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Terms and Conditions: The giveaway runs from 4/25/2018-5/1/2018 11:59am. A winner will be randomly chosen on 5/2/2018 at 12:01am MT. The winner will be contacted by email after the contest ends. The winner has 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or it will be awarded to the runner-up. The handmade glass earrings and necklace with dragonfly inset are by Erin Adams Conrad. They are being given away by A Dram of Outlander. All Rights Reserved.
Brianna did it. She went through the stones. She arrives at Lallybroch. She meets the Murrays to their surprise and happiness. She also meets a vengeful woman and her brother. Brianna stands up for herself and her mother. A lengthy letter makes it wild and worth the trip. She bonds with her Uncle. She clears the air of her intention. She connects with this place so a part of her though she’s never been. To the Colonies, she will go.
Inside the Chapter:
Chapter 34 Lallybroch
Scotland, June 1769
Brianna is on horseback. Brutus is his name. He flawlessly, if not swiftly has carried her on General Wade’s old military roads, the bad roads, and the red deer track trails on her way to Lallybroch. She looks out over the valley below and sees Lallybroch. It matches the description her mother told her, down to the kailyard. Rising smoke from the chimney indicates someone is home. She is nervous and excited. Who would she meet first? Will they believe her story of who she was and why she had come? Her story was based on as much truth as possible. She brought evidence with her. They would have to believe her. Could her parents be there right now?
A horse carrying a tall brown-haired man approaches her from behind. He was wary of her until he got close enough to realize she was a woman. She’s a big woman and looks like a man from a distance. This is to her advantage when traveling alone. She tells the man her name, he’s puzzled and shares his with her, Jamie Fraser Murray of Broch Tuarach (p576, Nook). His reaction is perfect. Jenny is going to birth some form of an animal to be sure.
Brianna notices the carved lintel over the door, Fraser, 1716 it said. Brianna instinctively ducks while going through the door (p576, Nook). She thinks how little family she has in the twentieth century, one distant cousin of her dad Frank. Here she will have a large family connection to her. Jamie’s son Matthew goes running past being chased by his sister Janet. Matthew comments on Brianna’s choice of clothing (p578, Nook). Matthew discloses Jenny and Ian are in the back parlor with a man and a woman who are eating a large amount of food. Jamie sends the boy to get his granny, Jenny.
By Kim Traynor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Jamie tries to get Janet to guess who Brianna is related to. She figures it out with great surprise. Enter Jenny Murray (p579, Nook). Just as Young Jamie is introducing Brianna, the woman from the parlor joins the group (p579, Nook). Jenny admonishes Laoghaire for her foolishness and tells her this is a lass, not a man. Laoghaire looks at Brianna for the first time (p580, Nook). The realization Jamie Fraser could have married again chills Brianna to the bone. She thinks of her mother and is horrified she could have found Jamie with another wife when she went through the stones. She wants to run out of the house and keep on running. She is like her mother in some ways. Young Jamie steers her to a place to sit. In the room she sees two men, one asks her name. It’s Ian Murray, her uncle. She feels safer in his presence until Laoghaire comes in havering up to high heaven (p581, Nook). I need a dram or two after this scene.
Brianna asks after her mother, Ian assures Brianna that Claire is with Jamie. Laoghaire cannot help herself. She says the pearls are hers by right (p583, Nook). Brianna snatches the pearls off the table and holds them tightly. Brianna addresses Laoghaire without success. Laoghaire calls Jamie a bastard and says he married her under pretenses four years earlier. Laoghaire explains that Jamie left her (p584, Nook). As if insulting Jamie and her mother wasn’t enough, she insults Brianna, calling her a witch’s child (p585, Nook). The Fraser anger rises in Brianna, and she lets Laoghaire have it (p585, Nook). Hobart leads a stunned Laoghaire out of the room to take her home. Laoghaire must have the last words and leaves Brianna with a parting twist of the tongue (p586, Nook). I am in love with Brianna here. She is coming into her own as a confident woman, as a Fraser daughter.
