Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the 8th installment in the Outlander series. At this point, readers are either fully invested in the lives of these characters or they have given up. I am ALL IN! No synopsis needed. It’s the continuing story of Claire, Jamie, Roger, Brianna, et al.
If you are a Sassenach reader like me, then you know there are certain things you have to accept to truly love this series.
Number One: prepare to spend some time with the books. MOBY (as Gabaldon refers to this installment) is 814 hardback pages of fairly small print. If you don’t enjoy big books, then these aren’t for you.
Number Two: you are going to get detailed descriptions of things you never thought you wanted to know. Claire is a physician. In one scene, she is treating someone who has been punched in the eye. The eyeball is stuck in the socket and she has to maneuver it around to get it back in place properly. I couldn’t sit still while reading and right now I fairly feel like I could vomit just thinking about it. Enjoyable, not really. But, you have to love a writer who can paint a picture that makes you so uncomfortable but unwilling to stop reading for anything.
Number Three: the characters you love are going to go through horrible, horrible things and sometimes they will make very foolish decisions. They will do more in a day than you can in a month. And, a married couple in their 60s will continue to have sex like rabbits.
Number Four: while you try to read slowly so that you can savor everything, you will get through these 814 pages faster than you expect. And, then you wait. Years. Seriously, like 5 years for the next installment. And, Gabaldon will keep you on the hook by occasionally posting daily lines from her work in progress.
Number Five: you will start to believe you can speak Gaelic and in everyday life you will use sayings like “Dinna Fash”, “ye ken?” or “Tulach Ard”. Just roll with it.
This series is in my blood and I am in for the long haul. I know it won’t continue forever but I will read every installment as it comes out along with all the side novels (e.g. Lord John) and novellas.
5/5 stars for a book that isn’t perfect but is, still, perfection.