Review: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon

Four long years is how long I’ve been waiting for the latest Outlander installment, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (MOHB).

The last book (AEITB), left some MAJOR cliff hangers and I was actually pretty upset about the way AEITB ended for at least a week after finishing it.

MOHB picks up right where AEITB ended, literally. I am not going to get too much into the back-story or other books as I am assuming if you are reading this review, you have already read the series up until this point.

I will admit, I should have re-read AEITB before I started this one. I was literally so lost for the first part of the novel.

I couldn’t remember exactly where things were in AEITB, only the major things, and this book just starts right back up where things ended, up to the minute.

So, that said, I should have re-read the last novel. It’s been four years so of course I have forgotten a lot of plot details along the way. I actually felt like I had forgotten a lot of the entire series, so much so that I feel like I need to go back and re-read the entire series cover to cover.

We find Claire reunited with the not so dead Jamie, but there is a bit of a problem….she has married Lord John in the wake of Jamie’s death. Lord John saves Claire from imminent arrest by marrying her. But When Jamie returns from the dead, he gives Lord John quite the shock.

And it doesn’t help matters much that Lord John has had carnal knowledge of Claire. Lord John’s son, William, also get the shock of a lifetime when Jamie returns. The man he has known as Mac, is actually his father.

The whole lot of the Fraser/Grey family is in quite the state of upheaval. But there isn’t time to sort things out. Claire and Lord John are living in the loyalist town of Philadelphia but the rebels are threatening to overthrow the British and take the city back. The British military is on the move taking all loyalists with them which means, Claire is expected to follow.

In all the confusion, Jamie and Lord John find themselves in the middle of nowhere when the rebel militia find them and demand answers. While Claire happens to tend to Lord John’s brother, Hal’s, serious asthma attack when she runs into him while the British military is fleeing.

Meanwhile in the ‘modern’ era, Brianna and Roger are dealing with a kidnapping. Jem was supposedly taken back to the past by Rob Cameron. In an effort to find Jem and bring him back, Roger and Buck travel through the stones only to find themselves in the wrong time!

This novel is difficult for me to review. So far, I liked this one the least in the series. Many people have said how much they loved this one, like as much as the first one, but for me….I just couldn’t get into it like I did some of the others.

I think what bothered me the most was the lack of Brianna and Roger story time. There was only one part and a few tidbits, but not nearly enough in my opinion. The last book left a lot of Roger/Brianna cliff hangers and I just felt like nothing really happened in their story….or not enough happened.

Roger is one of my fav characters so I was expecting more I guess. Rodger and Brianna’s story line was the most compelling by far. Theirs was the only plot line that moved forward for me.

As for Claire and Jamie’s story….their story was satisfying but the progress of their story wasn’t overly compelling for me. Their relationship remains forever strong and they are clearly committed to each other but in general, their story just didn’t move forward enough.

I was also hoping that after AEITB we were about done with the Revolution. Most of this book is based in military camps and there is a ton of discussion on warfare and military strategy not to mention military camp life.

I am not as up on my American History as I probably should be, but from a historic perspective this novel made me feel all the more inadequate. There was so much history about the American Revolution that I was kinda lost in a history haze.

There were many times that I was like, what is going on? Who are the loyalists again and why is that battle important? Is it important? Where are they at now? How long has the war been going on? Who’s Benedict Arnold again and what did he do?

So basically I was lost in the history fog a lot and found myself researching the war more than reading the story and after awhile I was so tried of reading about the war in all it’s glorious details that I was just like OK are we about done with the Revolution here or what?? I found myself skimming a lot, especially toward the end. Mind numbing….the historic detail bogged down the story too much for me and I can honestly say that I would struggled reading this novel again.

Personally I am kind of ready for things to start wrapping up with the war and such. There are so many characters that have come and gone in this story and so many historic battles and events that have come and gone and I’m just kinda ready for things to wrap up.

I want to know more about the time travel and how it works and how some of these secondary characters fit into the lives of the main characters, for instance the new Captain Randall. I don’t know I guess there is a lot going on and I am ready for things to start culminating a little bit.

For me, so much of this novel seemed like filler story rather than advancing the overall story/plot. I felt like a lot of AEITB was filler and that this would be more advancement in the story, but it just seemed like a lot happened but we got no where fast if that makes sense.

This book also lacked a lot of the philosophical musing that I found so wonderful in many of the other novels. I loved DOA, FC, and ABOSAA for that reason…as well as many of the other books, but for me this one just didn’t have that same vibe to it.