They finish dinner with the joy of Brianna, the joy that Jamie has his child. She’s thankful that Laoghaire’s accusations of Jamie were untrue. He was the man her mother said he was. Brianna asks if they know where her mother and Jamie are. They basically do, and Ian offers to show her a letter from her parents. Following Jenny, Brianna stops and notices a portrait on the wall with her father as a child in it. Jenny shows her a painting of her mother, Ellen. Brianna gasped when she saw it. Brianna looks remarkably like Ellen MacKenzie. The painting will hang in the National Portrait Gallery in two hundred years. Ellen painted the portrait herself. Brianna’s talent for drawing and painting comes from her grandmother. Jenny explains how she came into possession of the painting. Ned Gowan brought it to her from Leoch. Brianna feels a stab of grief for those lost. We learn that Jenny never saw Leoch for herself and now it’s gone.
Brianna follows Jenny into the bedroom. Jenny finds the letter and explains they live in the Colony of North Carolina but not near any towns. She explains it’s difficult for him to write since his hand was broken “that time.” Brianna knows the whole story behind the broken hand; Jenny does not. Brianna recognizes the writing. The letter is from the prior September. Young Ian sent a porpentine (porcupine) skull for Young Jamie’s boys. Jamie included a gift for Jenny. He explains Claire’s manner of communicating with the elderly Indian woman who made it (p591, Nook). He goes on to document his homesteading work and the local bear population. Fergus acquired a new large kettle, and a hearty stew was made in it (p592, Nook). Tomatoes have an interesting and rich history. The white sow is close to birth, so he placed her in the pantry. This does not please the sow or Claire. Tuscarora hunters came looking to hunt the bear. Young Ian and Rollo accompanied them on their journey. There was quite an adventure in the night of the 22nd (p593, Nook). Jenny interrupts Brianna’s reading to ask if she still plans on going to such a wild place and to show her the leather bag that Jamie sent. She is relieved Brianna is not afraid to go to the Colonies and on to Fraser’s Ridge, but she wants her to stay for a couple of days.
Now alone Brianna rereads the letter slowly, and she can almost see the man in the letter in front of her. She gets to the part she was interrupted by Jenny (p595, Nook). There were still two more pages to go. By now it was mid-October. Jamie and Ian wrote (p597, Nook). Young Ian told of his measles illness and his restored health. Brianna thought Lallybroch to be primitive, but the Colonies were indeed a more wild and dangerous place.
Ian takes Brianna on a tour of the farm and the property. She sees all is in good condition and the animals healthy. Ian was sporting his kilt to the surprise of Jenny and Young Jamie (p599, Nook). Brianna thinks about how the kilt, swords, pistols, and bagpipes were hidden away after Culloden. At first, she thinks of the items as symbols of pride conquered, but that wasn’t quite right (p599, Nook). Ian was pleased Brianna asked to see the property. She’d be leaving in a week’s time to board a ship to the Colonies. She thought it was a beautiful place. Brianna thinks she sees a cairn (p600, Nook). They walk a long way and up to the top of a hill. They can see the whole valley. Ian pulls out a stone bottle and remarks it was Claire’s doing he has teeth (p601, Nook). Ian thinks Claire knew what she was about seeing how braw Brianna is.
By Anne Burgess, CC BY-SA 2.0
Ian wishes he could see Jamie’s face when he meets Brianna. She is so much like him. Ian explains there wasn’t much time during his last visit with Claire to Lallybroch to tell them about her and there was a great moil. He lets her know why Jenny is anxious for her to leave (p602, Nook). Brianna asks what Jenny had to do with Laoghaire. Oh, GIRL, your hair is going to curl when you hear what she had to do with it. Ian is surprised at how much knowledge Brianna has of Jamie’s history. He goes on to explain Jamie’s countenance when he returned from England after being in Ardsmuir and the contrast to him after Culloden (p602, Nook). They climbed up to where Jamie had lived as Dunbonnet. Brianna entered the cave and immediately felt entombed. She had no idea how Jamie lived there for seven years but thinks maybe she could if she had to. She was a Fraser after all. She sat outside the cave becoming part of the nature surrounding it. This is something her mother and father do. She connects to it and thinks she understands why Jamie could tolerate his time in the cave. One word explained it, solitude (p604, Nook). She leaves a small memory offering before heading down to Ian.
