Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season!
Let’s stop and remember Him that was born for us.
Connie, Leah & Melanie
Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season!
Let’s stop and remember Him that was born for us.
Connie, Leah & Melanie
Wishing you all a warm and happy Thanksgiving1
Connie, Leah and Melanie
It’s time to reveal the gorgeous new cover of THE VISCOUNT RISKS IT ALL (Jan ’16)! This is the fourth book in the Prelude to a Kiss series which also features The Baron Next Door, The Earl I Adore, and The Duke Can Go To the Devil (July 7).
BOOK BLURB: Gavin Stark, Viscount Derington, learned his lesson when his childhood love was swept off her feet by another man before Dering could declare himself. Ever since, he has lived a life of no regrets—reaching for what he wants while never again allowing himself to lose his heart. If the experience taught him anything, it was never to risk what he wasn’t willing to lose.
Lady Felicity Danby had everything she ever wanted in life until the moment her husband died, turning her world upside down. A year and a half later, she is finally ready to return to Bath to spend the summer visiting family. She finds comfort in her old childhood friend, but is taken off guard when passion begins to simmer between them. She’s already lost everything once—can she possibly risk her heart a second time?
There she was.
Standing by the alcove, alone and searching the crowd. The filmy white fabric of her gown looked cloudlike against the blue velvet drapes behind her. She was beautiful, but that wasn’t what made Gavin Stark, Viscount Derington’s stomach drop at the sight of her. No, it was the fact that it was her, Felicity, the girl he knew better than any person in the world. More to the point, it was what he had come to say to her.
He’d seen her skinned knees, heard her laugh so hard she’d actually snorted, and comforted her as her tears had soaked through his best shirt following her mother’s funeral. He’d seen her tired, angry, stubborn, and even frazzled, but she’d never been anything but beautiful to him. As far as she was concerned, they’d been the best of friends since they were children.
And as far as Dering was concerned, he’d been desperately in love with her since they were fifteen.
It had been five long years since he’d fallen for her, and yet, in all that time, he had never once been able to bring himself to say anything. How could he, when he knew that the moment he did, everything would change between them? No more easy, lighthearted afternoons beside the river. No more stolen conversations in the folly, or teasing debates about the merits of stowing away on a ship to the Caribbean when the first blanket of snow covered the Somerset landscape.
Dering—the nickname his friends had given him at school that Felicity refused to use—knew that the moment he declared himself, everything would be different. It was a prospect that had scared the hell out of him, but time was of the essence.
His stomach rolled with a wave of nerves at the thought. Biting hard on the inside of his cheek, he straightened his shoulders. It was now or never. Her coming out had been postponed first by her mother’s illness, then by her mother’s death, but in a few short months, she would be off to London to make her debut.
This, his break over Christmas between the Michaelmas and Lent terms, was the last time he would see her before she left.
God knew the moment the ton got ahold of her, his chances would be destroyed. She’d be a diamond of the first water, an Incomparable for certain.
What was the overly tall heir to an earldom when there were dozens of rakish noblemen to be had? He couldn’t take the chance. Further, he simply couldn’t wait anymore.
Five years was long enough.
That thought finally pulled him from his invisible moorings and propelled him forward in her direction. He used his height and breadth to his advantage, gently but firmly bullying his way through the crush. He knew every last one of them there—his father entertained constantly and had instilled the importance of socializing in all his sons—but at that moment, none of the other guests meant a damn to him. There was exactly one person he wanted to see, and she had just noticed him coming toward her.
Felicity’s lips spread into one of her adorable, over-wide grins that made her entire countenance come to life. “Gavin,” she exclaimed, wrapping her gloved hands around his and giving a tight squeeze. “I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been waiting for you for ages.”
His mind instantly went blank as he leaned into her touch. Her fingers fit so well in his hands. Struggling to understand her meaning, he said, “Did I forget a meeting?”
Shaking her head, she pulled him the slightest bit closer so she could whisper by his ear. “No, but waiting for your return has been torture. Meet me in the library in five minutes?”
