Friday, August 31, 2012

Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

          Jack Morgan #2

          I actually read the third book in this series, Private Games,  before I read this one. They have little in common except both offices are owned by Jack Morgan and are part of his investigation and security business, Private. That being said, both are pretty good books.

          This story centers on Jack Morgan himself. Jack strikes me as real dog with little impulse control. He sleeps with lots of women, and breaks their hearts, albeit unintentionally. That probably appeals more to male readers than it did to me. He doesn’t seem to have had a particularly easy youth, but he has managed to make a success of himself and the business his father left him.

          The story begins with Jack returning home from a grueling overseas trip, dropping his bags in the entry and heading straight for a shower. Upon getting out of the shower and heading entering his bedroom, he is met with the nasty sight of a former lover shot dead in the middle of his bed.

          Naturally, the police believe Jack is the murderer. He is arrested for the crime. And the police are simply uninterested in digging any deeper. The frame the real murderer cobbled together has Jack well and truly surrounded.

          But Jack has the resources of his company and his staff to delve into the details more deeply. They all work tirelessly to prove Jack did not perpetrate this crime.

          I got the feeling this book was directed more at a male audience, but it was engaging and enjoyable. I don’t think this is a series I will my to-be-read list, but you may want to add it to yours.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

          This is a very compelling book, although it is not entertaining exactly. It is a sad story and I actually cried through large segments of it. While it is very well written with vibrant characters I won’t be reading it again. It is just too depressing. Kristin Hannah shoots for an uplifting ending, but it not high enough to balance the lows of the middle of the book. It is heart wrenching and left me feeling sad and droopy for a couple of days after I’d finished it. If that’s what Hannah was shooting for, she hit it dead on.

          Home Front is the story of a family affected by the mother’s deployment to Iraq. Jolene is a helicopter pilot in the National Guard. The story begins on her 41st birthday. Her husband, trying to deal with the recent loss of his father, is burying himself in work, and forgets their plans for her birthday. As if this is not enough, once he finally comes home that night, he informs her he doesn’t lover her any more. The next day, still reeling from this announcement, she receives word that her National Guard unit is being deployed to Iraq.

          Her daughters are twelve and four years old. The twelve year old is hormonal and bitchy.  The four year old is confused and fussy. And her husband, Michael, continues to pull away as the deployment date approaches. As desperate as she is to remain home and try to keep her family from falling apart, Jolene departs for the war in the desert.

          War is a horrible thing. But Jolene tries to shield her family from the worst of it by sending upbeat emails and happy photos home. She tries to assure her family that she is well away from the fighting and perfectly safe. But she is not. There are no “front lines” in Iraq, and every breath she takes in country could be her last. The stress and exhaustion build.

          Several months into her tour, her helicopter is shot down; Her crew injured or killed. And she herself is badly injured. She wakes in a hospital to discover that she may be permanently disabled, and she will likely never fly again.

          Now she must return home, a changed woman. She must help her daughters adjust to her changed situation. She must decide if she can trust her heart to her husband again and try to put the pieces of their broken marriage back together.  And, she must find a way to put the trauma of her time at war in the past and get on with her life.

          It appears she manages to do all these things, but it is a struggle, and like any shattered thing her life will never be the same again, no matter how well the pieces are glued back together.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George

          Inspector Lynley #17

          This is the first book in this series I have read. It was a pretty good story, but seemed too long by about a third. However, since it is well into a series, I understand the need to visit and update the back stories of all the recurring characters for those readers who have been a part of the plot since the beginning.

          A drowning occurs in Cumbria in England. The police and coroner determine it to have been an accident. But the victim is the nephew of an influential man.  The uncle uses that influence to have Detective Inspector Lynley dispatched, incognito, to Cumbria to perform his own investigation into the incident.

          Since his superiors have ordered him to keep a low profile, asks a couple of friends to come out to Cumbria to assist him. While there, the threesome start to discover the assorted oddities of the dead man’s family. Each member had at least one reason to be glad of the poor man’s death. But no forensic evidence can be found to dispute the finding of accidental death.

          But the investigation turns up large amounts of dirt on each of the family members. Some become angry, some become repentant and one completely panics. It is that panic, over a misunderstanding of the investigation, which causes the ultimate tragedy.

