I have been reading this book for almost a year. Goodreads tells me I marked it as currently-reading on October 24, 2015. It's a book that I'd read a few chapters of, put it down (sometimes for months), go back and a read a few more chapters...repeat. Part of the problem is that I read it on Kindle as part of the full set, so it really just felt like I was never making progress on it. Part of the problem was that I just didn't find the book that interesting.
This is, of course, the sequel to Outlander, and it's a doorstop. All of Gabaldon's books are, from what I can tell. This one starts off a little strangely--while we left our time-traveling heroine, Claire, in the 1700s, we start with her and her daughter, Brianna, visiting Scotland in more modern times. Brianna is a young woman, and seems to think they're just on vacation. But Claire has other purposes, and pulls Roger, the son of the genealogy-studying vicar from the first, book into them. She wants to know what happened to the men of Lallybroch during the '45. And then, following a Chain of Events, she ends up coming clean to Brianna and Roger about why she's interested...and who Brianna's father really is. This throws us into the 1745 timeline, which is basically all Claire telling her story, though personally I probably wouldn't have told my daughter quite so much about all the crazy sex her father and I had. (I didn't really think about this while reading the book, but in retrospect, it's kind of weird. Sex isn't something to be ashamed of but thinking of your parents doing it is a bit uncomfortable for most of us, I'd wager.)
The thing with this book is...it's boring. It's a lot of political scheming and a lot of walking/riding/taking boats places, and it doesn't really have the romance of the first one to propel it forward. Claire and Jamie are still together, yes--but they're already in love, already married, already together, and there's never really doubts that they're going to be anything but, so there's not really the suspense to propel us along on that plot, such as it is. It's mildly interesting to read about a couple who already got together and how they're facing the trials they run into, but "mildly interesting" is as far as I'm willing to go with that one. Honestly, I spent most of the book hoping we'd get back to the modern time so we could read more about Brianna, who is clearly the new standout character here, and who I hope goes time-traveling herself in the future books. Indeed, the "contemporary" part of the book at the end was ultimately far more interesting than the bulk of the story because things were actually happening. The main body has a few interesting events scattered throughout, but they're separated by such long expanses of nothing that it made the book a real slog in general--hence why it took me almost a year to get through it. I thought that maybe there'd be some interesting stuff about how Claire's presence and actions in the past affected the present, but there wasn't; her actions don't appear to have "changed" anything. I want to say that's because we have a circular time paradox on our hands, but I'm just not convinced that Galbadon meant for it to be that way.
I am planning on continuing on with this series, mostly because I'm hoping for more Brianna, but the other books aren't really high on my priority list right now.
2.5 stars out of 5.