Outlander Ep. 108 ‘Both Sides Now’

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Read at your own peril. My thoughts will be sprinkled with SPOILERS!
Even after some eight or so times of watching this episode, my thoughts about it are still percolating. They managed to cram a lot of action in this one, but my first viewing left me a mess after the “stones” scene which just took my breath away and I broke down and cried. The acting by Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe continues to be brilliant.

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They both bring so much to their respective roles that I honestly have been gob smacked from week to week. I realize that a lot of things go into making this show, but if these two people lacked talent, nothing and no one could bring these characters out. Good for us they are loaded with talent and once they put on those costumes on, they are Frank/Black Jack and Claire.

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And here we are at the mid-season finale, episode 108 and aptly titled ‘Both Sides Now’ because for the first time we get to see ‘the other’ side, Frank’s side and it was heartbreaking watching Frank go through his grieving process.

108 frankFirst, this was an episode that was told simultaneously from Frank’s and Claire’s point of view, and it’s a huge departure from the books, but it worked for both audiences, book and non-book readers. Speaking as a book reader, it helped me to understand this man much better. It humanized Frank and brought me closer to him.

I said it before and let me reiterate, Ron D. Moore’s a genius and no doubt about it. I’m 108 renjoying the show and leaving books behind while the show is on. He has a vision and he’s running with it and we can join and enjoy the ride or get off his train. Our choice and I must say, I’m joining the crowed that’s hitching a ride on that train.

That’s not to say that I’m on board with every choice he’s made about the adaptation, and I do think there was some missed opportunity in adding more dimension to Jamie Fraser’s character. I’ll try to explain this a little bit further down, but now let me say that this episode was a mixed bag for me. I predominantly liked it, but wasn’t enamored with it as with the previous seven.

108dSome things just didn’t work for me, while others did.

I have to stop here and tell you that even though I’m watching the show without comparing it to the books [and it is not easy, but I’ve managed it so far!], I noticed that my opinion/observation of this episode in particular, comes more from a perspective of a “reader” than a “viewer”. I’ve noticed the difference only after I had a discussion with my awesome DH who’s been 108nwatching the show with me [never read the books]. I was surprised with his take on this episode and it was fascinating to hear him talk about the parts he loved and actually appreciated.

He thought that all that Frank stuff was necessary and very poignant, going so far to tell me the date that Frank went up to that hill [12/21/1945; Frank was listening to the news on his car radio] and he was the 108pone to point Claire’s shawl to me which was all lost on me because I was a mess at that point. So, I guess we all bring to the table our own interpretation and none is right or wrong, but just our own.

In our discussion of the issue I had, he totally shot me down! He completely disagreed with me and that’s when I realized that my POV was still being influenced by the “reader” and not the “viewer”.2014-09-27 22.55.53

Anyways, let me tell you the things I loved right off the bat.
I was very happy to have another point of view and watching Frank’s timeline was exhilarating, jarring and depressing, but boy was it welcome!
Wee Roger was curtness itself and I’m sure that we’ll see him some more before the season ends.

108lClaire’s bonding not just with Jamie but with all the Highlanders.

I was impressed by the filming of the ‘near rape’ from Claire’s perspective, giving us a ‘dream like’ view and speed. 2014-09-28 00.44.02And as I said earlier, the two timelines converging at the Craig Na Dun, combined with a Druid song in the background, just did me in. 

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The cliffhanger wasn’t a surprise for me because I read somewhere that Ron Moore said that’s where he’d end it, and yet I still went nuts over it. Loved it! Watching Jamie’s snarl was awesome and seeing the expression on Black Jack’s face was disturbing to say the least!

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All in all, I’m a happy camper, as a reader and a viewer. It’s rare that a book of this caliber gets an adaptation as close and vivid as this one is. Everything throughout the season has been portrayed as close to it as possible and the production is superb, from top to bottom. But knowing who’s behind it, it doesn’t surprise me, and as a fan of the creator of the show and books, I am in virtual seventh heaven and very grateful to them both, for creating and bringing this literary gem to me.

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That said, I am disappointed that the character of Jamie Fraser hadn’t been fleshed out in these eight episodes as much as Frank or Black Jack has. And as much as people are quick to point out to me that I’m biased and speaking from my “reader” POV, I still think [and this is in no criticism of RDM & Co] but just my own personal observation, is that Ron Moore made a conscious decision to expand one character at the expanse of another.

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While I’m all for it, I think it could have been accomplished with at least a third less screen time, which could have gone to the developing and ‘rounding’ of Jamie’s character. I understand that this is their prerogative and they are the experts. However, that still doesn’t change my opinion that the opportunity has been missed to develop him just a bit more.

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Not to make him ‘King of Men’, nor to embellish him, but just make him more three-dimensional. I was and am on board with seeing Frank and his suffering; watch BJR’s character tell us his POV about the flogging. Those scenes gave us better picture of those characters. My question is why couldn’t we have had the same opportunity to get to know JAMMF in just the same way? The scenes we see JAMMF are very good, and majority was plucked right out of the book, but the most powerful one [of his flogging] was solely concentrated on another character.

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So while they followed JAMMF’s story almost to the letter of the book, keeping him in the background [too long in my humble opinion] they fleshed out other characters, such as Frank and Dougal, even Angus and Rupert. That was wasted time and opportunity in developing JAMMF.

