Then I thought, you know what’s better than jumping on a bandwagon? LIVE-WHATEVERING SAID BANDWAGON JOINING. It used to be my entire shtick on Twitter, after all.
So grab a kilt, some whiskey, and your clan’s colors. We’re doing a read-along in this bitch, y’all!
“Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.
That is ominous. And I’m immediately sold.
We open with Part One, which takes place in Iverness in 1945. Had Rachel not been the one behind this, I would have already been shoving this at her. “1945. STEVE ROGERS. There’s probably bomber jackets, white t-shirts, and Aviators. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. I REPEAT: THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Page 1: Oh, Claire! This is a name I know! Hi, Claire! I know from my Twitter learnings you’re gonna meet a guy named Jamie at some point in the future of this book and I’m probably gonna ship you two the hardest.
Also, her describing her hair, curly and unmanageable, is me describing my hair. From one fairy-locked sister to another, I feel you, girlfriend.
Page 2: So we find out that Claire was a war nurse. A World War II war nurse. That’s badass. I’m gonna like you, Claire. I can feel it in my bones.
Claire is married to a dude named Frank, and they are currently staying in Scotland for their second honeymoon at what I’m guessing is the equivalent of a B&B? With a very nosey old lady owner named Mrs. Baird. Maybe because I know somehow Claire and Jamie are gonna end up together, I find myself already side-eyeing Frank, “KILL THE SPARE” style.
Page 3: “You’ll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans,” I answered. “Two minutes doesn’t deserve any more than a giggle.” So says Claire about Frank’s bed squeaking in order to scandalize Mrs. Baird. I’ve made the decision to like Claire. Because: preach it, sister. 40’s are not, a girl shouldn’t be expected to put up with such nonsense. Even when you’re only pretending for the sake of a voyeuristic B&B owner.
Page 9: So far Claire and Frank are like really chill roommates with each other rather than OMGSOINLUV husband and wife. I know this is probably because of the time they spent apart due to the war, but I’m assuming it’s also happening so we’re cool shipping the fuck out of Smoking Hot Jamie and Claire later.
Or I might be biased because I know I’m gonna ship the fuck out of Smoking Hot Jamie and Claire later. Either or.
Page 10: “There’s no place on earth with more old superstitions and magic mixed into its daily life than the Scottish Highlands.” BRB. BUMPING SCOTLAND UP ON MY VACATION BUCKETLIST.
A bucket list I’ll probably never complete, mind you. The whole “having kids = no real disposable income” thing is a real bummer, I’ll tell you what.
Page 12: The Scottish apparently put bodies under their houses’s foundations. For luck. Or something. Maybe just as an excuse to kill a man and shove his body under a house. Either way, hot damn. I should have been born in Scotland. “I didn’t want to kill him, officer. I just needed a body under my house.” “In that case, carry on, ma’am.” “THANKS, SCOTLAND!”
Page 16: Really. I think I want to be friends with Claire. This is my thing. Book besties. You know how everyone picks out book boyfriends? I pick out book besties. I have a whole crew of book besties and we’re the biggest, best wolf pack ever.
Page 20: ~FORESHADOWING~ in the form of Frank coming home a bit drunk and seeing a Highland Warrior ghost man staring up at Claire’s window. Is that Hot Jamie then? As a ghostie? Doesn’t matter. Shipping it.
Page 22: Frank is basically like, “Claire, I know we just had boring missionary sex in order to get you pregnant again, because we’re really stuck on this idea of a baby, and now we’re in that sweet post-coital daze, so it seems like a really good time to talk about whether or not you possibly boned a highland ghost while we were separated. WHICH I TOTALLY WOULD UNDERSTAND. But seriously. Did you fuck around on me?”
You know that sex was missionary, for the record. You know. Frank has all the personality of a wet blanket.
Page 24: “As I had said, there was no evidence whatsoever to imply unfaithfulness on my part. My part.” Oooooh. Are we gonna find out Frank is a cheating cheater who cheats? Which means it’s totes cool for Claire to bone Hot Jamie?
Page 26: Claire is into botany, which means this old man the innkeeper introduced her to is taking her to see flowers and she sees a henge. A Droid henge? I need to wiki henges. My knowledge of such things is shamefully lacking here. Anyway, I sense this henge is gonna be important at some point in the future. Or Rachel may have told me this. I’m pretty sure it was the latter. Whatever. This henge is gonna be important.
(Also why did I always think it was “hedge”? As in “Stonehedge.” Even spellcheck is like, “Stonehenge, you uncultured swine.”)
Page 29: Reverend Wakefield adopted his nephew, Roger, and refers to him as his son, even giving him his name. This man is a saint. I also don’t know if this is gonna be important in the future but it’s worth noting that he’s a saint.
I’ve gone ahead and made the decision to be generally indifferent about Frank. Frank, I know you’re really into this idea of your ancestor Black Jack Randall or whatever but you’re boring me to tears. Also I bet your hands are really soft and creepy.
Page 31: Reverand Wakefield’s housekeeper reads tea leaves. Man, I need a tea leaf reading housekeeper.
Page 34: ~moar foreshadowing~ IN MYSTICAL FORM as Mrs. Graham reads Claire’s palm and says she’s gonna have two husbands. MRS. GRAHAM, I THINK I KNOW WHO THE SECOND ONE IS.
“To be polite about it, I’ll make a bit of a prediction for you, and say your husband isna like to stray far from your bed.” I don’t know, Mrs. Graham, we had some questions about that last chapter.
(Also, bless. Mrs. Graham is a bit of a freak. Can I hire her? I want to hire her.)