Dear God. In all of the scenarios he had dreamed up on how he could sweep her from her feet, he never imagined she might be the one to do the initiating. His Adam’s apple bobbed against his suddenly tight cravat as he swallowed and nodded. “I’ll see you then.”
Her smile was swift and glorious, making his heart hammer in his chest. “Excellent. I think I shall go nonchalantly take a turn about the room.” With a wink, she released his hands and slipped away, leaving him to stare after her and reflect that this may very well turn out to be the greatest day of his entire twenty years on this planet.
Sucking in a deep breath, he set off to find a footman, or more specifically, a glass of champagne. No, make that two glasses of champagne. If his dream was about to come true, he damn well wanted to celebrate with the woman he loved.
Precisely three minutes later, he was pacing the marble tiles of his father’s prized library, his heart thundering with anticipation. In a few short minutes, Felicity would arrive. After all these years of wanting her so badly, but knowing he couldn’t say a word for fear of risking their friendship, it was impossible to believe that the waiting would be over. The not knowing would be over. The moment was finally here for him to show her the man he had become, declare himself, and allow the pieces to fall where they may.
Hopefully, right into his waiting arms.
The door squeaked open. He turned just as she slipped inside, her cheeks pink and her eyes fairly glowing. Drawing a steadying breath—which failed utterly to calm his nerves—he set the drinks down on the nearest table and held his hand out to her. “There you are.”
“Here I am,” she responded with a grin. She hurried to his side and slipped her hands right back into his. He wished that the soft fabric of her glove wasn’t there, so he could feel the heat of her skin against his, but that would come soon enough.
His mouth practically went dry at the thought.
“I’ve missed you,” he exclaimed, not willing to hide the truth even a moment longer. It had been almost four months since he had seen her—far too long.
“And I you. Desperately,” she added, tightening her grip on his hands.
Desperately. He nearly closed his eyes against the pleasure the word evoked. Could it possibly be that she felt the same way about him as he did about her? Desperate was exactly the word to describe the way he had felt these last few months, waiting to see her again. “Lissy,” he started to say, but his voice cracked on the second syllable. Embarrassed, he cleared his throat and tried again. “Lissy, so much has changed of late.”
She seemed to be humming with just as much energy as he was. She nodded, her pale locks swaying with the motion. “Yes, I know. Everything has changed. And there is no one with whom I can speak of it but you.”
Yes! He had been going mad, not being able to talk to anyone about his intentions. His school friends would have mocked him for actually wanting to marry, let alone for falling in love. His chest tightened as he reached into his pocket where he had stashed the betrothal ring he had commissioned. As heir to the earldom, there were literally dozens of jewels he could have chosen from, but he hadn’t wanted them. No old family heirlooms for his Felicity; he wanted her to have something created just for her. Opal, surrounded by a cluster of diamonds to represent the moon and stars that he knew she loved so much.
The gold was warm to the touch as his fingers grazed the delicate curve. “I—”
“No, please, I can’t wait another second.” She bit her lip, looking as though she would burst if she didn’t say whatever was within her. “Gavin, I’m in love!”
His ears roared with the surge of exhilaration that washed through him. They were the sweetest words he had ever heard. “Me too,” he rushed to say, relief and elation assailing him in equal parts. All this time, he had been so afraid she wouldn’t return his regard, and here they were, declaring their love for one another. It was like a dream, even better than he had imagined in his very best scenarios.
Her eyes went huge, rounding to the size of twin guineas even as she laughed with delight. “You are? With whom?”
Dering froze like a rabbit in a snare. With whom? The words reverberated through his brain like a ricocheting bullet. If she didn’t think it was her, then that could only mean . . .
She was in love with someone else.
His fingertips went numb as he stared back at her, thunderstruck. “You first,” he said, only barely able to push the words past his lips.
She sighed gustily, her eyes briefly fluttering closed. “Oh Gavin, he’s wonderful. He’s kind and handsome and smart and I haven’t told a soul yet, but we’re getting married!”
The room dimmed from Dering’s vision, fading to gray as he focused on her beautiful, beloved lips and the unbelievable words they had just delivered. “Married?” he whispered.
