BOOK REVIEW: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review

Title: Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Imprint: Doubleday Canada
Released: November 23, 2021
Pages: 928
ISBN-13: 978-0385685542
Stars:  3.5

Like every other die-hard fan of the Outlander series and Diana Gabaldon’s writing, I anxiously anticipated this ninth book, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, and man, we waited a long time for it. In the meantime, I and millions of others enjoyed the Outlander television series immensely, although it does not faithfully stick to the books’ plot lines.

I read a couple of other books simultaneously because, unlike many of the other volumes in the series, I could easily put this one down and wait for it. I was often uninterested in the lives of the newer characters, including Silvia Hardman and her family, Agnes and Fanny. I also felt that William received a lot of space but didn’t do anything of substance, although hopefully, that will come. I find it hard to connect with William and care about him even though I want to, but I enjoyed him getting to know Bree a little.

I have read these books because I love Jamie and Claire, their love story and adventures. I wanted Diana Gabaldon to spend more time with them in this book than she did. However, I also appreciate Roger and Brianna, Young Ian (though his Quaker wife Rachel is a bore), Fergus and Marsali (I would’ve liked to see them have a much larger storyline) and especially Lord John Grey. I love him as much as the Frasers. I could do with fewer children in the story, but I understand why they need to be there. I also enjoy every appearance of John Quincy Myers. I could care less about the rest of the characters (except for Hal and Percy); in my humble opinion, they received far too much time.

There must be antagonists in every book, and Ezekiel Richardson has proven to be a decent one, although he is no Jack Randall or Stephen Bonnet.

My favourite scenes included the bear attack on Amy, the emotional scene between Jamie and Jenny, and when Fergus finds out who his birth father is. That was awesome! I also thoroughly enjoyed the heart-pounding battle scene near the end of the book and holding my breath to see whether Jamie would come out alive.

While characters like Amy, Fanny, Agnes, and Silvia may support the storyline, they receive too much space. Unlike Amaranthus, they are not exciting characters, and I wouldn’t have cared if Gabaldon had omitted them. Also, while dramatic, the whole baby-delivering incident with Agnes’ mom didn’t feel unique compared to other scenes Diana has written in past books. I know she doesn’t write linearly, but in scenes, as they come to her. Sometimes I think that method can make the book cumbersome.

I will have to trust that she had a reason for everything. There is no doubt that I will read the tenth book, which I hope will be the end of the series. Jamie and Claire, at their age, likely won’t have the types of adventures that they once experienced—which made for exhilarating novels. I don’t care anymore how many of Fraser’s Ridge settlers Claire heals or how many babies she delivers, or about them hanging out with a dozen grandchildren or fighting in more small battles during the birth of the United States. (I didn’t mind the bees.) I would like to see their entire immediate family return to Scotland in the tenth book, whether to the eighteenth century or the twentieth. I want to know how it ends, and I think Gabaldon could wrap it up nicely in 600 pages or less.

Here’s hoping I live long enough to read it.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (My All-Time Favourite Series of Books)

Outlander by Diana GabaldonBook Review
Title: Outlander
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Seal Books
Released: October 9, 2001
Pages: 896
ISBN-10: 0770428797
ISBN13: 978-0770428792
Stars:  5.0

Like millions of other Outlander fans, I’ve been watching the new Starz television series of the same name and LOVE it! I think the producers have done an excellent job of staying true to the book and I’m sure that’s because author Diana Gabaldon is a consultant for the series. The casting of Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire & Jamie Fraser and Tobias Menzies as Frank/Black Jack Randall is perfect, and even though the casting of Dougal MacKenzie seems wrong because Graham McTavish doesn’t look like Dougal and seems too old for the part, he is doing a great job with it. I can’t wait to see what comes next…although having to wait for April 2015 to see the second part of Season 1 is PAINFUL!!

Needless to say the Outlander series of books are those which fans read over and over again. While I’m not a super-duper obsessed fan, I have always named Diana Gabaldon as my favourite author since I read the first four novels in the late 90’s. Then, like everyone else, I waited and waited and waited for the next books to be written and in the meantime, I had theChristine Bode meets Diana Gabaldon for the second time great pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon twice at book signings…once after the release of A Breath of Snow and Ashes (2005) and once after the release of Lord John and The Brotherhood of The Blade (2007).

I own all of her novels but I haven’t read the last two books in the Outlander series yet and that’s because I decided that I would have to make the time to re-read the series in order, back to back, so that everything would be fresh in my mind. I read A Breath of Snow and Ashes when it came out and haven’t read another of her books since. So, now is the time! The television series has inspired me and the next year will be the year of Diana Gabaldon for me. And what a sensational year of reading it will be!!

I finished reading Outlander for the second time at 3:00 am this morning. It took me two weeks and two days, and that’s with reading at least a couple of chapters a day. These mammoth tomes are hard for an engaged reader to put down so that they can sleep, work or just get on with their day. I know they’re very long novels, but I swear that every chapter is captivating.

Although there have been an army of authors who have tried to replicate the success of these novels for themselves, no one else has come close to the popularity of Diana Gabaldon’s novels. This very intelligent woman, who happens to hold three science degrees including a PhD in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, has sold over 25 million copies (the books have been published in 26 countries and in 23 languages) and continues to live happily with her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona. Diana Gabaldon is an extremely smart, charming, witty and beautiful woman and that’s why her books have stolen the hearts of so many people.

I’m going to reiterate what Outlander is about using Diana’s own words:

“In 1946, after WWII, a young Englishwoman named Claire Beauchamp Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Frank. She’s an ex-combat nurse, he’s been in the army as well, they’ve been separated for the last six years, and this is a second honeymoon; they’re getting re-acquainted with each other, thinking of starting a family. But one day Claire goes out walking by herself, and comes across a circle of standing stones—such circles are in fact common all over northern Britain.  She walks through a cleft stone in the circle…and disappears. Back into 1743, where the first person she meets is a gentleman in an 18th-century army officer’s uniform. This gentleman, Jack Randall, looks just like her husband Frank—and proves to be Frank’s six-times-great-grandfather. Unfortunately, he also proves to be a sadistic bisexual pervert, and while trying to escape from him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Highland Scots, who are also trying to get away from Black Jack Randall—though for other reasons.

In order to avoid being handed over to Captain Randall, Claire is obliged to marry one of the young clansmen. So she finds herself trying to escape from Castle Leoch and her Scottish captors, trying to get back to her husband Frank, trying to avoid being recaptured by Captain Randall—and falling in love with Jamie Fraser, the young man she’s been forced to marry. The story rolls on from there…”

And what an amazing, fantastic, romantic, adventurous, historical story it is!!

There’s not much more that I can add about Outlander except to say that if you haven’t read this series yet, do it! Now!! Before you die, you have to read at least the 8 novels that are currently in print (if you skip the Lord John Grey novels, you’ll be forgiven, but you should read them too) because I guarantee you, that if you love romantic, historical, adventurous, fantastical stories, no finer have ever been written. And no ladies, Jamie Fraser does not actually exist. A man like that is purely a fictional creation! Amen.

NOTE: Chapters Kingston is now selling the Outlander series (except for Written In My Own Heart’s Blood) for 2 for $15!