It’s water under the bridge now. I’m not losing faith in the show, in RDM or anything of the sort but that’s my impression …

But then I talk to my DH and he tells me from his non-book-reader POV, the show had developed Jamie character to his satisfaction. He is very impressed with the story and tells me that there’s plenty of time left to get into Jamie’s character.
I am given to understand that the second half will be in his voiceover which made me feel a whole lot better.

Scotch on the Rocks! Sam Heughan from Twitter today.
Scotch on the Rocks!
Sam Heughan from Twitter today.

As much as I love Tobias Menzies, I’ll be glad when Frank/BJR are out of the picture.
so what do you think about the show so far/ are you hooked? And what are your thoughts on this episode? I always welcome discussion, especially the ones with different POV from mine. I’ll always give it respect that it deserves. We all bring to the table our own interpretation, and none is right or wrong, but just our own. If I respect your opinion, then I’m hoping you will do the same with mine, and not belittle it or discourage me to have one. This is what we as people with love of anything should always strive to do. Question, talk, discuss and be loving in all of it.

*PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

*Sam Heughan’s photo from his Twitter

*SCREEN GRABS

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Fan2Author Interview with Julie Johnstone!

b2bConnie: Julie, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career?

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Julie Johnstone: Picture a college graduate who is fresh off a breakup with her boyfriend of five years and headed out-of-town via the New Orléans Airport after spending the weekend mingling with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend because the ex boyfriend’s sister was getting married and had asked me to be in the wedding.

There I was standing in the airport thinking love was possibly overrated when I decided I needed something to read on the airplane for my short trip to Houston, Texas. I had never read a romance up to this point and I was twenty-five. Oh, wait, I did read Sweet Valley High Growing up so I do need to count that! But I had never read a grown up romance! I skimmed through the books bypassing what I would usually read and the cover of Ransom by Julie Garwood caught my eye. I flipped that baby over and was instantly captivated. It was exactly what I needed in that  moment in my life to remind me true love, the kind that wraps around you and lifts you up, does exist. I spend the rest of the weekend reading at the lake instead of skiing! I knew after that weekend that someday I wanted to write books that made people happy and gave them hope when they needed it the most. 

b2bC: How have your characters and their stories come to you and which one/s whispered the loudest for their story to be told?

JJ: I’ll tell you a secret, they come to me in the shower most the time! I think it’s because it is the only time I am ever alone and it’s quiet. I have two rambunctious boys! Sometimes, though, stories will hit me right in the middle of conversations with people or when they are telling me something about their life. Now as to who whispered to me the most, I’d have to say it was Madelaine from What A Rogue Wants. That book had so many rewrites I lost count, but she never kept pestering me to get her story right!

b2bC: What was your favorite book as a child?

JJ: Are You There God It’s Me Margaret.

b2bC: Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

JJ: This is an easy one – Ransom by Julie Garwood!

b2bC: Do you like reading classics and is there one that you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never read?

JJ: Oh, I love classics!!! I’ve never read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and considering what I do for a living and what I write I am totally embarrassed that I haven’t’ read that one yet!

b2bC: Is there a book that you recently read that you wish you had written?

JJ: The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes. I stayed up until two in the morning to finish this book and it left me breathless with anticipation and burning with the desire to go write!!

b2bC: What’s a movie adaptation of a book that you loved or that you wish it is made?

JJ: I loved The Notebook!

b2bC: Which book we might be surprised to learn that you loved?

JJ: I love fantasy! I devoured all of The Lord of the Rings books.

b2bC: If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

JJ: That’s so hard! I read outside of what I write all the time and love it, but I’m going to have to say romance. In the end, romance is my true love and can always lift me when I need it.

b2bC: What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

JJ: A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James has so many hilarious lines that I found myself laughing out loud quiet a bit. The Last Letter from Your Lover made me cry!

b2bC: Do you read your books post-publication?

JJ: Parts of them sometimes, but really I don’t like to because I’m so critical of what I have written.

b2bC: During a thunderstorm – stay inside or sit on porch watching the show?

JJ: Definitely, sit on the porch watching the show!

b2bC: Flannels or Silk?

JJ: Silk in the summer and flannel in the winter!

b2bC: Sports car or SUV?

JJ: SUV! Two kids, remember.

b2bC: Cats or Dogs?

JJ: Both! I have a cat named Cupcake and a dog named Iris.

b2bC: Champagne or Beer?

JJ: Champagne. I detest beer.

b2bC: Movies or TV?

JJ: Movies.

b2bC: What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

JJ: My favorite TV show right now is Outlander. My favorite move is the Last of the Mohicans.

b2bC: Julie, thanks so much for stopping by b2b and we wish you great success with your novels.

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AUTHOR BIO: Julie first fell in love with romance fifteen years ago when she picked up her first romance novel in an airport gift shop on the way to Conroe, Texas for a family reunion and spent her whole weekend reading rather than water skiing, which up until then was one of her favorite things to do.

Julie is staying up way too late and typing furiously on her keyboard to finish her next book or blog with her fellow authors at Ladyscribes. Julie is married to an amazing lawyer and when she is not running her two precocious children to one activity or another she is trying to eek out some time to stay in shape and see her dearest friends.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Twitter

MY FAIR DUCHESS

jj mfdBOOK BLURB: After years of playing the rake to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman.

Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke Of Aversley.

Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

BUY LINKS: Amazon

‘My Fair Duchess’ by Julie Johnstone

jj mfdSTORY: After years of playing the rake to hide a dark family secret, the Duke of Aversley feels tainted beyond redemption and cynical beyond repair. Never does he imagine hope will come in the form of a quirky, quick-witted lady determined to win the heart of another gentleman.

Thanks to a painfully awkward past, Lady Amelia De Vere long ago relinquished the notion she was a flower that had yet to blossom. But when her family faces financial ruin and the man she has always loved is on the verge of marrying another, she’ll try anything to transform herself to capture her childhood love and save her family―including agreeing to participate in a bet between her brother and the notorious, dangerously handsome Duke Of Aversley.

Bound by the bet, Amelia and Aversley discover unexpected understanding and passion beyond their wildest dreams, if only they can let go of their pride, put trust in each other and chance losing their hearts.

REVIEW: In 1795 when Colin Sinclair, Marquess of Nortingham, was born, he and his mother, Camilla, almost died during the birth.  His father, the Duke of Aversley, does not want his wife to go through another pregnancy so he decides to stay away from her to avoid another pregnancy.  Hurt and angry at her husband, Alexander, Camilla chooses to ignore her son Colin and begins having blatant affairs with other men.

In 1812 when he turns 17, Colin and his best friend, Philip de Vere, Viscount Rhetford, are students at Cambridge.  As they are young and carefree, Colin vows that he will be a rake when he grows up.

London, 1820 finds Colin, now age 25 and the new Duke of Aversley.  His father had passed away a year earlier.  When Colin decides to visit his old friend, Philip de Vere, he finds that the family has become quite impoverished since Philip’s father died. Philip’s sister, 22-year-old Amelia is a tall young woman striving to keep the family together and help her mother through her grief.

Amelia fancies herself in love with Charles Stanhope, Baron Worthington.  However, Charles is looking for a woman with a large dowry to supplement his small income. When Colin sees Amelia foolishly throwing herself at Charles, he becomes angry on her behalf for Colin has gotten to know the real Amelia and all that she has to offer.

Colin strives to help Amelia become a lady and coaches her to prepare her for a London season, including providing funds to dress her.  In addition, Amelia is invited to stay with Colin’s aunt, Lady Langley, while in London.

Will Amelia continue her pursuit of Charles Stanhope?  How will she take in her London season?  But most of all, will Colin be able to resist his attraction to Amelia?

This is a sweet story with some humorous parts.  The characters are all well-developed and believable.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

Live Twitter Chat w/Sam @Heughan & Cait @caitrionambalfe

atwiter

. I “may” be in a pub….

When or are y’all filming season two and who is the best horseman or women in the cast ?

Oh, this is a bone of contention but @caitrionambalfe knows I’m better than her….

What did you think when you first saw @caitrionambalfe in Claire’s wedding dress?

She really is a woman of beauty and a lady of grace.

If you had to be locked up in a cell with anyone in the world, who would it be? And why?

Depends for how long….

If Jamie could choose a modern junk food what would it be?

Deep fried haggis

Do you do all the fighting yourself or do you have a double?

So far I’ve done all my own stunts! We have doubles, for 2nd unit stuff, they normally show us. Awesome Team.

Pls tell Duncan “WE” said “Hey there, Sailor” or something 2 that effect. He’s my wee Scruffmeister!

You would be in a lot of trouble, he’s a wild man!

We were able to see really lovely costumes? What was your favourite outfit so far?

Terry @draiochta14 has done an amazing job huh!

How difficult was it to ride horses in a kilt?

Very comfortable actually

We are in love with Jamie. Which is the fictional character you love the most?

James Bond. Sherlock Holmes.

For starters how would Sam live without his hair product ..??

I have more than Cait, that’s for sure. #bigHair

@heughan and @caitrionambalfe, on top or on bottom?

In the middle.

With the character based on a book, do you like having such a reference in understanding Jamie?

It’s a great gift, to use as reference but I feel now I understand Jamie, though he has more surprises to come

Do you have Outlandish Companion to refer to?

Found Exile more helpful and other shorts stories. Plus “Herself” helps out too sometimes!

Ok so many great acting little nuances with your fingers, hands, eyes as Jamie…you or director’s?

Details are mine, Noted them form the books. Directors do however get the performance. It’s a collaboration.

Do you think Claire has got an alcohol problem?

She’s a bit of a lush huh?! But understandable… hic!

I understand there is a lot of time between studio takes. Do y’all stay in chrctr?

No, but down time pretty busy with press stuff, prepping other scenes, make up checks and drinking coffee

How do you not get sick with filming outside in the Scottish weather?

People are ill, you have to be very careful, when one person gets cold, it goes around

Is there anything you dodon’tike about your character?

All the pain he goes through.

What is the easiest way to make @caitrionambalfe laugh

Just smile, she can’t help herself. 🙂

Is the whisky you’re all drinking on camera real?

If only! But some scenes we both have needed a little “dutch courage”

Which episode was the most difficult to film?

Each ep has own challenges. Weather, location etc but last two rather hard. I’m proud of them.

What was your favorite scene to shoot?

Loved eps 13/14 Wait and you’ll see… #newcharacters

Do you have any kind of ritual before filming?

