him away. He wants more than a frigid woman as his wife. He sets out to woo her with a great many gifts, even going so far as to have a chapel built for her. After weeks, he comes to her as he does every night, but this time, while she tells him she can never be willing, she is ready to do her duty and fulfill her part of their bargain.

As the Yuletide season approaches, Claus asks her what she wants. He desperately wants her love as he has fallen in love with her. She asks him, “Tell me about these Yuletide celebrations—will there be food? And songs and trinkets for your people’s bairns?”
“I have told you, there will.”
“If you would please me, then give gifts not to me but to them.”

She is speaking of her people’s children. That she wants them to have the food and trinkets that will help them survive the harsh winter. At great peril to him and his men, he agrees to go to Scotland with the gifts. This starts the great journey, and the path to her heart.  

I truly enjoyed this sweet tale of a man willing to go to great lengths to win the heart of his lady. Tinnie asks much of him, but he is more than willing to give it. How could she not fall in love with Claus? This is a very romantic love story. I fell in love with Claus from the first page and the courageous young girl willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her people.

This is also a story of the birth of Father Christmas, and it is told with a masterful touch. I am amazed that such a short story tells such a rich and fulfilling tale. Ms. Strickland is an excellent storyteller, and her writing is smooth and flowing, unfolding a complete story, a fulfilling beginning, middle and a great “Happily Ever After”. Her pacing is excellent, keeping me reading until the end in one sitting. I am astonished at the depth of characterization for this sweet little gem of a story.

If you are looking for a heart-warming tale of the power of love with excellent historical detail, then this is one Christmas story you will not want to miss. I highly recommend this great little book. You will not be disappointed if you decide to give it a chance. Happy reading!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Here are a few Christmas stories I have read, and I thought I would share them to help get you in the holiday spirit. Happy reading! 

All three selections earn 5 Gold Crowns!

A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh




This one of my favorite Christmas stories. It is one of a promise to a beloved, yet dying father to marry the man of his choosing, the Earl of Falloden. Eleanor Transome will fulfill her father’s dying wish, even though it is the farthest thing from her own heart’s desire. Can this unlikely pair learn to love each other and make a marriage work in time for Christmas?

As always, Ms. Balogh writes another emotionally-charged love story, where at one point I could not imagine this couple finding their “Happily Ever After”, but as is her specialty, she ties it up neatly with a gorgeous bow. This is one of her books you will not want to miss.

One Horse Open Sleigh Race by Karen Hall




Karen Hall has been a favorite author of mine for a while. Her Christmas stories are heart-warming and touching. I have read all of them. One Horse Open Sleigh Race is a delightful tale of a spirited young woman who tends to speak her mind when it would be better if she kept her thoughts to herself.

The Earl of St. Martin has all his plans arranged until Amanda Fleming enters his life. From their first meeting she sends him into a spin with her outspoken ways and daring behavior. When she ends up winning the sleigh race, he realized sometimes the best laid plans are not always the best ones. Sometimes one needs to take chance on love.

The Secret Christmas Ciphers by Carolynn Carey





I just love Carolynn Carey's sweet romances. This one was particularly good. It starts out on their wedding day. Things are not good between Abigail and Derek. There are a lot of hurt feelings of betrayal for Abigail that Derek has to overcome, so he can win her trust and her love back. Ms. Carey spins an enthralling tale, and it kept me reading well past my bedtime, but it was well worth it. I would highly recommend this delightful read! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Even Heroes Cry by Hildie McQueen




"McQueen is an intense and emotional storyteller that will keep you turning the pages all night long." (NYT and USA Today Bestselling author Liliana Hart) 

Hildie McQueen's Even Heroes Cry will melt your heart and take your breath away. My new favorite romance author. (USA Today Bestselling author Jamie Lee Scott) 

Military vet Adam Ford returns to his hometown a damaged hero—the war stole his best friend and left him with severe PTSD. Every day is a challenge as he struggles to reconstruct his life. When a tempting beauty moves in next door, Adam’s world is turned upside down and he doesn’t appreciate it. 

After losing the love of her life in Iraq, Tesha Washington runs away from everything she’s ever known and escapes to a small town where she takes on the challenges of restoring an old Victorian house. Out of options, she turns to her reclusive neighbor for help. 

As Tesha slowly draws Adam out of the shell that used to be a man, she also learns there really is such a thing as starting over. Together they discover the healing power of love and a bond to last a lifetime.