          Aside from being overly long, this is a pretty good book.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon

          Outlander #2

          I was very impressed with Outlander, the first book in this series, so I had high hopes for Dragonfly In Amber.  I was not disappointed. And, I must say, I cannot wait to get my hands on Voyager, the third book in the series.

          This book picks up with Clair returning to Scotland twenty years after going back through the cloven stone to 1947. She returns with her daughter, Brianna. It is her intention to see if a local historian can tell her the fates of a number of men who were known to have been on the field in Culloden at the final disastrous attempt of Bonnie Prince Charlie to regain the British throne for his father.

          While she is there, she also intends to tell her daughter the story of her travel back in time to 1743, of her marriage to James Frasier, and the fact that Brianna is actually Frasier’s daughter.

          While visiting a churchyard with the historian who is researching the men on Clair’s list, Brianna comes upon the grave of Jamie Frasier.  She does not realize who he was to Clair or to herself.  She only knows this is one of the men who played a major role in the part of history they are exploring. Brianna excitedly calls her mother over to examine her find.

          Despite having twenty years in which to come to terms with Jamie’s death, the sight of his tombstone sends Clair into a frenzy of grief. Her behavior is completely inexplicable to her daughter, and her explanation is even more so.

          The majority of the book is taken up with Clair remembering the time she spent with Jamie in France while there was a price on Jamie’s head in Scotland.  While there, they did everything they could to ensure that Prince Charles did not gain the resources to stage the rising that Clair knew would end with the deaths of so many Scots at Culloden. They were ultimately unsuccessful. The rising occurred and the massacre ensued.

          As dawn breaks on the morning of the battle at Culloden, Jamie insists Clair return through the cloven stone to her own time. He must remain and attempt to save his men, and then die a warrior’s death on the battlefield instead of a traitor’s death later. Clair, who is pregnant with Brianna, finally agrees in order to save them both.

          And, it would appear that this amazing love story has reached its end. But there is another book, so maybe not.

          I’ve read recently that these books are being made into a cable TV series.  I’d definitely watch it. I absolutely recommend this book. I laughed and cried and contemplated the intricate tangle of time brought about by the circumstances of the story. This is another very long book, but Gabaldon has once again done a great job of storytelling.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Taken by Robert Crais

          Elvis Cole #13

          I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed listening to this book. It is not the kind of book I would normally choose.  Stories about soldiers, human trafficking, egregious violence, and bloody guts do not usually interest me. But something about Cole and Pike and their buddy John Stone appealed to me. This story caught me at the beginning and never let me go. I have not read any of the previous books in the series, but I think I will add the first one, The Monkey’s Raincoat to my to-be-read list.

          The story begins with two young people at a landmark in the desert. Shortly after sunset, a large truck pulls up and disgorges a load of people from its cargo area – a coyote dropping off the people he is helping to sneak into the country. Suddenly several smaller vehicles arrive, a gun battle ensues, and the folks from the back of the truck are rounded up, kidnapped for ransom.  The two young folks who are watching all this happen get caught up in the sweep as well.

          Elvis Cole, private investigator, is hired by the young woman’s mother, to find her. She does not believe her daughter has really been kidnapped since the ransom demand was only $500. She believes the youngsters have run off to get married and are trying to scam some cash out of her. When she finally realizes her daughter is playing the part of an illegal alien, she is truly horrified.

          Elvis Cole, with the help of Joe Pike and John Stone, and lots of fire power, head into the desert to find the kids and the rest of the aliens being held for ransom. Through the use of other than ordinary means, everyone is recovered from the kidnappers. And, Cole and company destroy the kidnapping ring while doing it.

          The action here was nonstop.  And while some of the scenes were a little too gory for my tastes, my desire to see what happened next allowed me to skim over those parts. I can’t wait to try the earlier novels, and to see what adventures the guys have coming up.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly

          This was a quick fun read – actually a listen as it was an audio book.  It was totally predictable, which was not a bad thing here. This book did not have any delusions of grandeur.  It was just a simple love story.

          Kate is Evanovich’s typical heroine - little ditzy, but determined and charming.  Matt is a good hero.  He is handsome, of course, a talented brewer of beers, a very successful businessman and all round nice guy. 

