Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)

Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) - Diana Gabaldon Changed rating to 4 stars1st read June 17, 2011Current read: July 24, 2012Latest review - July 2012OK, so I gained an entirely new perspective on this book this read. DoA still is among my least favorite of the series books, mostly because it's so dark - hangings, robberies, rapes, beatings, misunderstanding that lead to selling innocent men to the Mohawk... But somehow, this time, I was able to stop thinking ahead or remembering what I thought the last time I read the book. I was able to approach the book as a new read and appreciate it for its own merits.Which means that I saw my previous objections against Jamie's behavior in this book differently. Yes, he allowed Stephen Bonnet to escape; and yes, many paid for this "mistake", including his own family again and again. But Jamie never expected Bonnet to rob them. I still wonder why Jamie, Duncan, Fergus, and Young Ian didn't set out after Bonnet immediately or put the word out about him soon as they arrived in Cross Creek. I'd have thought Jamie would at least try to get back part of what he lost. I guess he was so rattled by it, and then so absorbed in life at Cross Creek and this new world?I also see that Jamie's reactions to Bree are based on her being his daughter - PROTECTION of what is his. We know that Jamie is fierce where family is concerned. Again, I wonder that with his doubts, Jamie didn't take "Wakefield" up to confront Bree and ask her what she wanted to do with him; but, I suppose that Jamie thought he was protecting her by simply taking care of the problem. Hindsight is 20/20.The relationship between Bree & Jamie was rough, but I "got it" this time. I saw that Jamie's way is to SHOW, not just to tell - esp. with someone like Bree, who he recognizes has that stubborn Fraser streak. I saw this time that his actions in the barn were focused on showing her she couldn't have overpowered her rapist; he goaded her into sufficient anger to give it her all. I mistook the goading for Jamie's doubts - the ones he mentions later.IMO, Bree still carries a heavy weight. She gets angry with Roger about not telling her about the newspaper article, and yet she doesn't tell him about her trip to Jamaica or finding that same article. She *assumes* it's OK for her to time travel and then return home; because she fears he wouldn't agree with her, she hides it from him. But then she comes apart at the seams at him for following her and keeping his motives from her. Very double standard.Also, not telling Claire & Jamie about handfasting with Roger. OK, OK - I see where, after the rape, she wouldn't want to obligate Roger to her without choice; and she'd have learned quickly that Jamie would see it as obligation. (He did. And he held them both to it, despite it all.) But still... even if Bree had mentioned to Lizzy about the handfasting!Roger still gets the majority of my sympathies. And while it's a sacrifice for Young Ian to be adopted into the Mohawk tribe, since he had such a fascination with Emily, he might have done it of his own free will anyway. And I doubt the Mohawk would have changed their "rules" about him not speaking any other language or identifying with his previous heritage just because he choose it without coercion.For all the heartache, there are so many tender scenes in this book:* Jamie & Claire finding Fraser's Ridge, including the bear scenes, but especially the strawberry scene* Lord John and William's arrival - my first read, I wasn't a LJ fan at all. I truly resented his presence in this book at all, and I was angry that he brought Willie, even tho it benefited Jamie. I did lighten up a bit when he helped Bree. This time, I enjoyed him and took him at face value.* Roger & Bree - while I still see why so many dislike Bree, there are so many times when we see their love. IMO, Roger is more in love with Bree in this book, but it might only be because he allows himself to be, where she's still holding back.One complaint is that, while there are "love scenes" between Claire & Jamie, most are simply alluded to - not the usual feeling of "you are there". That seems to be passed on to Roger & Bree. I'm not complaining about the Roger-Bree scenes, I just missed sharing the intimacy of true love scenes with Jamie & Claire.=========Previous Review (3-3.5 stars)===============Voyager, the book just before Drums of Autumn is my 2nd favorite in this series, so admitted DOA (LOL - just realized the acronymn!) has a lot to live up to. And for me, the book just starts off on the wrong tone. A hanging, an escaped prisoner whom Jamie allows to go free, a burial, and then a robbery. And that's just the beginning of the book! Life in the 1760s and 1770s in America is tough, no doubt. But gee, welcome to the land of the free, Jamie & Claire!Roger's and Bree's story doesn't grab me as it's done before. I get irritated with Bree for being so... secretive with Roger. I grew up in a loving 2-parent home, and both my parents are still living, so perhaps it's tougher for me to relate to her confusion about marriage. I can understand her caution with Roger - her wanting to know that his feelings for her aren't about the excitement they went through finding Jamie for Claire and going through the experiences of Gillian Edgars (aka Geillis Duncan) and Claire's return. I can understand her feeling orphaned and alone.But I *don't* understand her not confiding in Roger about her trip to Jamaica and her intent to see Jamie & Claire. She could have saved everyone a LOT of trouble if she'd only been upfront with Roger. And Roger... this poor man. It's almost as if those who would love the Randall women must prove their love by the ultimate trial of betrayal, slavery, beating, and threat of death. Is this supposed to convince us that Roger truly does love Bree? If so, then why his hesitation at the end of the book? Shouldn't he have already decided? Or is it that Roger must decide to stay in the past?Jamie... we see aspects of Jamie's personality that are somewhat shocking and very uncomfortable. First we see him allow