Author: Diana Gabaldon
Narrator: Davina Porter
Audio Length: 43 hours, 19 minutes
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books): “Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.”
Thoughts: Warning – There will be spoilers for those who have not read the second or third novel.
Claire and Jamie are back in this third installment of the Outlander series, and Ms. Gabaldon does not miss a beat when it comes to putting Claire and Jamie through their paces. Theirs will never be a boring relationship, but that is what makes the entire series so exciting!
The first third of the novel see Claire and Jamie separated not only by location but also by time. This section was actually difficult for the reader to sit through because the need to have them together is so strong. Seeing each character without the other though allows the reader to recognize each person’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, Claire is such a strong female that one never truly worries about her fate. Also, as she is actively searching for news of Jamie, it helps ease the tension a bit. However, Jamie without Claire is a whole other beast. The reader is left to question Jamie’s intelligence on more than one occasion and is left with serious doubts that Jamie can survive without the intervention of others on his behalf. Thankfully, their reunion eases a tension that the reader is not quite aware exists. For me, it confirmed that I have a strange, overemotional connection to the Frasers of Lallybroch.
One interesting point of discussion for this novel, and throughout the series in general, is the idea of fate versus free will. Jamie especially is continually coerced into acts he does not want to commit and are completely unforeseen because of outside forces. In Dragonfly in Amber, both Claire and he did everything in their power to change history, all to no avail. The same occurs in Voyager many times over. Does this mean that Jamie and Claire are making the decisions or are their decisions already decided by a greater force than them? Given how much happens to them both, it does make one wonder.
One of the best things about the series is the portrayal of their relationship. It is a mature, healthy relationship that makes no demands of each other and is filled with mutual respect. Tolerance, respect, conviction, honor, and trustworthiness are extremely important to both Claire and Jamie, and this comes through with every action they muster and every word they declare. Jealousy, spite and pettiness have no place in their lives, nor would they tolerate it in the other. In spite of their dramatic lives, their love and their relationship can be used as a standard for everyone.
Even though Voyager does not end with a huge cliffhanger, the reader knows without a doubt that there are more adventures to follow. The whole series has a bit of a Dickensian quality to it. Every character is important and most likely will appear again at some point in time in the series. This makes it rather difficult for a new reader to pick up the story mid-series, as he or she will not be able to reach the same level of understanding or emotional involvement that readers of the full series will have. Yet, for readers of each book, this connects each novel and enlivens the entire storyline so much that one truly does feel a connection with each character.
Davina Porter is an absolutely amazing narrator. She brings life to each character, but none more than Jamie and Claire. With accents that range from French to Scottish to pidgen English, Ms. Porter hits them all. Her interpretation of each character enhances the story so much, that I am not certain I want to read the books anymore. Listening to the different characters is so much more entertaining. It is no wonder that Ms. Porter has won accolades for her narrations. She is a narrator like no other.
Fans of Jamie and Claire will not be disappointed with Voyager. In fact, everything they face in this novel only confirms that individually, each character is special but together, they are a force that can take the world by storm. With four additional books in the series, and the potential for at least two more yet to be written/published, I suspect that Jamie and Claire will get the opportunity to do just that!