          Kate has decided, after her divorce, to turn her parent’s vacation home, called the Nutshell, into a bread and breakfast. The place needs extensive renovation, the removal of thousands of bees, cleansing of mold and serious refurnishing. Kate’s resources are limited and she is racing against time to get the B&B up and running before the place goes into foreclosure.

          The story starts with Kate arriving at Matt’s microbrewery, The Depot, to demand a job.  She believes she was unjustly fired from her last position due to a batch of skunky Depot beer, and Matt owes her a job. Matt is not really planning on doing any hiring, but is intrigued.  He has been having a run of bad luck lately that he is beginning to suspect might not be accidental. Kate agrees to do some snooping for him, and the bonus he promises her for finding the culprit will bring the mortgage on the Nutshell current and pay some of the renovation bills.

          It quickly becomes clear that the bad luck really is sabotage as the perpetrators become increasingly violent and dangerous. Matt wants Kate out of the Depot, and harm’s way, but she is determined to earn the bonus she needs by finding out who is responsible.

          Figuring out who-done-it is as easy as thinking about who has the most to gain by running Matt out of business. How the damage is being accomplished is a bit trickier to determine. And, Kate does finally figure it out, mostly because she runs into the guy in the midst of starting a fire. But her mission is accomplished.  Her bonus is earned and as if that is not enough, she also gets the handsome brew master!

          I listened to this one on audio, so it took several days to get through the whole thing.  This probably would have been a one day read in book form. But it was fun. And, my favorite character is Stella.  If you want to know why, you’ll just need to read the book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

          Fifty Shades #1

          So, I must admit, I was very excited when I got the email from the library saying Fifty Shades of Grey was available for download to my Kindle. There has been so much hype about the books. They have been on the best seller list for months. I couldn’t wait to find out what all the fuss was about. I just hoped there was something else there besides kinky sex.

          I was well aware that the book would fall somewhere in the range of erotic to pornographic. (This is definitely not for the under eighteen crowd.)  And, to be perfectly honest, most media that falls along that spectrum bores me to tears.  I am not necessarily turned on by other people having sex. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem reading about other people having sex, but I expect other things to go on besides just sex or you lose me.

          And, Fifty Shades of Grey delivers. Most of the sex is actually pretty tame, although there are several scenes that get pretty far off the beaten path. But there is much more than sex going on here. We get to read about two people with wildly divergent ideas about the perfect relationship attempting to find common ground, and making progress toward each other.

          I really enjoyed the email exchanges between the two main characters. They are witty and well written.  And, I spent quite a bit of time laughing out loud while reading them.  Those exchanges helped bridge the gap between Ana’s desire to have conversations and talk about things as they go along, and Christian’s wanting the relationship all laid out ahead of time in written contract form.

          I liked that both parties were willing to compromise and try doing things the way the other one wanted. They both worked hard to try to create a relationship that worked for both of them.  But in the end Christian’s control issues, and sexual proclivities proved too much for Ana to accept.

          I think she absolutely made the right decision to walk away from Christian. She was correct. He needed to get his head on straight.  I can only assume that she goes back to him in book two.  I don’t think it’s a good decision, but the idea that love conquers all is a staple of literature.

          I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are well written and fully realized. Seattle may not be the most exciting city in the world, but these characters don’t spend a lot of time outside. I was intrigued by the idea that a British writer would set the novels there, though. I’m looking forward to reading book two, Fifty Shades Darker, when it’s my turn at the library.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Drop by Michael Connelly

         Harry Bosch #15

          This is the latest in Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. Harry is a detective in LA’s cold case squad.  One morning he is brought into the boss’s office and given a case that could be a real hot potato.  A nineteen-year-old girl was raped and murdered nearly two decades earlier. A retest of the DNA in the case has come up with a match – a man who has done time for another sex offense. The kicker is that at the time of the young girl’s murder, this sex offender was eight years old. Has the evidence been mishandled? Was there an error at the lab? This case could blow up in the department’s face.

