Voyager

Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: August 7th, 2001 

  “‘Do ye not understand?’ he said, in near desperation.
‘I would lay the world at your feet, Claire – and I have nothing to give ye!’

He honestly thought it mattered.”
– Diana Gabaldon, Voyager

Note: This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers.

Additional note: This post reviews the third book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Outlander and A Dragonfly in Amber, before reading this review.

It’s been two decades since Claire Randall/Fraser said goodbye to Jamie Fraser, two decades of raising their child, Brianna, back in Claire’s own time period, two decades believing Jamie to have perished at the famous Battle of Culloden in 18th century Scotland.

But when her years’ worth of research leads her to the realization that Jamie did in fact survive the horrific battle, Claire knows she must at least try to find him again. She now has to say goodbye to her adult daughter to find the only man she has ever really loved.

This book gives a beautiful example of timeless love as Claire and Jamie are finally  reunited after 20 years. They risk everything for yet another chance to be together, including their lives as they voyage halfway across the world on a quest to save their family. Romance, adventure, peril – Voyager has it all!

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Redeeming Love

Title: Redeeming Love
Author: Francine Rivers
Genre: Christian, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Multnomah
Release Date: 1997

Note: I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Angel has only ever seen men as heartless and cruel. Sold into prostitution at a heartbreakingly young age, she has known intense betrayal and cruelty; used and abused countless times, she has long given up all hope in men. Which is why Michael Hosea rocks her world when he enters her life.

Michael believes that Angel, a high-priced prostitute in Pair-a-Dice, is the woman God has called him to marry. Confused, but obedient, he eventually convinces Angel to leave behind the only life she has ever known and be his wife. He offers her more than she bargained for: a home, security, and love. Instead of accepting Michael’s – and God’s – love, Angel is terrified of it, terrified that this sort of love would be her undoing. So she runs back to her old life, the life that feels safe, but is really dangerous and deceptive.

In this compelling story inspired by the book of Hosea, we see Michael demonstrate a love for Angel that is too powerful to outrun. She is forced to face her dark past and accept love for the first time, ultimately, the love of a God who never stops pursuing the lost and redeeming the broken – no matter how lost or broken they are.

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Dragonfly in Amber


Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: July 1st, 1992 

“It’s me that has the easy part now. For if ye feel for me as I do for you –
then I’m asking you to tear out your heart and live without it.”
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

Additional note: This post reviews the second book of the Outlander series. You may like to read the first book in the series, Outlander, before reading this review.

I love what the author, Diana Gabaldon, has to say about this book: “It doesn’t start where you think it’s going to. And it doesn’t end how you think it’s going to, either. Just keep reading; it’ll be fine.”

Imagine my surprise when I began reading book two only to realize that 20 years have gone by since the happenings in Outlander, and Claire Randall is back in the 20th century with her grownup daughter, Brianna. (No spoiler here, I just hadn’t read the back cover teaser!) Thankfully for us as the readers, Claire takes us back in time, where we left off at the end of Outlander. In an attempt to end the Jacobite uprising that will inevitably end in absolute defeat, Claire and Jamie travel to Paris, to face Bonny Prince Charles himself. They do their best to socialize in the French court, filled with intrigue. But will their efforts be enough to save the Highlanders from the decimation that awaits them if Charles Stuart continues his course of action? Can Claire and Jamie actually make a difference… and change the history Claire knows?

I really enjoyed this book! Not quite as much as I enjoyed Outlander, but I still loved it because of awesome characters like Claire and Jamie.

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Outlander

Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander, book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Time-Travel
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
Release Date: June 1st, 1991 

“Oh, aye, Sassenach. I am your master . . . and you’re mine.
Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own.”
 Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Note: This is one of the few times I am straying from my typical Young Adult book reviews to review this book, and the rest of the series. This is not a book I would recommend to YA audiences, as it is deals with mature content for adult readers. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon at the RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) conference in September of 2017. I hadn’t read the Outlander books at the time and I knew very little about them, but I went into Gabaldon’s writing classes with an open mind, ready to learn. She completely blew me away, not just with the exhilarating love story of Claire and Jamie, but with her entire approach to writing novels. Gabaldon quickly made her way to the top of my list of favorite authors – even more so when I finally sat down and read the darn thing half a year later! Here is my review:

One moment, Claire Randall, a World War II combat nurse, is standing at the ancient stones of Craigh na Dun, and the next, she is thrown back in time – 200 years ago – when Scotland was being torn apart by war. Claire is a “Sassenach” – an Outlander – who must do whatever it takes to survive in an unfamiliar time in the midst of great violence. Before long, she is involved with a clan of Scots – who do not know what to make of this strange englishwoman – and she quickly learns that the soldiers of her own country, the redcoats, cannot be trusted. Her quest to get back to her own time becomes that much more complicated with Jamie Fraser – a brave, handsome Scotsman – in the picture. Torn between two worlds, two times, and two men, Claire must decide what she really wants – and this decision will completely change her life forever.

I cannot remember the last time I read a book that I enjoyed as much as Outlander. I had a difficult time putting it down, and found myself thinking about the story when I wasn’t reading it. (Nerd.) It is the kind of book I couldn’t wait to pick it up again, to see what would happen next to these characters I love. I was completely swept up in the romance of Claire and Jamie, and fell in love with the book’s setting: Scotland. And as for Jack Randall, he might just go down in history as the most hated, vile villain I’ve ever read. Even at a word count of 305,000, I was not ready for Outlander to come to a close. Thank God (and Diana Gabaldon) for the rest of the books to devour in this series!

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The Silent Songbird

Title: The Silent Songbird
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 7
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 8th, 2016

Note: Even though The Silent Songbird is the seventh in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Little Mermaid.

Evangeline, the ward of King Richard II, wants nothing more than to be free and to live her life outside the castle. And when the king decides that she will marry his closest advisor, a vile man at least twice her age, she knows she must seize whatever chance she has and flee the castle.

Pretending to be mute to keep herself unknown, she joins Wesley le Wyse and his small band of servants, heading back to their own village. She wishes she did not have to deceive Wesley, especially as she begins to form a friendship with him. But too much is at stake for her to reveal her identity now. Will she win her freedom, and find happiness with the man she loves, or will her ruse not be worth the all the deceit in the end?

I really enjoyed this retelling of The Little Mermaid! I haven’t actually read many retellings of the mute redhead with a fiery spirit, so this was a fun read.

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The Golden Braid

Title: The Golden Braid
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 6
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 17th, 2015

Note: Even though The Golden Braid is the sixth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Rapunzel. 

Hagenheim, 1413

When Rapunzel receives another marriage proposal, her controlling and over-protective mother moves them to a new city, one where she hopes to better hide Rapunzel from unwelcome suitors. Rapunzel and her mother meet some trouble on the road, and are rescued by a knight, Sir Gerek, who is later rescued by Rapunzel, who knows a thing or two about knife throwing.

Wanting nothing more than to learn to read and write, Rapunzel begs Sir Gerek to teach her. Reluctantly, Sir Gerek agrees, despite the fact that they each find the other to be difficult. That is, until they realize that their feelings for each other are beginning to deepen. But will Rapunzel’s mother once again get in the way of her daughter’s happiness?

This book is an imaginative retelling of Rapunzel that felt new and fresh. If you are a fan of fairytales, this one is a must-read!

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The Princess Spy

Title: The Princess Spy
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 5
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 4th, 2014

Note: Even though The Princess Spy is the fifth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Frog Prince. 

Hagenheim, 1413

A romantic at heart, Margaretha has high hopes for her suitor, Lord Claybrook. But when Colin, an injured Englishman, arrives in Hagenheim claiming to be attacked by none other than Claybrook himself, Margaretha begins to doubt that her suitor’s motives are true. Because of Colin’s language barrier, he is unable to explain himself to anyone other than Margaretha, who alone speaks english.

As Margaretha befriends Colin and helps him recover, she decides to take a closer look at Claybrook. She begins to uncover his secret plot to overthrow her father, the Duke of Hagenheim, and realizes that the future of her family’s kingdom – and her own future with the man she truly loves – depend on her own stealth and resourcefulness.

I really enjoyed this book, though it was not obvious that it was a Frog Prince retelling. I thought it was fun getting to know Margaretha more, after reading stories about her mother and her brothers, too!

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