She nodded, her light brown eyes glittering in the room’s dim candlelight. “He spoke to my father last night, and the announcement is to be made just as soon as the contracts are signed. I’m so happy, Gavin, I could burst.”
As she wrapped her arms around him in an impromptu hug, her scent enveloped him, that soft hint of gardenia that had taunted his dreams for years, and he breathed it in even as the shock numbed his thoughts.
She was getting married. She’d soon belong to another man, and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. If she was being forced, that would be one thing, but she had uttered the one phrase that could keep him from declaring himself, consequences be damned.
She was in love. Felicity was in love, and it wasn’t with him.
He had missed his chance after all.
AUTHOR BIO: Despite being an avid reader and closet writer her whole life, Erin Knightley decided to pursue a sensible career in science. It was only after earning her B.S. and working in the field for years that she realized doing the sensible thing wasn’t any fun at all. Following her dreams, Erin left her practical side behind and now spends her days writing. An award winning and USA Today Bestselling author, she is living her own Happily Ever After in North Carolina with her tall, dark, and handsome husband and their three spoiled mutts.
Erin’s Favorite Things:
Baking—and eating the fruits of her labors (if only they were fruits!)
Water Sports of any kind, but wakesurfing in particular
Renovating, remodeling, and redecorating
Travel – and let’s not forget the joys of perfect packing!
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.
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.
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.
First, 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 enjoying 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.
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 watching 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 one 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.
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.
I was impressed by the filming of the ‘near rape’ from Claire’s perspective, giving us a ‘dream like’ view and speed. And 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
@caitrionambalfe 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
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?
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?
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!
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
****** ~~~~~~~ ******
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?
Be honest; how uncomfortable/comfortable are the corsets?
Not too bad. I’m used to them now.
Favorite between scenes pastime
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
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!
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.
The 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.
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 woman!], 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!
Watching 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!
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’s 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!
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!
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.
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.
Nonetheless, 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 the ‘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 thing 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 ease 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 guilty, 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 both 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 fingers 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 the 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 wants 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 not 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 scotch 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 necessary. 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, down 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 this 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.
Oh 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’.
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!
*PHOTO CREDIT STARZ; and some screencaps [you’ll know which those are!]
It’s Monday and I’m still trying to process this last episode.
Below are my thoughts about it and its characters. If you haven’t watched the episode, be aware that there are spoilers. As for all the rest of you that have seen it, I hope you stop by and give me your thoughts on it.
This episode starts and ends with hope. It starts where it ended last week, at the brook with Lt. Foster offering assistance to Claire, if she needs it and she tells him she is indeed a guest of MacKenzie’s but he insists for her to accompany him to Ft. William and meet his commanding officer, which she has no choice but do, Dougal in tow. She is actually happy about being among her people and is hopeful in soliciting their help in escorting her to Inverness.
Well, after meeting some English officers and a few glasses of wine, our Claire gets a bit too comfy and just then, in walks Captain Randall. And from there on, I’m now sure everything will go south. But not Claire! She’s full of hope that one of these noble English officers will sympathize and offer her an escort. After all, these are her people. I loved watching her entertain all these men, but once she proved not to be just an ‘English Rose’ but a woman with a mind, all those men just ran for the hills and abandoned her to one of the best tête-à-tête sessions I’ve ever seen. This was her only hope to convince Captain Randall to help her get to Inverness and let me tell you, our girl tries very hard, but this man can read her like a book.
He’s not buying any of it, and in the end tells her so. He is plainly playing her like a harpsichord [btw, wasn’t that the instrument playing as she’s dining with the those pompous asses?!], and even I can see her wheels churning as to how to reach this man that reminds her so much of her beloved Frank. Captain Randall wants her to corroborate the fact that MacKenzie is a Jacobite and she’s playing dumb, telling him she knows no such thing.
At this point he tells her that if she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll employ other tactics to get at the truth [SHUT THE F* UP CLAIRE!]. I just knew she couldn’t let this one pass by! She tells him she’s heard of ‘his tactics’ before. They earned him quite the reputation at Castle Leoch. You could see that Black Jack was itching to talk about this particular case of inflicting pain and administering his own brand of justice to a young man who had already been flogged with 100 lashes just a few days ago. He deemed it appropriate to give him another 100 for having been found with bread in his possession.