          As Harry and his partner begin the careful investigation of the case in light of the confusing DNA results, they get thrown another curve. They are asked to take over a hot case, one with lots of “high jingo” or administrative and political interest. A man has landed in the parking lot of a hotel.  The question is whether he jumped himself or was helped over the railing of his seventh floor room. The man is the son of a city councilman, one who has long had it in for Harry Bosch.  But Harry believes that everybody counts or nobody counts and the councilman knows Harry will not let the case rest till the truth has been uncovered.

          As Harry and his partner begin the even more delicate investigation of the councilman’s son’s death, it begins to look like a murder to get revenge on the councilman.  Then it starts to look more like a suicide that was helped along by the son’s despondence over his father’s corruption. Harry’s final decision is suicide. And the councilman, who is facing reelection within weeks, is furious.  He is also adamant that he is not corrupt.  He gives Harry a photocopy of a phone message that he claims proves his innocence.  Harry says it is not enough to prove anything, but pockets the paper anyway.

          And then Harry returns the dead girl, whose reinvestigation was so rudely interrupted by the high jingo suicide case.

          Harry carefully follows the leads, determining that the DNA of the eight-year-old is not on the murdered girl’s body because he was involved in her death, but because he was another of the perpetrator’s victims. With the help of a predator, a monster is arrested. And, before all is said and done, Harry chooses to foil a plot to murder the murderer.  Because, everybody counts or nobody counts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Columbus Affair by Steve Berry

          I really do enjoy historical fiction, and this is a good example of why. Once again Berry combines lots of real people, places and things with a bit of imagination and comes up with a compelling story.

          In this one, he imagines that Christopher Columbus, the one we have the holiday in October for, is a Jew. And his travels to the New World are really motivated by a search for a place where the Jewish people can live in peace. He is tasked with taking precious Jewish artifacts out of the reach of the Inquisition and finding a new haven for them. He accomplishes this pretty well. The Jews find a haven in Jamaica for over 100 years and the treasure for even longer.

          After hiding the treasure, Columbus chooses one man to guard over it, The Levite. This man is to allow only one other to know the secret location. For some five centuries, the secret is kept safe and the treasure remains secure. The location known to only one man at a time, the information passed on as the current keeper nears the time of his death.

          In the current time, the Levite develops a problem. His son has renounced his religion and heritage, and therefore cannot be a fit guardian.  So the Levite takes the secret, literally, to his grave. He has his granddaughter who is the executer of his estate bury him with a package. In the package is the secret that he could not pass down to his son.

          Israeli radicals determine who the Levite was, and realize he was buried with this package despite it being against orthodox Jewish rules. They develop a plan to retrieve the package, and then the treasure. They plan to return the treasure to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem from whence it was removed millennia ago. And, they hope the return of these items to this sacred location will arouse the Jewish people to a war with the Islamic peoples who now control the location.

          The characters travel all over the globe, plans are created and thwarted and altered. Many forces are in play and no one is who they seem. The treasure is finally found, but only the new Levite controls its destiny.

          I enjoyed this one.  At times I was uncertain who was a good guy and who was a bad guy.  And, in the end it became clear that many people were a little of each. It’s always fun to read the afterward to see exactly which parts of the story are real, which are theory or myth and which came straight out of the author’s imagination.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

            Kay Scarpetta #19

               This was another very good offering from Patricia Cornwell. It is more like the earlier Scarpetta novels in that it revolves most heavily around the mystery and the science and is less concerned about the lives, loves and psychoses of the main characters.  I’ve read the previous eighteen books in this series and have the twentieth on the to-be-read list. I recommend it highly, although if you have never read a Scarpetta novel, I’d suggest picking up one or more of the early ones to get a feel for the recurring characters first.

               This book starts out with Kay actually functioning as a private citizen as opposed to her normal roles as a very public person.  But she soon begins to realize that the trip she has chosen to take was not really her own idea.  She has been manipulated into a position by people taking advantage of how well they know her.

               She finds herself at the Georgia Prison for Women, visiting with an inmate who slips her a note as the visit is ending. Kay realizes at once that she has been set up but goes along with the written request to call Jamie Berger, a former colleague and friend, from a pay phone largely because she wants an explanation. Kay is good and angry and wants to know what is going on.

               She arrives at Jamie’s place later that day and does not find Jamie there, but is greeted by Pete Marino.  It seems Jamie has discovered that an inmate on death row at the prison is actually innocent. And she is going to revive her flagging career by getting the woman released. The cloak and dagger nonsense used to get Kay to the prison and into the area forensic lab was deemed necessary by Jamie and Marino because the real murderers were not all apprehended and could be a danger to them all.

