This week we read Chapters 14 to 21. The Questions were provided by Tangled Up Blue
If you visit Into the Hall of Books, you will find the questions for next week and a list of links to this week’s answers.
1) We FINALLY get to the scene we've all been waiting for. You know what I'm talking about--yay sexytimes! What were your impressions? Was it what you were expecting? Or did you want more?
I was slightly surprised that there was so little description for any of the encounters we have seen so far, which was almost anticlimactic. I appreciated the slow build up as it seemed very natural, but then we went very quickly from chatting to the discreet break while they did IT. I definitely expected more description of the foreplay, if not the sex itself.
I am very impressed by Jamie’s stamina and I am not certain how Claire is managing to sit on her horse, but the constant sex seems a bit odd, considering their circumstances. It made sense whilst they were still at the inn, but after a long day travelling I was surprised that she did not just tell him to take a cool dip! I was also disappointed that Jamie turned out to be an amazing lover at first attempt: it would have been much more realistic if he had been more hesitant and less skillful. It would also have allowed a little more character development if she had needed to give him more direction about to please her. I guess his previous experience might have been almost full sex, but not all women react in the same way, so I would have liked him to be humbled a little.
As a point of interest the Scots word ‘oxter’ means ‘armpit’, just in case you were wondering what exactly Jamie was rubbing all over his horses’ faces!
2) I know that some readers thus far have been bothered by the fact of Claire being married to Frank but still being involved with Jamie, despite the different time periods. Does their time as newlyweds change anyone's opinion of that? If not, now what are you thinking of the situation?
Nope: I still think Claire is being unfaithful, and I was disappointed to read her account of ‘infatuations’ during the war. It is one thing to be attracted to someone and quite another to act upon that feeling. Knowing that she allowed her feelings to move her part way towards adultery during the war made it much easier for me to believe how easily she accepted Jamie into her bed. They could have easily faked consummation if she had resisted the idea, but she was quite willing.
If she had accepted her place in the past as a permanent then it would be easier to accept her actions, but she is still actively trying to return to Frank. This makes her adultery unacceptable in my eyes.
3) What did you think about the "waterhorse" that Claire saw? Why do you think Peter was so spooked? And what do you think this means for Claire?
The myth of the Loch Ness Monster is very ancient, so I was not really surprised to see it mentioned, although I thought that making it a real creature went a little far. The suggestion seems to be that Claire identifies it as a plesiosaur, which has been one of the more popular ‘identifications’ offered for Nessie.
I can understand why Peter would be shocked to see this beast in the water, as it is not supposed to exist except as a story to keep children away from the dangers of the loch. He seemed to think that Claire was speaking to it or had summoned it, which seems like a totally absurd idea to me, but suggests that he mistrusts her and believes her capable of anything. This places her in a dangerous situation.
4) If you were Claire and you were knowingly in the vicinity of the stones, would you have done the same thing she did?
Certainly, though I do not think that I would have tried to travel down the river in my skirts. It was only a matter of time before she fell in and I was surprised that she didn’t break her ankle or knock herself out and then drown.
5) What do you think about Captain Randall? How do you think the family resemblance between him and Frank affects Claire and particularly her relationship with Jamie?
I find him somewhat two-dimensional. He is a cardboard cutout villain with no particular reason to behave as he does. I am hoping that we see a little character development for him, or some explanation for why he behaves as he does.
His great similarity to Frank is a problem for Claire as it reminds her that she is being unfaithful, which seems to make her uneasy. As it should!