Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review Thursday - 2/7

Finally! Finishes!! Because I was able to finish The Fiery Cross on Monday evening, I was able to get another book finished this week. I am going to review the second book first so that those who are reading the Outlander series and haven’t gotten to the Fiery Cross can skip the end of this post so that you don’t inadvertently read any spoilers.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult is about Zoe Baxter who is married to Max and they have fertility issues. After she is finally pregnant and gives birth to a still born, Max decides that he has had enough and divorces her and moves in with his brother and sister-in-law. The brother and sister-in-law are super religious and Max then joins their church – not a big surprise.

Zoe realizes that she has no friends since she has pushed everyone away during her fertility battles and she latches onto the first person who shows her any signs of friendship – Vanessa. In a matter of 3 or 4 months, Zoe falls in love with Vanessa, they move in together and then get married. And Vanessa wants to use the frozen embryos from Zoe and Max’s last round of fertility treatments to have Zoe’s baby. And Max, being a newly reformed Christian, objects to Zoe’s relationship, re-marriage and the desires for the embryos. Thank God for GLAAD to step in and help Zoe with the court battle to fight for the embryos.

There was a lot going on in this book and it felt like things happened very fast and then everything was all wrapped up in a nice little bow. In the course of about 3 months, Zoe is dealing with the still birth and then a divorce, but there was only a week or 2 of depression? I found that a little hard to believe. Then, Zoe is married to a man and within a matter of 5 or 6 months from his request for a divorce, she falls in love and gets married to a woman? Without having a lot of inner turmoil about the switch and the ramifications? Feelings just seemed to be glossed over a lot, in my opinion. I suppose that the bigger plot was Vanessa using the embryos and not Zoe coming out at 40 after being married for 10 years and dating Max for 2 years before that.

Basically, this is a typical Picoult novel – drama and/or something terrible happens and then a court case that could go either way with a hot button issue or two. Beware when listening to the audio version - there are songs. Folk songs. Written for the book, but they just, I don’t know, sounded forced or something. I fast forwarded through all of them. They were supposed to add to the story, but I thought it was just odd.

The Fiery Cross is the 5th book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. All of the books are really individual Epic Novels, but I am sure there are people who would agree that they wish the stories were longer. Or maybe longer and broken down into more books. Either way, there are never enough of the adventures to go around!

For anyone not familiar, the Outlander series follows Claire, a 20th century British nurse, who travels back in time to 18th century Scotland and meets Jamie Fraser and his clansmen. Through additional forces beyond her control, she is forced to marry Jamie and she unwillingly falls in love with him and attempts to help him fight British troops in the Jacobite Rising.

But don’t be fooled. The series is not a Science Fiction novel. The actual time travel accounts for such a small amount of the storyline. These novels are really historical fiction based around actual events like the Jacobite Rising, the Battle of Culloden and the American Revolution.

In this installment, Claire, Jamie and their clan are settled into Fraser’s Ridge in the back country in North Carolina in 1771. Brianna and Roger get married. Jamie is called by the governor to organize a militia to fight against the uprising of the Regulators. There is a wedding at River Run, Jamie’s aunt Jocasta’s plantation. Jamie continues to bring in fellow Scotsmen to help settle Fraser’s Ridge.

There is a lot of thought on Claire’s part to travelling back to the 1900’s and whether she is causing more damage by staying with Jamie and trying to save lives with medicine. She concentrates quite a bit on trying to create penicillin and even writes about it in her journals for future medicine men and women to learn from. She also obtains a microscope to help her with her healing.

There wasn’t much of a plot to this novel, but it was still nice to have a glimpse into the lives of the characters in between all of the fighting in previous books and what is obviously coming with the American Revolution in future books. And I think that this novel was more interesting to me than the second novel in the series which I thought was too bogged down with politics and a regurgitation of history.


Jennifer said...

Haha, love your definition of a typical Piccoult novel - I've only read two of hers and I guess this description is why I haven't read more!

Jean(ie) said...

I am smack dab in the middle of Outlander and have six more on my kindle. Loving it so far.

Jodi Picoult's novels follow a formula, good book candy for audio when you want a distraction.

desertskyquilts said...

I read the whole Outlander series and the Lord John Gray books, too. It's amazing that it's been more than 20 years since the first one, which I had to read in English publication!

Infinity Quilter/Knitter said...

This makes me want to get back to The Outlander series, but I'll probably have to start over to remember who is who.

Bonnie said...

Doesn't Gabaldon have another book in the series coming out soon? I try to listen to hers but sometimes I read them. I'm wondering whether she'll ever let Jamie and Claire die in a book or whether the series will end.