Stephen Bonnet, a convicted thief, escape justice: Bonnet is one of three men slated for hanging, along with Garvin Hayes, a man Jamie knew from Ardsmuir prison. There's a bit of a ruckus, and in the fray, Bonnet runs from his captors. Later, when burying Hayes' body, Jamie, Fergus, Duncan, Ian, and Claire discover that Bonnet has stowed away in their wagon. While Jamie believes that Bonnet is likely guilty, he still allows Bonnet to escape - going so far as to get Bonnet through more than one line of lawmen looking for Bonnet.This act comes back to bite Jamie in the butt more than once... and brings horrible consequences to him and his family. Bonnet returns the favor by robbing Jamie & Claire and their party of the jewels that Jamie took from Geillis in the cave at Abandawe. Those jewels were the only security that Jamie & Claire had. In addition, Claire's gold wedding ring from Frank is stolen; one wonders if it had been Jamie's ring, if Jamie would have pursued Bonnet? Because uncharacteristically, Jamie and company do *not* go after Bonnet and his robber friends. Hmmm... Nope, they continue on to Cross Creek to meet Jamie's Aunt Jocasta Cameron, sister to his mother Ellen and his uncles Column and Dougal MacKenzie.Secondly, and probably most horrible to me, Jamie and Ian lay in wait for Roger. Because Roger has decided to go by MacKenzie in this time instead of Wakefield, and because of Bree's indentured servant Lizzy's confusion over what happened between Bree and Roger, Roger is mistaken as the man who raped Bree. In truth, that man is Stephen Bonnet. Except that Bree hasn't told her parents that she and Roger were handfast and so "legally" had sex on their wedding night. And much too late, Bree shares with Claire that she (Bree) saw Claire's wedding ring and so visited Bonnet on his ship - the scene of the rape. In Bonnet's eyes, a transaction. Bree tells Claire this at about the same time that Jamie and Roger are fighting tooth-and-nail. We're supposed to believe that only because Jamie has doubts about whether Bree was truly raped or not does he decide not to kill Roger outright. IMO, it would have been a blessing for Roger to die, but no - DG isn't done with Roger yet, by any means. Nope. Jamie decides to "save" Roger's life by allowing Ian to take him to the Indians and essentially give Roger away as a slave. All without Jamie spending any time talking to Roger, trying to get his side of the story. Nope - all on the word of Lizzy and the little that Jamie knows from Bree.It's easy to see how many readers dislike Bree. If she'd told her parents more about Roger and what happened... Claire knows what Roger looks like, but Jamie and Ian don't. Why didn't Bree draw a picture of him earlier?After all Jamie's been through, to almost kill a man and then sell him without asking questions - without even seeking the truth.... It's tough to swallow. Yes, Jamie is acting on behalf of his family, and we know he's fierce when it comes to them. Yes, he's the father protecting his daughter. But because Jamie has so many doubts, it seems almost out of character for him to take so drastic an action. I would expect him to beat Roger up - disable him - and then take him to Bree to confirm the story. IF this was the man who raped her, then either hang him or take him to the Indians. Why the rush? You see, the doubts that he had, and the fear that perhaps Claire would talk him out of these actions verifies that Jamie knows he's wrong. Which makes it all that much worse when Jamie and Ian discover their mistake. We only believe the mistake can be rectified *because* it's Jamie... we know him to be a man of honor; but somehow, his actions towards Roger seem to be anything but honorable until he seeks to rescue him from a hell that he (Jamie) caused.Thirdly, Jamie's and Bree's relationship. While the scene when Jamie and Bree meet is touching, and the scene where Claire and Bree reunite brings tears, the uneasy relationship between Bree and Jamie is just... strange. It seems logical that the two would have to get to know one another; but there is so much distrust on each side.Especially difficult is when Jamie proves his point to Bree about how she couldn't have fought off Bonnet. Jamie comes off... cruel and unfeeling. But this does give insight to Jamie's own growing up. We see that stubbornness that the Fraser's are known for, and perhaps, get a glimpse of why Jamie received so many whippings in his time from his own Da, Brian.Yes, I can see that the dynamics have changed by introducing Bree in-between Claire and Jamie. Whenever a child comes into parents' lives, that child disrupts the normal flow of that relationship. And with all the tension and mistrust, it's easy to see how Claire is in the middle; one can almost forgive her for staying there for so long.So many pay the price for one act of "mercy" from Jamie to Stephen Bonnet - a mercy that Jamie didn't even consider showing to Roger. Jamie must pay the ultimate price - the damage to his relationship with Bree, the loss of Young Ian who is Jamie's foster-son and who Jamie had to pursue to the West Indies to recover, and even a bought of discomfort with Claire. To some, it was necessary for Roger to be "seasoned". Some readers think he needed to mature a bit... to be more cognizant of how the 18th century really was and not be such an historian. I don't agree. Roger learned a lot on his voyage from Scotland to America, and he showed every sign of being willing and able to learn the harsh lessons of that time without being beaten and given away as a slave. And then, Roger has to endure the thought that the son Bree bears isn't his own. All because Roger was trying to ensure Bree's and his safe return to their own time - by stealing jewels from Stephen Bonnet... the same jewels Bonnet stole from Jamie and Claire.For those reasons, this is one of my least favorite books in the series. There's much to enjoy and love in this book... but Jamie's departure from his character -- or perhaps seeing another side to Jamie's character, Bree's strange behavior, and the cruelties that Roger must bear... these things make the book almost unbearable to me.