She asks Ian about the legality of wearing his kilt. Soldiers hadn’t come in a long time. There was nothing left of value to the soldiers; only the land was left. Ian asks Brianna to have a question answered by Jamie when she finds him (p605, Nook). Brianna assures him Jame wouldn’t want to change who has Lallybroch and Brianna doesn’t want it. Ian thinks she knows an awful lot about what Jamie will do even though she hasn’t met him. Of course, Claire would have told her all about Jamie (p605, Nook). Claire was indeed special.
Brianna asks about something Laoghaire said. She had used the word fetch when going on about Brianna’s mother Claire interfering with her marriage to Jamie (p606, Nook). Getting back to why Jamie married her, Ian tells her Jamie was like a ghost with no spark in him (p606, Nook). Jenny made the match with the intention of helping Jamie (p606, Nook). Brianna is relieved at hearing the tale of Laoghaire and Jamie’s response to Claire’s return.
There’s much to unpack in this chapter. First, Jamie has a child, and his family is shocked. Second, the Laoghaire incident. Brianna was brilliant! Third, the worry over Jamie wanting Brianna to have the property. Four, Brianna finding her connection and realizing she’s no longer alone. She has a huge family. Five, the letter from The Ridge and the realization it is a dangerous and precarious place she will be going. Six, Jamie and Claire are together and happy. Seven, Jenny has guilt, and she’s terrible at direct communication when it counts. Thankfully Ian is excellent at deciphering and communicating what is necessary. Eight, Jenny Murray is a sensitive person underneath her steel. Nine, Brianna has come into her own as a woman. She has matured and has the combined strength of her mother and her fathers. There are so many literary elements at play and excellent depth of character development as we see through Brianna’s eyes the family she’s only heard of and her realizing her mother did an excellent job in relaying who they are.I think Claire prepared Brianna extraordinarily well without meaning to for her journey back in time. We cannot forget about Frank being an expert on this time in history. Brianna certainly would have read his works.
What’s Coming up? Chapters 35-36 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
How can you participate? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.
Roger overstays his Oxford term. Brianna isn’t coming to visit as planned. A mysterious crate arrives. Roger confers with Joe Abernathy. JHRC on toast did she do it? Yes, oh yes she did. A grimoire is revealed. Roger and Fiona make a plan. Midsummer’s Eve means time to travel.
Inside the Chapters:
Part 8 Beaucoup
Into Thin Air Oxford, April 1971
The Dean talks Roger into staying in Oxford an extra week to do a conference for some Americans even though he’s due to be in Scotland. The money is a good incentive, so Roger agrees. Roger has a disconcerting letter from Brianna in his hand (p547, Nook). She was supposed to be visiting him in July. Now she’s not coming. He thinks she’s lying (a lying bitch wee in fact) and has found someone else. He’s trying to be mad. He feels empty.
Some boxes arrive for Roger on the last day of the conference. Remember he’s not supposed to be at Oxford right now. He’s mystified. He opens the attached envelope (p548, Nook). He takes the crate into his sitting room and looks for a tool to open it. He wonders if she would send him her history if she meant to break up with him. Good thinking Rog. She packed it with museum quality. He finds a variety of things. Photos and a large portrait of Claire, her Raggedy Ann doll, other memorabilia, silver dinner service with the history typed on each. It’s the family silver passed down from 1842; it was a wedding present to Frank and Claire. Roger places the items on the floor next to him growing ever puzzled. She sent her entire history to him. He realizes she sent it there on purpose knowing he was supposed to be in Scotland when it arrived. Last, he unpacks a jewelry box; it’s filled with brooches and earrings. He notices two items are missing, the silver bracelet he’d given her and her grandmother’s pearls (p550, Nook). Yes, she could have Roger.