Page 38: So Claire, thus far unable to have a child, brings up adoption. War orphans, specifically. And Frank is straight up like, “I’m selfish and I don’t want a kid that’s not mine because I’ll be jealous of it and not like it probably.” Wow, Frank. You’re a jerk. If I wasn’t already indifferent about you, I would be now.
Page 43: Claire stumbling around a hill half-asleep after Frank is me every morning doing anything.
Page 45: Frank, I’m very firmly indifferent about you. Even if I share your excitement over this druid ritual. Stop liking the things I like because you’re dumb. I’ve made this decision to believe you’re dumb.
Claire is going back up to the henge, still not hedge, to look for a plant she saw. I’m not surprised that Frank isn’t going with her because he only cares about his own interests.
Page 50: SHE TOUCHED A STONE AND IS GOING BACK IN TIME I KNEW IT. (Does it say it in the blurb? I’m gonna be pissed if it said this much in the blurb. Or did Rachel tell me? Shit. Whatever. I knew it.)
SO NOW WE’VE TIME TRAVELED. I BET THAT MEANS WE’RE GONNA MEET JAMIE SOON.
Page 51: So Claire comes stumbling out in the middle of a battle and her first reaction, despite going through a medical checklist of Something Fucked Up Definitely Just Happened is “Oh! Okay! They’re making a film!” Totally, Claire. Definitely a film. Let’s just ignore all that shit that happened at the end of the last chapter. They’re filming Braveheart right now for sure.
Page 52: A red coat has stumbled upon Claire. This is gonna be that Randall bloke, isn’t it? I’m sensing this is Randall.
Page 54: Called it. It’s Randall.
Page 55: Oh this dude is an ass. And a rapist. Frank, even stronger indifference based on your ancestral hero over here. Bordering out outright dislike.
Page 57: OH, HEY. BOYS DROPPING FROM TREES AND FISTS FLYING FROM SHADOWS? is this Jamie then?
“No beauty, either.” Not Jamie. 😦 Twitter told me he’d be hot.
(Also, there are so many pages left and we’ve already time traveled. This is gonna be SO MUCH FUN I CAN FEEL IT.)
Page 59: Not-Jamie saved Claire and has kidnapped her and taken her to a super secret Scottish Man lair, lead by this bloke Dougal. Jamie is here somewhere, isn’t he?!? We’re about to meet Jamie. JAMIE. I CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU.
Page 60: “I don’t hold wi’ rape, and we’ve not the time for it, any way,” says Dougal. That’s a…soft stance on rape. Yet, you know, I’ll take it for now. I’m oddly reassured.
Page 61: JAMIE.
(Also he’s hurt? I bet Claire is gonna come over all bad ass nurse. And then they’ll fall in love and have babies that Frank won’t adopt.)
Page 63: I was right. ONE FOR THREE.
Page 65: Bless her. Claire still hasn’t figured out we’ve unconcussed ourselves to the past. She’s talking all this modern medical stuff and these Highland boys are like, “Say what now?”
Page 67: We’re leaving, despite the fact Jamie is very seriously injured. Dougal is also dropping some heavy threats on Claire, throat-cutting and what have you, should she try to escape. Am I gonna hate Dougal later?
Page 68: Jamie is already undressing. While on horseback. That’s what a girl likes to see.
Page 69: The signs are there, that we have indeed time-traveled, and yet Claire’s all, “man. Idevenk.”
Page 72: This chapter could be renamed: “Everyone grabs Claire.” “Claire gets manhandled. Often.” “Fuck, Claire. Punch a dude.”
Page 78: Claire’s bedside manner leaves much to be desired. She won’t even let Jamie have booze.
The moral of this chapter is Scottish women are badasses, Randall’s the worst, and if Claire was a horse, Jamie could ride her.
WE’RE AT A CASTLE. THIS IS GREAT. I LOVE CASTLES.
Man. Mrs. Fitz, the head lady here, maybe? I don’t know, is an OG. She is not even ruffled by the fact this strange girl has shown up, wearing crazy weird clothes, and seems to know a bit of medical witchcraft.
Page 94: CLAN MACKENZIE. That’s whose castle we’re in. Claire. REMEMBER ROGER? I know you’re a little overwhelmed girlfriend, but keep up.
Page 96: Oh. So the laird, Colum, is Dougal’s brother! And maybe nicer than Dougal? I still don’t know if I’m gonna like Dougal. Am I supposed to, I wonder?
It’s also worth noting that Colum has a pretty severe disability, his legs are withered? Basically? Kinda? And yet he still gets to lead the clan. I’m not gonna pretend to be super knowledgeable about how that works, but I was always under the impression clan leaders were, like, super buff war lords. I like that Colum is the leader despite the fact he probably isn’t suited for battle.
Page 97: Claire gives us a handy guide on how to lie properly, since she obviously can’t tell Colum where she came from for real. Honestly. More books need these kinda real life lessons.
Page 98: Claire peeks at some books when Colum leaves the room for a minute and notes the year for the volume is 1720-1742. Now she’s like, “Aw, shit. We’re not in Kansas anymore.” I like that it’s a paper that confirms it for Claire. Say what you will about this girl, but she’s not gonna go round just believing crazy shit all willy nilly. No. She’s gonna need solid proof. Like a book.
Page 99: So Colum is gonna let Claire stay in the castle (yay!) “Until I find out who you really are.” Colum is a quiet badass, isn’t he? This is probably why he’s laird then? His brother is all show-y badassery, and here comes Colum not even voicing his threats and yet they speak loud and clear. I tentatively like Colum.
Tune in next time, where we go to a trial, hang out in a castle, follow Jamie around some more and I still try to figure out if I like Dougal.