After the wonderful "Pirates of the Caribbean" plot that encompassed book #3 (see my review of that book here, and a staff roundtable review of books #1-2 here), Jaime and Claire are firmly settled in the New World, and so this book was filled with exciting stories of colonizing the American South in the mid-1700s.
I absolutely loved the framework of exploring and pioneering, especially setting up a homestead from scratch with almost nothing but bare hands and force of will. I really loved the slow, day-to-day scenes in the book, the small bits about putting up food and building structures. This is a period of time that has always fascinated me since my childhood obsession with the Little House books, and I was glad to have reminders of that in this (much more adult) series. One of the things I like best about historical fiction is the insight it gives readers into how people lived in a particular place and time, not just the big events that everyone learns about in school.
And, without giving too much away, there was quite a lot that happened in the book that surprised me, especially the storyline with Bree and Roger, and the plot with Ian. His story especially was part of the reason I could not put the book down in the second half - I just had to know what was going to happen with him!
One of my only complaints is how much Fergus has been pushed to the sidelines now that he's set up with his own family. I really like him -- indeed, he was perhaps my favorite character in books #2-3 -- and hope he becomes a more central character in the future (though not, I suppose, if that must come at the expense of his family!)
“Forgiveness is not a single act, but a matter of constant practice”Keep reading! Beth