And here is where we get to go into the mind of a monster. What a trip! Hell and damnation, but this is one sick SOB! The way he describes himself, his victim and the act of flogging is very disturbing. But to watch the said act as he is describing it is beyond anything I’ve ever read [excluding the Bible] or seen [excluding Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’]. The scene is brutal in its honesty. If this scene was visually and emotionally hard to watch, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been on the actors in it. Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies were brilliant. Those scenes opened the eyes of the audience as to the strength of this young man, but most of all, we were let into a dark mind of a monster.
No normal, sane human would ever enjoy describing his actions as form of bonding and connecting to his victim by flaying him to the bone. No normal, sane human would refer to that heinous act as ‘bloody masterpiece’. However, an insane, sadistic man would and did.
“I think all they could see was the horror. I could see the beauty. I saw the truth. That boy and I, we were creating a masterpiece, an exquisite, bloody masterpiece. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Black Jack Randall
Our Claire finally and irrevocably gets the picture, but still, deep within her heart tries to reach him by offering what little understanding she can. Both are trying to explain his darkness by using war as an excuse, but I’m not buying it! BULL! This guy relishes his darkness and he’s not willing to leave it.
“I dwell in darkness, madam. Darkness is where I belong. I need none of your sympathy and you‘ll get none from me.” – Black Jack Randall
Now let me back up a minute here. It’s noteworthy to mention that the scene between BJR and Claire took in the garrison’s dining room and only the two of them were there. It was actually exhilarating and amazing to watch the exchange.
To some, this episode may have been boring [once more I say to each their own] but to me, they were tension filled; riveting; painful; absorbing; revealing. And when I say revealing, I don’t only mean ‘character revealing’, I mean it also as showing me the caliber of both, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies, acting abilities. HOLY SHIT but they are brilliant. I couldn’t avert my eyes from Claire’s eyes. This woman’s quiet tears were falling unchecked to her bosom while staring at this man who is oh so casually talking about flogging a man almost unto death. You can see that she is in pain as much as loathing, wishes with all her might to somehow reach deep inside this man, and try to fix him. Well, that is until he sucker punches her! All bets are off now! Kudos to Caitriona Balfe for once more showing us how strong she is in this role.
This might have been Tobias Menzies’ finest hour, but he needed someone like her to bring this all out, and boy she held her own! The same could be said for Sam Heughan. Tobias Menzies needed him as well to pull this scene off. In the end, all three did an outstanding job and this show continues to bring it’s A game, as I give props to the writers, directors, show runner, producers, costumes, music [OMG this was great too], and finally those hard-working makeup artists that had me squirm as I watched Jamie’s back.
The end of this episode came quickly as usual and I whooped as Dougal once again saves the day by whisking Claire out of the garrison, with BJR telling him he’s not done with her and to bring her back for further questioning on the morrow. Dougal may have saved her but he still doesn’t trust her and while they stop by this creek, he once more asks claire, while she’s drinking the sulfurous water from the creek, is she an English or french spy [all the while hiding his dirk behind his back] and at this Claire is pissed as hell for having to repeat it over and over that she’s just plain Claire Beecham. Lo and behold, he says he believes her and the reason for it?!
The magic spring! Yeah! If she was lying, she’d be dead by now from water eating her gizzard out! So now that he trusts her not to be a spy, he finally wants to protect her by making her a Scot. And the only way to do that, is for her to be married to one. No, not him but we now know it will be Jamie she’ll be marrying if he’s willing, which HELLO! He sure is and I’m loving this ending and I can finally exhale!
What did you think about this episode? Did you buy into BJR’s excuse? Were you able to watch the flogging? What did you think of Cait’s performance in this episode? And Sam’s? And Tobias’s?
“Doesn’t it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” – Claire
“No,” Jamie says, “So long as it doesn’t bother you that I am.” – Jamie Fraser
Here is preview for next week’s episode “The Wedding”