Putting on the kilt is kind of a ritual, you may see it sometime..

When does season 2 begin shooting?

Beginning on next year… sometime…

Is season 1 the end of book 1 or will it continue into season 2?

Season 1 is book one. Season two covers book two, but know writers like to bring in elements from others

Are they omissions/ deletions in adaptation u wished had stayed true to book?

Always things have to be lost but hopefully we can keep as many as possible!

What was the most emotional scene that you filmed this season?

Last day with “Highlanders” was hard. Great ensemble. Brilliant actors.

If you had the chance to tweek a scene a wee bit which one and how?

We do tweak a lot, actors, writers and director collaborate a lot.

Has your family gone to set of outlander yet?

A few times. Feel so proud. Must stop my mother touching things though..

When Jamie smiled in his sleep in the Wedding episode, was it an easter egg for book readers or just a coincidence?

It was a conscious decision. 🙂 He also spoke in his sleep but that was cut.. “Gasta”

How is it to kiss Sam almost on a daily basis on set?

Yes how is it Cait????

Was Wentworth really hard to film?

Intense and difficult but Tobias and Anna the director are fantastic. I’m excited for viewers

Are you guys still filming Outlander season2 in Scotland?

We are!

Do you mind keeping the long hair for Dragonfly In Amber during the break?

I don’t mind, it’s part of Jamie.

Worst equipment malfunction?

Graham had trouble with the blood-rig knife that cuts our wrists at the wedding, he got blood EVERYWHERE!

Which is your favourite Movie of ever?

Back to the Future.,, no, Aliens…. No, Starship Troopers… no, Godfather… argh!

How does she know that???? (That you sing in the shower?…)

We shower together.

What’s the most awkward part of shooting a sex scene?

The 16 other people in the room.

So, what’s in Jamie’s sporran on any given day?

Secret things….

How many munros have you bagged so far? Which one was your favorite to do?

In double figures. Aiming for another few in coming weeks!

Given the choice, would Jamie (or you, Sam ) time travel via standing stones or Doc’s DeLorean?? Thank you!

“Great Scot!!!!!!”

Have you met who will be playing Brianna & if so, what’s your first impression?

Still casting I think .. Who’d you like to see?

Do either of you want to try directing an episode if you had the chance?

That’d be a real challenge and a great idea

I want to know what was your favorite episode of this season Greetings from Colombia! =D

So hard but I really like second part of season, it gets harder, darker and more intense.

Will you miss the horseback riding?

Desperately miss Sleepy already.

What’s your favorite whisky?

Laphroig Quarter cask or Lagavulin 16. Yum.

You know you’ve inspired a new man-lingerie trend..I bet kilt sales are killing it

Jamie doesn’t wear lingerie or any underwear…

What’s your swear word or expression when you get mad about something?

Cait has quite an extensive vocabulary of sweaty words. #irish

After 1 yr of filming how do you feel you have changed as an actor?

I’ve learnt a lot about my skills but also the process and working in media generally. It’s exciting.x

How does one get to audition/write for the show in ssn 2?

Better ask @RonDMoore

I just want to say that I can’t wait 4 April for more outlander. Really sad.

You can always watch repeats on @STARZ_Channel while we finish post production

Thank you all for joining and I for Watch the final ep before the mid season break tomorrow! x

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So just sat down in a train station to get ready to answer questions…!!! 8 mins to go….

How do you deal w/ bullies and people who bring you down?

It’s small people that put others down to make themselves feel better. Focus and what brings you happiness. It does ..

What was the most important lesson learned in shooting s1 you’d carry over to s2? 🙂

That it’s possible.!! That seeing the response makes any hard day worth it..!!

What was the first scene you shot?

First scene I shot was the field hospital in WW2. Epic beginning x

Favorite fashions? 1940’s or 1740’s?

1940’s

Be honest; how uncomfortable/comfortable are the corsets?

Not too bad. I’m used to them now.

Favorite between scenes pastime

EATING..!!

Guilty pleasures?

Real Housewives of NY and BH.

How in the world to you see these questions? there are 1000s of them

Not doing a very good job. But trying. Keep forgetting the hashtag. Whoops.

Think you could legitimately make it in the 1740’s?

Nope … For starters how would Sam live without his hair product ..??

Are the actors who play Rupert and Angus as funny off camera as they are on?

They are funny and very cool. Steven is also a talented musician too !!

Have you been to France ?

Yes I lived in Paris for two years and the French Alps for a season

Favorite city to visit in the US?

New York , New Orleans a close second. Anywhere New 😉

How much will you miss each other during hiatus? Be honest… LOL

Well I’ll be enjoying the peace and quiet for a change..!! But yeah maybe a little.

Do you think you will miss anything from your pre-Outlander lives? How has it changed you?

So far it’s only been good things

What percentage of stunts do you do yourself?

As much as they will let me do. And then I have an amazing stunt double called Annabelle does the rest

Catwalk or Screen

Screen all the way ..!

Who in the cast would fill up a blooper real the fastest?

As we saw last night. That would be me..!!!!

Re your hair. Will you revert back to your pre-Outlander style and color during haitus?

Well will take a while for the perm to grow out but yes will be nice to have my own hair again. X

Does the break include vacay or is #outlander promo still on deck?

FIrst vacay, then see what they spring on us 😉 xx

Which scene from the book was your screen test with each other?

