I finished listening to Book 4 of the Outlander series. After each one, I need a little break; once I get back to them, I can't stop. I am so thankful to Susan for introducing me to them and encouraging me to listen to something new (not Pride and Prejudice for the 18th time...still love it!)
The best aspect of this series if the changing points of view. The Outlander (Book 1) was engrossing and had the change in time period to keep it spicy. Dragonfly in Amber (Book 2) was interesting because it also switched back and forth between present tense and flashback. Voyager (Book 3) finally shows some times when only Jamie is present and Claire is elsewhere, so a new point of view is introduced here. Drums of Autumn (Book 4) alternates between the slowly converging stories of Roger, Brianna, and Claire. This story was so satisfying to me until the last 1/8 of the book when the dramatic irony/ one character's determination not to accept happiness almost overwhelmed me.
This book was very exciting for me because both Susan and I saw a prediction come true. She had predicted that we had not read the last of Black Jack Randall. I had predicted (back in Dragonfly) that Jamie's tombstone had been placed near Black Jack as a clue for Claire and not as a grave-marker. BTW: Susan predicts that their deaths in the house-fire that will be reported in the paper are a rouse to fool someone in order to make a fresh start in life (compare to fire at Jamie's print shop in Dragonfly).
When I bought the actual books for Susan and myself last year, I also bought The Outlandish Companion. I am still working my way through it. It only covers material from the first four books. If you buy it, I suggest not purchasing it until after you have read the first four. No, possessing it but not reading it is not an option. If it is in your house, you will open it and figure out some things before it is time. I mean it! I tried not to read, but even reading the glossary of names gives away some information. I was glad, however, to have this at the end of the four books. It cleared up what happened to Nayawenne; I somehow failed to make all of the right connections.
One of my goals this year is to teach students to find an interest in a book and go from there. Susan and I have learned so much from our reading in the Outlander series. We have further studied Bonnie Prince Charlie, Scottish dress and weaponry, the Moraveans, and Scottish travel. In fact, I have the Scotland DK Travel Guide next to me right now and the DK Eyewitness Scotland book on order from the NPL. Intellectual stagnancy is a drag and knowledge rocks!