               As Kay follows the evidence from the 2002 murders of an entire family, she begins to realize that Jamie is absolutely right about the wrong woman having been convicted. And Kay stumbles upon the missing link, nearly getting herself killed in the process of determining who the real killers were.

               The bad guys are apprehended, the good guys put their bags into Lucy’s helicopter and fly back to the Northeast to pick up their lives, loves and psychoses.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks

               I’ve got to say I was a bit disappointed in this offering by Nicholas Sparks. Not to suggest this is a bad book - far from it. But the last one of his I read struck such deep, emotional chords with me, I’m afraid I raised my expectations a bit too high with this one. (See my review of The Best of Me at I also figured since The Lucky One is set largely in a dog kennel/training school, I would love the story just because the dogs would play such a large part. Unfortunately, most of the kennel action has to do with cleaning up the poop, not interacting with puppies.  I liked this book, but just wasn’t touched emotionally like I expected to be.

               Logan Thibault (pronounced T-boe) is a marine in Afghanistan. While out for a run one early morning, the rising sun glints off something in the sand. Logan pauses to see what it is and finds a laminated photograph of a woman and two men at a fair. He attempts to find the owner of the photo, but cannot.  And, so, he begins carrying the photo with him at all times. Once he begins keeping the photo with him, he seems to become charmed. He cannot lose – not at games, not at life, not at war. While fellow marines are dying within feet of him, he comes out of the situations unscathed. One of his buddies has a theory that the photo is his lucky charm and is keeping him from all harm.

               Eventually, Logan’s time in Afghanistan comes to a close and he returns to his home in Colorado. He does not have the readjustment issues that so many vets have, but is unsettled and not really happy. He chooses to go looking for the woman in the photo – and chooses to do so on foot. Logan and his trusty German Shepherd, Zeus, head southeast toward North Carolina. After months of walking and camping, they finally find the woman in the photo, Elizabeth, divorced mother of one, caretaker to her grandmother. A woman desperately trying to figure out how to keep her grandmother’s kennel and dog training business running while teaching elementary school in town.

               Logan’s arrival seems the answer to Elizabeth’s dilemma.  Logan is meticulous with the kennel duties, good with the dogs, and willing to work cheap. He is also good with Elizabeth’s son and grandmother. But there is a somewhat sinister third leg to this triangle, Elizabeth’s ex-husband. He comes off as juvenile, arrogant and entitled through the entire story, till the climactic scene in which his selfless behavior redeems him, even though it strikes a dissonant chord. We have seen no redeeming aspect to his character, and then he does this? What? This makes no sense!

               I felt the characters were not a fully fleshed out in this story as in some of his others.  The action was less intense and even the scenery was not as well defined. I realize not every book an author produces is going to ring my bell, but I was hoping for more with this one.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

          This is a Young Adult novel, the first in a series, which was recommended by one of the bloggers I follow, Jesi Lea Ryan, Diary of a Bibliophile. Graceling is a very good book, and may be the beginning of a very good series. I am not going to be the one to tell you, though. While there are certainly Young Adult novels that I really enjoy, I encountered most of them while I was a young adult myself.  I also enjoy fantasy novels, which this is, and it’s a pretty good fantasy also.  It’s just a little too young and the fantasy world is a little too formulaic for my tastes.

          Katsa is a young woman in a world where some people are “graced”. Being graced is rather like having a talent on overdrive. At the tender age of eight, Katsa defends herself instinctually and kills the predator stalking her. From that point forward, it is assumed that Katsa’s grace is killing.  As the niece of the king, she quickly becomes his executioner. But she is smart and motivated to help others and really, really dislikes being used to intimidate, hurt and kill the king’s enemies. She finally develops the maturity and insight to realize that she holds the real power here, not the king. She refuses to do his bidding and leaves the kingdom.

          But she does not leave alone. A young man, Po, has come to her uncle’s kingdom searching for his kidnapped grandfather.  When Po leaves to continue his search, Katsa accompanies him. They come to know and trust each other as they face the perils of their journey. They both possess graces that everyone around them interprets incorrectly. Together they discover the true depths of their graces. They eventually fall in love.