All that said, I still thought the story as a was good and the series as a whole, is AMAZING….but I guess I was expecting more from this novel. Maybe that’s what comes from the four years anticipation.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Book: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander#8) by Diana Gabaldon

  • Kindle Edition, 848 pages
  • Published June 10th 2014 by Delacorte Press (first published June 5th 2014)
  • ASIN B00C8S9W0G
  • Review copy provided by: Personal collection

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3 out of 5

Genre: Historic Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Historic-Romance

Memorable lines/quotes: 

 In the light of eternity, time casts no shadow.

Always act as if you know what you are doing, even if you don’t.

Advice? You’re too old to be given it and too young to take it.

I wondered whether people who are unhappily married think of their own nuptials when they witness a wedding; I thought that those who are happy always do.

Even when the world ends, things bloody go on happening. You just don’t know what to do about them.

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence.

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  1. I bought this the second I laid eyes on a copy, but won’t read it until I do a re-read of the series — that takes some major time commitment, so I don’t know how soon it will happen, but I figure I have plenty of time before the next one comes out :) It’s been far too long since I read the earlier books (and to be honest, I have not read AEITB at all yet) that I think I would just be floundering about if I tried to just pick up with #7 & #8 after eight year break — if my memory doesn’t fail me, I last read the earlier books my senior year of college!

  2. Hi, just stumbled on your blog while searching to see if any other readers felt the way I did about the plot… I’m having a hard time caring about this one too. It feels like filler to me as well. Kind of a let down after all the anticipation.

    • Absolutely! I wanted so much more to happen. It seems like a lot of pages with really nothing happening. I wanted to love it, I mean I’ve been waiting 4 years for it…..but I just couldn’t. I want more progress :)

  3. Thank you! After reading so many positive reviews I was beginning to think that I was the only one who found this book tedious, frustrating, and not leading anywhere. I felt like she’d pick up one story line then drop it to move on to something else. I KNOW my American history and even though I felt a little thrill when she met Benedict Arnold and other historical figures, I really started getting tired of the Revolutionary War. It’s like we got stuck there. I have about 50 pages left to read and I’m hoping we get to know a little of what is going on with Roger and Brianna. That said, I love the series.

  4. I have to agree with some of the comments from above. MOHB (My Own Hearts Blood) is a trifle flat after all the other novels. It lacks much in the way of emotion and story. It has too much “I am a Bastard,”by William and DG does nothing to resolve it. OK a few times, but consistently over and over is really boring. I had just re read the entire series from book 1 thru the new one,(book 8) twice, over the summer and book 8 is very disappointing. Also the series on TV is so bad and disappointing!
    I just do not understand how DG and the director, how could they say that they have stuck to the story line, which is so NOT TRUE!
    There was a TV series made out of a book called “The Worlds End”by Ken Follett. The first series was really bad and then it was picked up again and done by someone else who did an amazing job with it.
    So I am hoping that after this first try with these novels in a TV series is done, some other really great director will make a better series!
    The thing that really bothers me is that Claire is supposed to have golden like Hawk eyes and she has blue eyes. And all the Gaelic that is being spoken is so dense you cannot even understand it and there are NO subtitles at all!
    So I go thru each episode wondering whether anyone really knows what is happening. All they had to do was to watch “Braveheart”or one of the other great movies that had Scottish men in it and take their cue from that. But no one seems to have done that and the story on TV is just so out of sinc with the book.
    Perhaps I am the only one that thinks so. All I can say is I hope that book #9 has better dialogue then book #8! And I am praying that another TV series is done by another director because this one is so bad. Jamie is supposed to be 18 and Claire is supposed to 27,(which they are not in the TV series) and not only can I NOT understand them but everything is so NOT like the book. Dougal and Column are both supposed to be good looking, tall and with black hair and Dougal is BALD on TV, and Column has a BAD black wig and a totally white beard!
    And then there is Frank/Jonathan Randall, I mean really, they could not get someone better for that role? And again this character is supposed to also be tall and really good looking! If anyone thinks that Tobias Menzies is good looking then I am Queen Elizabeth! I am just so disappointed:>{
    But thank you for this blog as this was the only place that I have been able to have written anything that allows both sides to be viewed. So thank you for that:>}

  5. mercy

     /  August 26, 2014

    I loved your comments and there was too much history, this book has carried on for too long and it just gets to the part where you just get tired of reading and you just want the endI lost interest by the fourth book