He’s beside himself over Brianna possibly traveling through the stones without telling him. Where had she gone? He phones Joe Abernathy, Brianna’s only other connection in the twentieth century. Joe thinks she’s with Roger. Joe explains the last time he saw Brianna (p551, Nook). She left on April 27th for Scotland. Roger is panicked. Joe explains she planned to go to Inverness from Edinburgh. She would have arrived in Inverness for Beltane when the Stones would be open. Now Joe is worried too. Roger asks Joe a simple question (p552, Nook).
“Wouldn’t you?” Those two words asked by Joe Abernathy haunt Roger. He and Joe had discussed the finer points of why Brianna would have gone. She found her father and was curious. Yes, Joe did know the way of the traveling, Claire had told him (p552, Nook). Roger tells Joe he does know what the stones are like, but not everyone hears them and reflects on Claire going through at Craigh na Dun on Samhain two and a half years before. Remember Claire accidentally went through at Beltane the first time and returned to the twentieth century near Beltane on the eve of Culloden. Roger hates thinking about the sounds and the feelings at Craigh na Dun. Joe is curious (p553, Nook). He doesn’t want to go into the things he knows about Claire with Joe and explains unless someone did something BIG it wouldn’t make the historical news. Roger asks Joe if he knows how dangerous the eighteenth century is? He doesn’t but (p554, Nook).
Roger drives toward Inverness with “Wouldn’t you?” continuing its chime in his head. He likely would (p554, Nook).
Lack of communication or purposeful miscommunication has Roger all riled up. Why not a note to say this is why I went, and this is why I need you to wait for me in the twentieth? This is a mess in the making. What would you do? I would go like Brianna, but I wouldn’t omit the lack to Roger. I wouldn’t lie. Argh, for as smart as Brianna is sometimes her common sense goes out the window and did she not think Roger would figure it out? Uncle Joe is such a good guy. I’m glad he’s a touchstone for Brianna and Roger in the twentieth.
Return to Inverness
Fiona has turned the old manse into a bed and breakfast establishment. Fiona is excited to see Roger though her betrothed Ernie is less enthused. Roger becomes a detective to track Brianna’s steps. He finds it fairly easy since there aren’t many 6-foot-tall red-haired women from America around Inverness. Roger ponders when he should go after Brianna through the stones (p556, Nook). He must choose one of the feast days to most safely pass. Roger keeps himself busy while he quietly prepares for his departure. Some nights he even slept.
Roger and Fiona have a chat. She wants to know why he has a photo of Gillian Edgars (Geillis Duncan Abernathy) and why he’s been up to Craigh na Dun. She is not having his joke of an answer (p558, Nook). Fiona knows something about Gillian and the stones. Roger means to find out what it is. He tries to bargain with her, but she runs off saying she needs to think. His mind is racing, and he thinks of Brianna. his stomach flips and flops. He thinks of Fiona’s words, “She’s dead. Isn’t she?” She was alive when Claire went back the first time. Is she alive in the past now? The timey-wimey reality hurts Roger’s head.
Fiona is back at the sink. She’s not supposed to tell, but she’s going to tell him because she must. Roger remembers Claire telling about her and Frank seeing the dancers at the circle one Beltane morning and Mrs. Graham was one of the dancers. Fiona goes on to explain that grannie (Mrs. Graham) was the caller (p560, Nook). Fiona knows all the words; she’s the caller now. Fiona met Gillian because she had been one of the dancers. Roger asks her to go on. She asks Roger if he knows where Brianna’s gone. Roger is disquieted (p561, Nook). He tells her he must go after Brianna. Fiona is unsure if men can go through. She’s only heard of women who do. Then she discloses a bomb. She has Gillian’s grimoire. She meant to give it to the police after she’d disappeared, but after reading it didn’t think it would help them.