One was the scene where Jamie falls off the horse. And the 2nd was the “was it like you thought it would be ” Ep 7

What is your greatest joy in life right now?

Knowing that tomorrow I will be on a beach ..! X

Tobias plays your lover ánd your enemy. Do you prefer acting with the 20th or 18th century Randall?

The scene with black Jack are usually grey meaty scenes so love them from an acting standpoint. But the 40’s was just so romantic.

Worst weather conditions you had to shoot in? Which scene?

The Highlander cottage night. Freezing and wet and very muddy. Or scene with Horrocks – horizontal rain

What actor do you want to work with? or actress

So many but dreams… Cate Blanchett and Javier Bardem

I had heard you are leaving the show after the first season. Is that true?

Not unless they have secret plans to fire me :-((

Do you sing in the shower?

Sam always sings in the shower :-(((

What’s been the funniest thing to happen during filming?

Probably when I tried to sew Sam for real.

Did Cait fall asleep?

Bad wifi and can anyone tell me how to get into my drafts … Responses not going through 😦

My internet connection has been terrible. I will answer some more I your questions when I get to somewhere where it’s better

sam cait source nikascottdottumblrdotcom
sam cait source nikascottdottumblrdotcom

Outlander Ep. 107 ‘The Wedding’

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I don’t need to say that this post is FILLED with SPOILERS, do I?! 

Well it took me long enough to get this post together my bookworms!

Outlander 2014

I know I’m Outlander obsessed but I must admit I had to let go of this obsession for just a bit this week. You know, my Dude’s birthday one day and our 14th wedding anniversary the next, kind of pushed the TV out of our sphere. But I did get to see the episode and here I am to let you all know my thoughts about it.

Outlander 2014The episode was filmed in a non-linear structure, so we get the ending first, and through flashbacks we see the start and the middle. I actually loved it. The first thought that popped in my head watching it, was how nice it was to have Jamie’s point of view, even though it’s Jamie telling Claire of what he did to prepare for their wedding. I’m hoping now that they are together, we’ll be seeing more and more of that, and by the previews of the next episode, it looks like we’ll get to see even Frank’s point of view, and that REALLY makes me happy.

o107 (2)I’m not going to rehash this episode for you, for frankly, if you Google it, you’ll come up with hundreds of those and some are really very good and funny too. No, I’m just going to get on to the good stuff here and do my own “non-linear” review, ok?

Yes, this is the episode that we finally see two strangers get married and while we know and can tell that Jamie is in love with Claire [if you haven’t seen the show, you’re missing on Sam Heughan’s awesome facial expressions and lovelorn looks at the o107bwoman!], we know that she may be infatuated by him, but not really in love. She still pines for her Frank and despite this hastily put together wedding of convenience for all parties concerned [Dougal too!], she is having a hell of a time accepting the situation. Her guilt is eating her out, and watching Caitriona Balfe play that guilt is fascinating, to say the least! These are very complex characters in a very complex situation and throughout the episode I just focused on their faces as the story developed, and people, I have to say, sometimes words are not necessary at all. If you have actors of this caliber and know how to use them, holy crap, the end result is brilliant!

o107aWatching Claire’s struggle with her feelings for Frank and her growing attraction for Jamie, all in her face?! I can’t even put into words how sad it made me feel. I was heartbroken for her. All I wanted to do is give her a hug!

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This episode was like a painting come to life. The lighting throughout was soft, hazy and then it just got a bit brighter as we unwrapped the bride, which followed with more mood lighting in the church and the bridal chamber. And speaking of the bridal chamber let me say this right up front. I have never, ever seen an erotic scene filmed in such a way that it made my heart stop and flutter. It was pure magic watching two people not have sex but make love. Thanks to Anne Kenney’s writing and Anna Foerster’s direction, not to mention Sam and Cait’sOUT_107-20140519-EM_1127.jpg acting, we were able to see and relate to what both of these characters went through on their first night as husband and wife. What starts off as an intimate, yet awkward consummation, by the end of the night turns into a passionate love-making for both.

Have you ever seen a ‘sex scene’ in which the woman gets to slowly walk around the man with her eyes lingering on his body while her hand trails ever so slowly, from his front collarbone to his firm buttocks? If you can name one, please do. I’m drawing a blank!

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This was so well done that every moment of awkwardness of their first time, sweetness and wonder of his, sadness of her realization that despite loving another man she still enjoyed making love to this one, came across as real. And just when I thought they couldn’t top it off, they go on and let me watch a man enjoy his pleasures to the fullest, and color me happy for this whole year!

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I honestly didn’t expect to see that. In the past, and once more I do ask you to correct me if I’m wrong, it’s usually all about the woman, going on about it ‘down there’ while you don’t even see the dude.

????????????????????????????None of that was done in this scene. There were hardly any shots of Claire, while we only saw Jamie reach his ‘happy place’ and it was glorious! Even poor Jamie thought his heart was going to burst. Seriously, how often have you seen a depiction of sex coming from the woman’s point of view [not counting romance novels]?  And also, how often have you seen a man’s first time so honestly and accurately portrayed?  It was downright refreshing to see the vulnerability and honesty of their sensuality. This was by far the most realistic ‘love ????????????????????????????making’ [note I don’t use ‘sex scenes’] scenes I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. The genuine affection between the actors, Sam and Cait, can’t be missed as they play out these scenes, and the chemistry between Jamie and Claire is electrifying and palpable in every single scene they’re in, but especially in the bridal chamber scenes. If you watch their faces you’ll notice that the camera captured their expressions so beautifully, that at times I felt like a voyeur of a very intimate, private and even sacred ritual.