Published & Release Date: Self published, November 11, 2004

Time and setting: Present day, Lovely, Tennessee

Genre: Contemporary/Military Romance

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 4.5 Gold Crown

Reviewed by Vikki

I thoroughly enjoy this emotionally-charged story of a military vet returned from Iraq who suffers from a very severe case of PTSD. Ms. McQueen obviously did a lot of research on this subject and it shows in her vivid descriptions. When Adam experiences an attack, it’s as if I were living through it with him. His pain is palpable and affected me deeply. This disease is real and affects a great many young men and women who have fought for this amazing country we are so blessed to live in.

Hildie McQueen’s writing flows smoothly, and her pacing is excellent. Her dialogue is sharp and crisp, and very much as people talk in real life. I love her character building, not just the hero and the heroine, but the secondary characters as well. I loved Mrs. Miller and the tidbits of her life interwoven in this story. This author is able to pull on my heart strings to the point that tears came to my eyes during one of Adam’s episodes.

When grieving military widow, Tesha Washington, decides to run away from her well-meaning family and in-laws, she never expects to find true love, and certainly not with a military vet suffering from PTSD. However that is exactly what she finds when she moves into an old Victorian home, badly in need of renovations.

Adam Ford is hanging on by a rapidly unraveling thread. He is weighed down with grief over the loss of the buddy he could not save to the point he is trying to fulfill all the buddy’s dreams. He remodels the friend’s house and his Ford Fairlane. Next on his agenda: A wife. Unfortunately, even though he has met the woman of his dreams, his PTSD has gotten so bad, he’s afraid to enter into a relationship with Tesha.

Can love be enough to conquer all, or will his past keep him from fulfilling not only his buddy’s dream but his as well?

This is a very well-written story, and I am so glad I decided to read it. I particularly liked the title of the book because it fits the story so well. This is the first book in the Nashville series, and I quickly became vested in learning more about Adam’s brother who will have a book of their own. Jenson and Cassie’s story is next, and I can’t wait to read it.


If you are a lover of military romances with a truly tortured soul and an intricate love story, then this is a book you will definitely want to read. Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dragonfly in Amber Outlander Series Book 2
by Diana Gabaldon




BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Diana Gabaldon's Voyager.

From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

Published & Release Date: Dell, Random House, October 26, 2004

Time and setting: Scottish Highlands 18th century

Genre: Historical Romance/Time Travel

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crown

Reviewed by Vikki

I’m so glad I decided to read the Outlander series over again. I am enjoying it just as much as I did the first of not better. Dragonfly in Amber is a terrific continuation of the amazing saga begun in Outlander Book 1. This story is deeply intense and filled with passion as the story of Claire and Jamie’s incredible love for each other grows and deepens.

This book starts with Claire and her daughter, Brianna, arriving in Inverness, Scotland 1968. At first I was a bit disappointed because I was anxious to read more of what was happening to Jamie and Claire after Culloden, not twenty years later. However, as I am introduced to Roger Wakefield, I soon become fully vested into his story and the growing attraction between him and Brianna and the intricate way all this intertwines. I can’t wait to read more of their story.   

Claire asks Roger to find out what happened to the men of Broch Tuarach, known locally as Lallybroch, after the battle at Culloden. Roger is fascinated and eager to do the research. When he finds old newspaper articles of his adopted father’s, telling of Claire’s amazing return after having disappeared for three years, he also discovers she returned pregnant. While exploring an old cemetery, they come across Jaime’s grave, and Claire tells Brianna what happened to her on a spring day in 1945.

After this, the book tells of what happened to Claire and Jamie and everything that leads up to Culloden. At times, the story is so riveting that if a bit my nails, I would have. This novel is intense, filled with one astounding moment after another, but it is not overdone by any means. Ms. Gabaldon describes the scenes with such detail that at times it took my breath away, leaving me gasping in alarm of what would happen next.

I am so impressed with this author’s incredible imagination and ability to write an intricate plot in such a way that it is easy to follow.  She weaves in a lot of historical detail with a masterful touch without pulling me out of the story at all.

There is such a wide array of characters that at times it can be a bit confusing. That is another reason why I decided to re-read the books, so all the characters can become fresh in my mind. I loved the storyline for Alexander and Mary. I won’t say more, but it explains so much.


I want to mention that I am listening to the audio book, narrated by Davina Porter as I read, and Ms. Porter brings all the characters to life in a way that only enriches the story. I highly recommend listening as you read this fantastic saga. I have already started Voyager and I cannot wait to find out more. Happy reading!