I love Jamie Fraser!
When the masterful author Diana Gabaldon takes time out from her Outlander series to write other novels, sometimes I get frustrated. I want to know what happens next to Jamie and Claire! *stomps foot* But I am SO glad she wrote this novel. The Scottish Prisoner
is part of her spinoff series about Lord John Grey, but the story focuses on Jamie during a heartbreaking stage of his life -- a story that simply needed to be told. It's poignant, funny, dramatic, and sweet.
The story takes place during Voyager
, the third novel in the Outlander series. Jamie is a parolee at the Helwater estate, placed there by Lord John. But he's not staying there for long because John's brother Hal forces Jamie to help them track down a traitorous English Major hidden away in Ireland. Jamie completes his duty admirably, of course, with several wrinkles along the way.
One reason I love this story is I never know what to expect from Jamie. I know he'll always act with integrity, but this character from the 18th century often surprises me. John, the English colonel who lusts after him, describes Jamie the best:"he has . . . a sense of himself that is quite separate from what society demands. Hie is inclined to make his own rules."
There's no doubt I care deeply about Jamie. I cried several times reading this novel. His hidden feelings for his son William got to me the most.He had accustomed himself to thinking of William as a sort of small, glowing light in his mind, something like the flame of a wax candle lit before a saint's statue in a dark chapel. He couldn't afford such a candle, and wouldn't be allowed into the Helwater chapel, but liked to imagine himself lighting one when he said his prayers at night. He would watch the flame catch and swell, wavering a bit and then growing tall and still. He would go to sleep then and feel it burn, a peaceful watch fire in his heart.
He could feel the child's imagined weight on his shoulders, warm and heavy, smelling faintly of wee and strawberry jam. There were some chains you wore because you wanted to.
Willie clung to him like a leech, trying to burrow into his chest, and he wrapped his arms tight around the boy, too overcome to speak.
To this point, he could not really have said that he loved William. Felt the terror or responsibility for him, yes. Carry thought of him like a gem in his pocket, certainly, reaching now and then to touch it, marveling. But now he felt the perfection of the tiny bones of William's spine though his clothes, smooth as marbles under his fingers, smelled the scent of him, rich with the incense of innocence and the faint tang of shit and clean linen. And thought his heart would break with love.
I also deeply enjoyed the relationship between Jamie and John. There is so much baggage between them -- prisoner and gaoler, unrequited love, secrets -- it's amazing they can be friends. It speaks to both characters' integrity. I can't wait for Written in My Own Heart's Blood
, book #8 in the Outlander series. There will be much to sort out between Jamie, John, and Claire! *giggles*
I love Jamie Fraser!