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Claire’s internal conflict is written on her face throughout the episode. Her face is crestfallen as she struggles to reconcile her feelings of guilt in betraying the man she loves, while being forced to marry a man for her safety, and to top it all off, now she is forced to consummate the marriage, and that just doesn’t sit well with her.

OUT_107-20140513-ND_0702.jpgNonetheless, she accepts her fate, albeit begrudgingly, and you can see all this with barely any dialogue. Everything she feels is in her demeanor; from the minute Jamie enters the bridal chamber, you can tell her cackles are up; as Jamie tells her the party downstairs will not disperse until they’re sure that thewedding01 ‘deed is done’, she responds tersely, saying that at least they’ll not be watching them, and to Jamie’s comeback with his ‘wee joke’ of “only Rupert and Angus”, she’s accusing him of being “regular Bob Hope”; his toast to her was sweet and thoughtful, while she paid no mind to it and just kept on drinking.

At one point you could see that she’s feeling sorry for him so she tries hard to get this 2014-09-23 22.55.13thing over with by reaching out to him, squeezing his hand and leaning in for their first kiss, and she chickens out even there. She decides to ask him about his family, wants to prolong the inevitable and he is patient and kindly entertains her with his stories. That puts her at 2014-09-23 22.55.19ease a bit and she admits that he’s charming, a born story teller. After hours of relaxed ‘getting to know you’ even she is aware that the time has come to go to bed, and not to just sleep.

 

As she ‘deflowers’ him, she feels guilty; as she realizes the extent and trouble he went through to make this a memorable day for both of them, she still feels Jamie-Claire-Outlander-Feet-1024x573guilty, but takes the initiative; as he makes her a gift of his mothers pearls, he declares that she’s as precious to him as they are, and this time she is resigned and you can see it in her facial expressions as she straddles him, kissing him and 2014-09-23 22.55.30both just watching each other’s faces as they slowly make love. And just like that, over the space of one night, she may not want to admit this to herself, but the audience knows it. This woman has just fallen in love.

As for Jamie! JHRC! Sam Heughan has taken to this role like duck to water. It’s obvious that he’s read the book and studied the character from DG’s description, yet watching him use all the little idiosyncrasies and nuances of JAMMF is fascinating! From his little twitching 2014-09-23 22.55.38fingers before the oath taking to the same after his awe of love-making, he’s got JAMMF by the balls and he’s not letting go, bless his heart!

All the past episodes were one long, sweet and seductive foreplay, as far as I’m concerned. We knew that Jamie was taken with Claire from the2014-09-23 22.55.41 first time he saw her. She was the woman for him, but his circumstances didn’t allow him to do anything about it. Yet now that she sort of ‘fell’ into his hands, he was going to do this thing right and by God, he was going to demand it of his uncle Dougal to help him out. He wants this done in a church, with a priest; he wants a ring made for her out of a special key he has in his sporran; and he Outlander-wedding-night-850x560wants her to have a special dress. And we just watch this kid with no responsibilities but to himself, who’s on the run, hiding in the stables, slowly becoming a man and taking the responsibility of a wife. And we watch him literally become one as he loses his virginity, and as much as it was awkward for us to watch it, it was much more for him as he’s trying to figure it all out and make sure that his wife was well pleased as he was. His facial expression of wonder and joy goes away quickly as he realizes that she may have hisofacenot liked it as much as he did.

After his wife assures him that she liked it, he still wasn’t so sure as he tries to touch her, feel her hair and she pulls away. But all is well again as they get to trust each other and his second time his wife takes over and teaches him what true pleasure really is. For him, their third coming together was as significant as hers. Giving her the o 107bscotch pearls that are so precious to him because it’s one thing he has from his mother, and telling her that she’s as precious to him, probably wasn’t an easy thing to do, and you could tell by his shy look at her.

He may as well have told her he loves her for crying out loud! As a matter a fact, throughout this night, he is the one that is more vulnerable than she is. And he is the one keeps on giving to her all that he has, his name, clan and his family. He offers his body for protection, which is his life, if o 107cnecessary. Unlike his wife, he holds nothing back. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Claire, and that’s what brakes her heart and her resolve to ‘only do her duty’.

She’s touched by Jamie remembering every moment, every second of their wedding, from the first time he saw her in her dress, comparing it to sun coming out after the cloudy day, sweet dreamsdown to their first kiss and their Blood Oath. And here we thought women are romantic! And here is one thing that I thought the show let me down, just a bit. It was all about the dress, as it should be, but boy they missed the opportunity to make this be about him as well. Here he is, in his full Highland regalia, looking all so handsome, splendid, and all eyes are on her. She looks sick, heartbroken and guilty. I hoped that she could for just one minute stop and appreciate Jamie-And-Claire-Outlander-1024x575this man in all his glory. My heart just went out to him! He continually goes out of his way to make her feel safe, and she in the end accepts everything he offers and gives as good as she gets. Well, that is until the morning after she accidentally finds her ‘other’ wedding band and holy crap but that face just broke my heart.