This is the grimoire of the witch, Geillis (p562, Nook). Roger thinks she’s a nutcase and a poor writer. He thumbs through the sections and notices each of the sun and fire feasts has notes and crosses. He reads the notes under Samhain (p564, Nook). She had also logged what she called case studies of dead people who were found at various stone circles in Scotland, northern England, and Brittany. There were twenty-two persons listed. Some may have known what they were doing, while others were unsuspecting. It chilled Roger to his core. Claire was right; it was no revolving door. The disappearances near the circles were also notated. The crosses signified those who disappeared near each feast. One entry, in particular, caused Roger to stop (p566, Nook). Claire was part of Gillian’s information for her casebook. Gillian did not have any record of Claire’s return three years later. The book felt like a bomb in his hands. The last section of the book is called “techniques and preparations” (p566, Nook). He understands why the book upset Fiona when she read it. He walked toward the river but couldn’t get the last words from his mind, “Shall I kiss you, child, shall I kiss you, man? Feel the teeth behind my lips when I do. I could kill you, as easily as I embrace you. The taste of my power is the taste of blood-iron in my mouth, iron in my hand. Sacrifice is required.”
That is some CRAZY and eye-opening information right there. We know blood isn’t needed, but does it help steer?
June 20, 1971
We’re getting a micro view of Roger from April to June. We haven’t seen Brianna in 18 months except for what is disclosed through Roger’s point of view. It’s Midsummer’s Eve in Scotland (p567, Nook). The description gets to me every time. I have been in Scotland during Beltane as the days were beginning to stretch. I can imagine what the Summer Equinox would be like to witness. The stones buzzed and hummed before Roger could see them. On prior visits, the stones felt odd, but they were silent. Claire hears them all the time I think. He and Fiona stopped thirty feet from the circle. He thinks Fiona is afraid for herself, but it’s for him she scared.
Roger is dressed in eighteenth-century clothing. He suddenly feels like he’s playing dress up.
Fiona goes into the circle without him to perform her ceremonial ritual in privacy. The humming from the stones got into Roger’s body, bones, and blood. It almost felt like he had an itch to scratch within. He hears her sing with words he cannot understand. Can he make it through? Claire and Brianna both had. Geillis is his ancestor, so yes, he should be able. He likens the feeling from the Stones to being eaten by ants. He’s restless and cannot ease the feeling. Fiona’s singing was making the sensations worse. She finally came to get him, and he cannot hear her for the noise in his head. Before he enters the circle, he stops and kisses her full on the mouth requesting she not tell Ernie.
Roger smells something burning. He feels bodiless. He also smells coffee. The feeling of wrong came over him. His body hurts. What he thought was stars above him is Fiona yelling his name (p570, Nook). They try to figure out why he disappeared and came back (p570, Nook). Roger had to gather himself, so he can tell Fiona what happened. Roger had thought of his father, and he must have crossed his timeline when he saw his father. He thanks Fiona for not letting him burn. They talk about the gemstones in his mother’s locket likely keeping him alive in the crossing. Roger realizes thinking of his dad was the problem. He decides to go again to Fiona’s horror and objection. He explains how he knows it will be okay (p573, Nook). She understands.
She places her engagement ring in his hand. It has a small diamond in the setting. She’ll tell Ernie she lost it. It’s insured after all. He’s ready to go again (pp573, Nook). Fiona waited for a long time to be sure Roger doesn’t return. She bids him well (p573, Nook).
What’s Coming up? Chapters 34-35 Drums of Autumn (DOA).
How can you participate? Send your comments to email@example.com or call the listener line at 719-425-9444 by Friday of each week. If you’re reading ahead, you can leave comments for any part of the book too. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.