          They determine who is behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather, and in their quest to discover and understand the motives for it; they encounter Bitterblue, a princess of a neighboring kingdom and Po’s cousin. She is grave peril, and Katsa and Po must risk everything to save her and expose the evil that is spreading outward from her kingdom.  Grandfather is rescued. Bitterblue is crowned queen, and the young lovers return to their cabin in the mountains to await the next installment in their story.

          This really is a good story. It is just directed at too young an audience to keep my interest. By all means give it a try, and encourage your kids to try it as well.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

               Virgin River #19

               Sunrise Point is another quick, fun read from Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series.  Nora appeared a couple of books ago and she and her two young daughters quickly became a part of the fabric of life in town. So it was no surprise when her story came along.

               She was discovered, destitute with two babies, living in a derelict house that had no heat in the midst of a major blizzard.  The town rallied around her, got her warm and fed, and shored up the house. Soon she had a part time job and could at least manage to keep her small family fed.

               At the start of Sunrise Point, she is reading a help wanted poster for apple pickers at the orchard three miles outside of town. She is determined to get a job there. She bums a ride down to the orchard to apply.  The owner’s grandson, who is handling the hiring, takes one look at her and sends her on her way.  She is too young and small and weak-looking to be an apple picker. His grandmother, however, takes one look, sees shades of herself as a young woman, and pulls rank, informing Tom that Nora is to be given a chance.

               Nora grabs the opportunity and runs with it. But she is aware that Tom doesn’t really want her there…at first. She finds him very attractive, but knows there is another woman in the picture (classy, sophisticated and absolutely intimidating to Nora).  And, Tom is hesitant to take on a ready-made family, but not so hesitant that he is willing to keep his distance from the feisty, independent woman working in his orchard.

               Through trials and tribulations and triumphs, Nora and Tom become closer. And, when faced with the possibility of losing Nora and the girls for good, Tom does the only thing he can.

               I liked this book. It’s not deep and there are no major twists or surprises, but it is very entertaining and has a happy ending. I’ll look forward to the next book in the series.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

          This book is the first in a series. I added it to my to-be-read list after reading, and enjoying, The Scottish Prisoner a few months ago.  I’m very glad I did.  I really liked this one, and have added the rest of the series to the list.

          If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll be aware that time travel is one of my favorite kinds of stories.  And, this is a time travel tale.  The story starts in 1946. Claire and her husband, Frank,  have been posted at opposite ends of the earth during WWII, and now that the war is over, they are enjoying a bit of a second honeymoon in Scotland.  Toward the end of their planned stay, Claire makes a solo trip to a stone dance where she stumbles through a thin spot in the space-time continuum and finds herself in the middle of a skirmish between some Scottish raiders and English redcoats.

          It takes some time, but fairly quickly she discovers that this is no historical reenactment or movie shoot. She really is in 1743.  She ends up being taken by the Scots back to their home, and must find a way to escape them and return to the dance where she hopes she can make her way back to her own time. 

          But fate intervenes, and in order to avoid being turned over to the British to be interrogated as a spy, she finds herself wed to Jaime Frasier, an outlaw and fine specimen of a man. Once wed, the Scots trust in her begins to increase, and her training as an army nurse puts her in great demand as a healer. Her attempts to help the sick and injured are not always looked upon in a friendly manner, though, and before long she finds herself accused of witchcraft. 

          She is rescued at the last moment, and finally breaks down and tells Jamie that she has come from the future, and has a husband and a life there.  While obviously skeptical, Jamie takes her back to the dance. And, while there, witnesses things that convince him her story is true. He loves her enough to allow her to return through the time rift to her life in 1946, but is not strong enough to watch it happen. He leaves her standing before the stone.

          And there she stands, unable to take the final step through the rift. She realizes that she is too much in love with Jamie to leave him, and chooses to remain in 1743, despite the lack of indoor plumbing.

          Together, Claire and Jamie have further adventures as they attempt to avoid the British, who have condemned Jamie to hang, and try to find a place where they can live and love.

          This is a very long book. The original hardcover edition was 688 pages long. It took a while to read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait to get to Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the series.