2014-09-23 22.56.00Oh before I forget, there was much more to the episode, but this is what impressed me the most, besides the dress, which was stunning, kudos to Terry Dresbach; music that was as sensual as was their love making, thanks to Bear McCreary; the direction, acting and lighting, brilliant, but then it always is and that is why this show just keeps drawing people in. It is unique in its honesty of telling a ‘good yarn’.

outlander-wedding-8

This Saturday we’ll be getting Ep. 108, ‘Both Sides Now’ and this will be a mid-season finale with returning eight episodes on April 4th, 2015.

Did you see the episode, the show? What are your thoughts? And how will we ever pass the time ‘till April next year?!

Anyone know of a support group for crazy fans such as I? Or do I need to start drinking, like NOW!

This is from the last 8 episodes coming April 4, 2015
This is from the last 8 episodes coming April 4, 2015

*PHOTO CREDIT STARZ; and some screencaps [you’ll know which those are!]

‘The Highwayman’ by Judith James is here!

jj thBOOK BLURB: How Easily One’s Heart Can Be Stolen…Depends Upon the Thief

England, 1680
Known to some as Gentleman Jack and others as Swift Nick, Jack Nevison preys on the wealthy, stealing coin (and the occasional kiss) on England’s darkest roads. Jack’s dangerous deeds are legend but the thrill of a highwayman’s life is growing cold–until he meets the intrepid travel writer and spinster, Arabella Hamilton.

Beautiful and bold, Arabella may come from the world Jack despises but she’s a kindred spirit at heart. When circumstances bring them together the sparks ignite–yet they remain on opposite sides of society and the law and with each encounter they risk more. To be together, will one of them have to give up their world forever?

The adventures and exploits of real-life highwayman Swift Nick and the observations of 17th century travel writer Celia Fiennes are woven throughout this tale–which takes the reader from the privileged world of London’s aristocracy to the highways and byways, inns and hunting grounds of some of England’s most celebrated rogues. I hope you will enjoy it, and think it worth the wait.

PRE-ORDER: Amazon

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

I can find my own way home from here, Jack. I don’t need to be fetched and escorted about,” Arabella said as he took her by the arm and pulled her into a stairwell in the courtyard. She didn’t know why she should feel so out of sorts when home and safety were at last so close at hand, but there was a queer panic in her heart, and she was unaccountably close to tears at the thought of saying goodbye.

“Yes, you do, Arabella. It is safe inside the inn, but you mustn’t travel alone or even walk alone outside it. Trust no one but Nate and Mary. This is a dangerous area. A harbor for thieves and highway­men, most of whom don’t share my scruples about using violence.” He straightened her collar with his free hand. “They gather here to prey on travelers. The wiser customers meet at the bottom of St. John Street and make their way to the inn in groups under armed guard. Pray put my mind at ease. Stay here for tonight and in the light of day, Nate will find you men you can trust, and see you safely home.”

“Yes of course. You make them sound like fishermen lining the banks when the salmon are ready to run—all of them hoping to snatch a fine fish. You needn’t worry. I shall do as you recommend. It’s rather odd though. Most of my life I’ve felt safe and protected in my father’s halls, but I was often bored and lonely. I’ve never felt as frightened as I have in these past few days, but nor have I ever felt so gloriously alive. No sky has ever been so beautiful. No evening air has smelled as sweet. No ride has been so thrilling.” She looked at him with luminous eyes.

He smiled, and brushed his knuckles gently across her swollen cheek. “Those are dangerous thoughts, Bella.”

“Is danger always so exciting?”

“Yes…to some.” He wrapped his finger around a glistening tendril of her hair and drew it out its full length. “Will you allow me a keepsake of my adventure with the daring Belle de nuit?”

Breathless, she gulped and nodded. A wicked looking dagger appeared, and with a soft snick he cut one long lock, and put it in his pocket. It was a romantic gesture, but it filled her heart with sorrow. Soon he would be lost to the night, and something wonderful would come to a close. She didn’t want him to remember her. You remembered what was gone. She wanted this night to never end. She wanted him to stay.

“I suppose I should give you back your coat.” It was all she could think to say.

“That’s not necessary, Bella. Keep it. Let it keep you warm.”

But she was already struggling out of it. The coat was far too big for her and her arm caught in her sleeve as she tried to shrug it off.

“Here. Let me help,” he said with a low chuckle. The struggle to free her arm drew her closer, and his low laugh cut off abruptly as their eyes caught and held.

I thought his eyes dark and shadowed, but now they are amber in the torch light. At times, it almost seems like they’re aflame. Arabella was intensely aware of his parted lips, the feel of his fingers wrapped around her upper arm, and the rise and fall of his chest, just inches from hers. She watched, mesmerized, as he lowered his head toward her, holding her breath as he nuzzled the curve of her shoulder and neck. His breath was warm against her ear, sending shivers through her body, and she turned into him. His eyes gleamed and she made no protest as he lowered his mouth to hers. His kiss was careful, gentle, mindful of her bruises, but it thrilled her to her toes.

Heedless of all the lessons she’d been taught, she stood up on her toes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and hesitant, curious…she kissed him back. He groaned and hugged her tight against him, backing her into the wall, the fingers of one hand threading through her hair as his mouth claimed hers in a heated caress. Her lips, already swollen and tender, ached with pain and pleasure. The feel of him pressed against her, his arms around her…made her forget all else. She didn’t want it to stop, she didn’t want him to leave, and she sighed when he finally pulled away.

