Review: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

Letters from Skye is, truly, unputdownable, one of the rare novels that sweeps the reader away and does not let go. In 1912 Elspeth Dunn is a published poet, living as a recluse on the Scottish island of Skye. Skye is her world, Elspeth never traveled beyond, fearing to cross the waters separating the remote island from the British mainland territory. She is astonished to receive her very first fan letter from Chicago (of all places) college student David Graham.  Elspeth and David strike up a long-distance friendship, which, after years of correspondence, turns to love, even though the two never met in person and Elspeth is married. As the first World War rages in Europe and Elspeth’s husband Iain goes missing, David signs up as a volunteer ambulance driver to the French front.

In 1940, Elspeth is a secretive single mother, living in Edinburg with her daughter Margaret. As Elspeth and Margaret quarrel over the latter’s apparent feelings for a RAF pilot, Elspeth insists that nothing good may come of the search for love in war time. The second World War reopened Elspeth’s old wounds; Margaret starts to question what happened with her mother during the last global conflict, a bomb hits their street and Elspeth disappears, leaving behind a single mysterious letter from an American named Davey to a woman named Sue. Margaret begins the search for her mother and starts to unravel the secrets that shook Elspeth Dunn’s family during World War I.

Letters from Skye is a marvel-of-a-novel that has now conquered a very special place in my reader’s heart. It’s a historical novel, but also one of the most touching and poetic love stories a reader may get a chance to encounter. Elspeth and Davey are soulmates, divided by distance and consequence.  They haven’t met each other, but you are with them as they fall in love, and there’s a tremendous beauty in their story, they’re smart, funny and full of life. In short, they feel real. As the timeline skips back and forth between the 1910s and the 1940s, you understand that something dreadful happened during the first World War, but all of my guesses came short of what really took place.

Overall: 5*

10 things to expect: Outlander Season 2

As the cruel reality of droughtlander starts to settle in, time to look forward to season two. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the season promises adventure, heartbreak and surprises. Major ones, if you’re new to the Outlander series universe. Here are the 10 things I would be looking forward to on Season 2.

Some spoilers behind the jump.

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Outlander: Sassenach

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,
Say, could that lass be I?

The first episode of Outlander is finally here, and as an excited fangirl I can barely hide my contentment. I have been waiting ten years to see the adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s masterpiece, the most loyal fans have stuck with the series for almost as long as I walk this earth, cause it’s just that good. Here’s a spoiler-free review for all the folks that might be tuning in next week.

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First-off, the first episode of the show is really faithful to the book. And I mean it. Of course there are minor alterations (steamy Claire/Frank scenes in the castle leaves no objections), changes of dialogue and actual scenes that were mentioned in the book as a passing flashback, but it doesn’t matter. Starz set off to adapt one of the most epic novels of the last 25 years and the beginning of the season looks more than promising.

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Favorite scenes aside from all the Jamie and Claire smolder?  The ghost. One of my favorite scenes from the whole book; and the dance of the druids. Gives you goose bumps.

Outlander druid dance scene]

The cinematography is glorious. Outlander crew has managed to capture Scotland’s landscape and spirit so beautifully, it takes your breath away. Feels like the trailers didn’t even remotely give the show’s beauty justice. Besides, the show has probably the most amazing opening sequence ever.

Gaelic. Ladies and gentlemen, no subtitles here. It’s a pleasure to hear the language of the Scottish Highlands on screen and it is hilarious to realize that I have been pronouncing it all wrong.every.time.

The cast just walked off the pages of the book. Fairly speaking a lot of Outlander fans seemed not much convinced about the casting, specifically Sam Heughan who plays Jamie Fraiser. I wasn’t either, but after the episode – well, I’ll be damned. Diana Gabaldon was very convinced, and so should be you. Caitrona Balfe playing Claire brilliantly portrays all the complexity of her character, her confusion and disbelief as she falls through the stones and her fierce spirit. The Claire/Jamie chemistry oozes off the screen. Tobias Menzies’ as Frank Randall is really good, but it’s Captain “Black” Jack Randall that captivates the viewers with his dangerous presence.

Jamie Claire

Readers from the US, you can check out the first episode of the show on YouTube here.

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Outlander, a brief intro

It arrived unexpectedly, then all at once. The realization that there’s just one month until Outlander premieres on Starz and the romantic, dangerous and magical adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s bestseller set in Scotland will hit the TV screens. After years of waiting, Outlander is set to become the second biggest series adaptation on  television after HBO’s Game of Thrones, and here’s a brief introduction to what may hopefully be one of the biggest show of the coming season.

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