  6. Donald Breech, MD

     /  August 31, 2014

    As above…but no one has brought up the ending where suddenly Brianna come walking up the road with no explanation at all about the time line differential. I seemed to me like DG just got tired of writing and said, “Let’s just get them all back together no matter the lack of explanation or probability.” It seems she was bored with the series or just ran out of ideas and threw a lot of history together. And I, too, am sick of the whole “I’m a bastard” act from William. Resolve that and move the heck on. Overall though, this is the best written series of books I have ever read. And at 66 years of age, I have read a lot. No one has ever developed characters like Ms. Gabaldon. Truly one of the great writers of all time. And I like the TV series. They can never do justice to the books, but the episodes are entertaining. I agree that the casting for Frank is less than optimal, but if he had been handsome and dashing then Jamie’s character would have suffered by comparison. I hope there is another book that is going to put more sense into how Rodger and Bree just show up out of the blue. As I have said, still the best series of all time, even eclipsing Tolkien.

  7. I read the first books a couple of years ago so not all of the details are still fresh in my mind but , please, someone correct me if I am wrong; isn’t Claire supposed to be quite a bit shorter than Jamie? The actress in the series is almost as tall as Jamie! That is not how I pictured Claire.

  8. Lara Hooper

     /  September 11, 2014

    I just finished the book… What a big read, i to was completely lost at the start forgetting so much!!! I’m not from America so i have no knowledge of American history and found i got lost in all the History, but i didn’t really think it was any more or less than the other books they have all had a LOT of history in them. For 814 pages i thought she could of explained how Brianna and Roger got to the Ridge or at least bought them in to the story line sooner than the last 2 paragraphs. I kept waiting for them to show up for half the book, why didn’t they? i would have loved reading about the reunion and more.
    I’m watching the series to and i’m loving it, although it does seem to be moving really slow. This said if it moved faster we’d be complaining that they missed everything. It seems the last episode no 8 is the wedding, why only 8 its not by far. Please if the directors are reading this please give us more episodes in season 2, 8 is NOT enough…

  9. Amanda

     /  September 15, 2014

    There will be 16 episodes in the first season. Season two is supposed to be book two and so on and so forth, if that is, there is a so on and so forth for the tv series.

    • I heard that too Amanda but then last weeks episode said only 2 episodes left so that would leave the wedding and one more….that doesn’t seem like nearly enough time to wrap up book I. Perhaps I am wrong but I feel like there is a lot more left to cover in book I this season.

      • The 2 episodes left means 2 left in the first half of season one — they decided on a split season — so 8 episodes now + 8 more in the spring is the entirety of the first season/book. I’m not thrilled about the wait, but I think they are doing a very good job in staying close to the book, so yes there are a lot more episodes to finish up this first season!

      • Well at least we don’t have to wait a whole year in between ‘seasons’ like we do for Game of Thrones! I can’t wait to see how the wedding comes together. I love that they are staying very close to the books. Book I was the best for me so far. I absolutely love it, it’s a classic :). When the season is over I am going to post a review on it….I was going to do episode by episode but decided that would be rather daunting so I think I’ll wait till the end of season I :).

  10. Donald Breech, MD

     /  September 15, 2014

    I’m liking the series a lot. Nothing can ever replace the way Ms. Gabaldon delves into the lives and minds of the characters, but they are doing a good job. And the actor who plays Dougal does a masterful job. I have never seen anyone sit a horse so regally and by that simple act command respect. While he may not embody the Dougal described in the book, he is a great character in this series and steals the show a lot of the time. He’s rapidly becoming my favorite character. Claire is well played also, exhibiting the no nonsense army nurse attitude perfectly and stopping some of the male chauvinists of that time in their tracks. Of course, then there’s Black Jack….indeed a dastardly bastard is he not? I hate that they are breaking up the installments….Oh well…something to look forward to, I guess. DB

    • I too am really bothered by the fact that they are breaking up the installments! I was looking forward to ten entire first season being longer.

  11. Debra Johnson

     /  September 24, 2014

    I just finished “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood” and thought I must have missed something because of Roger and Bree coming up the hill and the book just ended. I’m so unimpressed with so many parts of the book, but feel like so many of you it was just a filler book.
    I thought I would check out the Web to see if anyone felt like I do. I’m so happy I came across this blog.
    I totally agree with everyone’s comments. I too kept waiting for the storyline to get “anywhere”. The most heart wrenching moment for me was the death of Henri-Christian. I sat straight up in my chair while reading this part of the book. I do hope the next book will happen sooner than later and gives us the action, romance, intrigue, and high quality writing DB iss known for.
    Another thought I have is: Finishing the book and starting the television series just got in the way of each other.
    I absolutely loved the first seven books and I have enjoyed the series thus far (although there are notable differences in the two). I understand the difficulty in finding actors who look like characters from a POPULAR series of books. Someone mentioned Claire’s eye color, I noticed the physical differences right away and she is too tall. Jaime is supposed to be around 6′ 5″, in my mind he is more muscular, and has great presence, but haven’t seen that in the television Jaime. One can only hope that the writing, directing, and vision improve as the series matures.