“My apologies, Lady Hamilton,” he said with a shaky laugh.

“Please don’t do that.”

“Do what? Kiss you?”

“Please don’t apologize. That was my first kiss, Jack. Do you regret it?”

His lips curled in a slight smile and he caught her chin between thumb and forefinger. “A starry night, a lady brave and bold, a first kiss. You have been an adventure well worth the risk, Bella, and I don’t regret a thing.”

The way he said her name warmed her like a caress. “I owe you so much. How can I ever repay you?”

“Come and find me if they ever catch me, and give me a kiss to warm my soul before I hang.” He brushed her bruised lips with a kiss as soft as a whisper, and she stepped fully into his embrace.

His fingers traced her neckline with a delicate touch, leaving shivers of sensation that rippled through her body and made her nipples ache and harden as if from the cold. He caressed her collarbone, and then spread his hand wide and slipped it under the cool rope of her necklace, to lie warm against her skin. Her heart thrummed beneath his palm. He deepened his kiss as his fingers toyed with the faintly glowing moonlit strand encircling her throat. Traveling its length, his knuckles brushing the tender skin peeping from her modest décolletage to linger a moment, barely touching, just below her ear.

He felt her tremble. He felt a moment of knee-weakening lust, surprising tenderness, and unexpected regret, and then he plucked her necklace from her neck, and dropped it in his pocket.

“Jack?” She stared at him in stunned surprise, clutching her throat. “What are you doing? That was my mother’s!”

“I warned you, Bella. I am a highwayman.” He let out a piercing whistle and Bess came galloping, with Nate not far behind. “Keep her safe, Nate,” he called as he caught the swift moving mare by the mane and swung easily onto her back. Wheeling about to face Arabella, he bowed from the waist and tipped his hat with a flourish. “Adieu, Bella! Until we meet again.” The black horse reared up, taking several steps backwards, and then leapt forward. A moment later horse and rider were swallowed by the night.

Arabella stood there, staring into the dark. She could hear the bustle from the inn behind her. Someone was playing a fiddle. An argument was growing heated on an upper floor. A carriage rumbled by on the road behind her and somebody slammed a door. They were ordinary sounds on an ordinary night. She felt for her necklace, but both it and her highwayman were gone. I have just awoken from a dream. Her overwhelming feeling was one of loss.

jjAUTHOR BIO: Judith James, award-winning author of IPPY gold medalist BROKEN WING, Historical Novels Reviews Top Choice and Barnes and Nobles best of the year HIGHLAND REBEL, and Booklist starred reviewed and Romantic Times 2010 best book nominee LIBERTINE’S KISS, is an avid reader and history buff who grew up in Montreal Quebec. She is a bit of an adventure junkie and has travelled, worked and lived in many places, including the Arctic, Ireland, London and France.

Variously employed as a trail guide, horse trainer, and clinical psychologist, she’s had the opportunity to live out many of her dreams. She has found the perfect place to write on the East Coast, with a view of the ocean from her window. Judith’s writing combines her love of history, romance and adventure with her keen interest in the complexities of human nature, and the heart’s capacity to heal.

She is currently getting ready to publish her Rakes and Rogues of the Restoration series. If you haven’t met them yet, catch up with the libertine, William de Veres and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth Walters in Libertine’s Kiss. Meet the soldier and the courtesan in Soldiers of Fortune, previously known as The King’s Courtesan and prepare to be swept away by The Highwayman, a story based on the real highwayman Swift Nick and inspired by the intrepid 17th century traveler and journalist Celia Fiennes.

Ms James is always pleased to hear from fellow readers and writers and invites you to visit her on Facebook, her webpage or on twitter.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

‘The Husband’s Secret’ by Liane Moriarty

lm thsSTORY: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

REVIEW: Cecilia Fitzpatrick is a busy, happy and outgoing mother of 3 girls and married to John-Paul.  She has many friends and is always on top of things ready to help someone in need.  In addition, she is a very successful Tupperware saleswoman.  So, when she finds a old, sealed letter from her husband addressed to her with a notation to be opened only upon his death, her world begins to crumble.

Tess and Will have been married for some years now and are the parents of six-year-old, Liam.  Her cousin, Felicity, has been her best friend all of her life and is like a part of their family.  But when Will gives her some bad news, Tess and Liam head for her mother’s home to decide what to do next.

Rachel is a widow and the mother of Rob who is married to Lauren, a woman with whom Rachel does not get along.  Rob and Lauren have a young son who is the light of Rachel’s life.  However, a long distance move is threatening to take her grandson away from her.  This is news that only adds to the sorrow of Rachel’s life.  Her young teenage daughter, Janie, was murdered many years ago and the murderer was never charged.  However, Rachel thinks she knows who did this awful deed.

We follow these families as their lives become intertwined, lives are examined, families are tested and secrets are revealed.

This is a book that I did not want to put down.  I literally found myself reading on and on and ignoring the chores that I was supposed to be getting done.  As with the author’s novel, “Big Little Lies,” I was totally enthralled from the first page to the last.

I highly recommend this book and feel confident that readers will be as enamored as I was.

Connie for b2b