  12. Denise

     /  October 9, 2014

    I agree with your review!!! But I’m a little more put out with the author than you. I don’t think Diane is a very effective writer. She herself admitted to using historical events to “fill-in” when she had run out of ideas. Well, I think enough is enough! Her books drag on with way too much historic retorhic and she does not effectively develop the lives of her characters anymore in the later books. Her story premise started out good but I was very disappointed with the 20 years of lost time that she allowed to pass by with Claire and Jamie being separated. Her series are very ungratifying for me, constantly leaving me wanting more, which for me, is the only draw for reading one book after the next, only to be disappointed by each book. I did a lot skimming through all of the books, Just to get past all that redundant history, wanting so desparetly to get to the main story of the characters. Her books read like hum-drum soap operas for long stretches and I get easily disinterested by the mundane events. I’m so tired and fed up with her lack of strong solid plots and her over indulgence of historical information, which if left out would reduce her series to one or two books that could have been a more fun and interesting read.
    Diane, get out of the book stores and go back to your labs. Sorry but I’m done with you.

  13. Toni Norton

     /  October 17, 2014

    I also felt as if I was the only Outlander Series fan that felt MOHB fell way short of the other novels in the series. I was SO disappointed that we didn’t hear more about Brianna, Roger and their little family. I’m hoping that Diana will go back and explain how they managed to resolve the time continuum problem.

    Personally, I believe the T.V. series got in the way of her writing time. I understand she was very involved in the development of the series. I believe she was so excited and stimulated by the T.V. project that she didn’t have enough creative energy to devote to MOHB.

    My husband and I were both disappointed in the actors in the series initially. He wrung his hands over Claire’s hair, I was heart-broken by Jamie’s lack of height and heft. :) But, we’re both over it. We’re both engrossed in the series and upset that we have to weight until April 2015 for the rest of season one. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!

  14. Nancy

     /  October 20, 2014

    I am only half way through MOHB and just haven’t been able to get into this book. All the prior books I read and loved. Maybe it is time to say goodbye. :-((

  15. Sandra

     /  October 22, 2014

    I finally had an epiphany about this book. It is not a separate book, but a continuation of Echo in the Bone. It’s not that it doesn’t have a plot, but the plot is part of the last book. There are so many problems with it if you look at it as a separate book that are resolved when you combine the two together.
    However, aside from that there are serious problems. My first major complaint was that this book starts with Ian mourning his mother and uncle, whom we already know are alive. That is a very strange way to start a book, especially when we don’t get to see that issue resolved. He has google eyes when he sees Jamie, and that’s it. Rachel tells him about it off camera. No more resolution. I know Diana writes in episodes, but in this book she doesn’t resolve so many things. The big one, of course, is Henri-Christian. He wasn’t really in this book, we fell in love with him previously. Then he dies. People mourn, but there is no real understanding of him as a person, or exploration of their grief. The only action at the funeral involves some guy flirting with Marsali, which is then dropped. I suspect that Germaine will have huge issues in the next book about the death, and his parents then abandoning him (in his eyes) to live with Jamie and Claire. But there was no hint of that here.

    I agree that Diana was probably distracted by the movie, and felt the need to get this one done, so put enough into the end of this book. I am assuming the next and last book will settle many of these things. Although she does say that she trusts her readers to figure some things out. I think this is the weakest of the series. I am a huge fan, and look forward to the last book bringing things around to the end. Of course, then she plans a book about Jamie’s parents, and one about Raymond. So who knows.

  16. Millie

     /  December 1, 2014

    I am on the fifth book Fiery Cross and would like to know if the location will move to back to Scotland, England, France or some where besides the American backwoods during this time period. I really do not want to watch the sexy actor on the Outlander series wearing his beautiful kilt–living like a hillbilly (seriously). Can we please get away from the Jethro thing…not sexy…very disturbing. The adventures are not prevalent in FC and I am growing tired of Frasier Ridge and the war…grew up in a secluded area and it is nothing to write about (for me) and definitely not exciting (quite the opposite). I guess I must read the first three books again and skip to the last book only if all 18th century characters are in Europe, the West Indies, or Arabia. However, it was nice reading about Claire in the 20th century Boston….I just want to stay away from the era in the backwoods.


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