• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

Happy Birthday, Claire!

#Excerpt #OUTLANDER #HappyBirthdayClaire

[From OUTLANDER, Chapter 25]

“I believe you,” he said firmly. “I dinna understand it a bit—not yet—but I believe you. Claire, I believe you! Listen to me! There’s the truth between us, you and I, and whatever ye tell me, I shall believe it.” He gave me a gentle shake.

“It doesna matter what it is. You’ve told me. That’s enough for now. Be still, _mo nighean donn_. Lay your head and rest. You’ll tell me the rest of it later. And I’ll believe you.”

I was still sobbing, unable to grasp what he was telling me. I struggled, trying to pull away, but he gathered me up and held me tightly against himself, pushing my head into the folds of his plaid, and repeating over and over again, “I believe you.”

At last, from sheer exhaustion, I grew calm enough to look up and say, “But you _can’t_ believe me.”

He smiled down at me. His mouth trembled slightly, but he smiled.

“Ye’ll no tell _me_ what I canna do, Sassenach.” He paused a moment. “How old are ye?” he asked curiously. “I never thought to ask.”

The question seemed so preposterous that it took me a minute to think.

“I’m twenty-seven…or maybe twenty-eight,” I added. That rattled him for a moment. At twenty-eight, women in this time were usually on the verge of middle-age.

“Oh,” he said. He took a deep breath. “I thought ye were about my age—or younger.”

He didn’t move for a second. But then he looked down and smiled faintly at me. “Happy Birthday, Sassenach,” he said.

It took me completely by surprise and I just stared stupidly at him for a moment. “What?” I managed at last.

“I said, ‘Happy Birthday.’ It’s the twentieth of October today.”

“It is?” I said dumbly. “I’d lost track.” I was shaking again, from cold and shock and the force of my tirade. He drew me close against him and held me, smoothing his big hands lightly over my hair, cradling my head against his chest. I began to cry again, but this time with relief. In my state of upheaval, it seemed logical that if he knew my real age and still wanted me, then everything would be all right.

Jamie picked me up, and holding me carefully against his shoulder, carried me to the side of the fire, where he had laid the horse’s saddle. He sat down, leaning against the saddle, and held me, light and close.

A long time later, he spoke.

“All right. Tell me now.”

I told him. Told him everything, haltingly but coherently. I felt numb from exhaustion, but content, like a rabbit that has outrun a fox, and found temporary shelter under a log. It isn’t sanctuary, but at least it is respite. And I told him about Frank.

“Frank,” he said softly. “Then he isna dead, after all.”

“He isn’t _born_.” I felt another small wave of hysteria break against my ribs, but managed to keep myself under control. “Neither am I.”

He stroked and patted me back into silence, making his small murmuring Gaelic sounds.

“When I took ye from Randall at Fort William,” he said suddenly, “you were trying to get back. Back to the stones. And…Frank. That’s why ye left the grove.”


“And I beat you for it.” His voice was soft with regret.

“You couldn’t know. I couldn’t tell you.” I was beginning to feel very drowsy indeed.

“No, I dinna suppose ye could.” He pulled the plaid closer around me, tucking it gently around my shoulders. “Do ye sleep now, _mo nighean donn_. No one shall harm ye; I’m here.”

I burrowed into the warm curve of his shoulder, letting my tired mind fall through the layers of oblivion. I forced myself to the surface long enough to ask, “Do you really believe me, Jamie?”

He sighed, and smiled ruefully down at me.

“Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha’ been a good deal easier if you’d only been a witch.”


51 Responses »

  1. Happy birthday Claire. Today it’s my 30th wedding anniversary. You are a terrific author. Keep writing Diana.

  2. I love that passage. The relief and release… Happy Birthday, Claire!

  3. One of my favorite all-time parts of the beginning of their relationship. Happy birthday to Claire. Thank you, Diana!

  4. Happy Birthday to Claire! My birthday is tomorrow. October is a wonderful month in which to have a birthday! Hugs!

  5. Love this line: “Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha’ been a good deal easier if you’d only been a witch.”

    I use it as my “signature” line at the Outlander Book Club.

    Happy birthday Claire!

  6. Synchronicity!
    Caitriona’s birthday is October 4th — sharing the same month and sign (Libra) as Claire’s October 20th. And Sam’s birthday is April 30th — born one day before Jamie’s May 1st birth. Both of them Taurus – the perfect sign for a stubborn and passionate Scot. How wonderfully perfect is that?

    (from another passionate and wee bit stubborn Taurean)

    • I forgot Claire was a Libra. I am too although I’m September. Great to know Catriona is a Libra as well. No wonder I love Claire so much!

  7. Just finished Outlander. Can’t wait to start Dragonfly In Amber! Just wondering Diana, are you going to come to Flagstaff for a book signing?

  8. I have enjoyed the first part of the tv series of Outlander…lived for it each week… The characters and scenery are wonderful . Happy Birthday to Claire today , love all you’ve written , Thanks Diana


  10. Happy Belated Birthday Claire!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love Everything you write Diana!!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait til Spring!!!!!!!!!!!! My Favorite episodes so far are………of course the wedding………..husband didn’t like it……….he didn’t like the last 2, he thought they were slow……….. I Winced in Pain when I watched the flogging episode……….cant wait for the rest!!!!!!!!!! T

  11. I regret that I have not read your works until now, but “to everything there is a season”. Thank you for introducing me to Jamie and Claire. Your writing is so visual, and I hear them speak through the pages. Warmly, Deborah

  12. Can you share with us if you have sketched in how many books in the future that the TV series might go?

  13. The twentieth of October is my birthday too!!! :-)
    Diana, can you make my (belated) birthday wish come true and visit The Netherlands soon?? :-) That would be great!!

    xxxx Emy

  14. I love the unselfish act that Jaime’s love for Claire to release her. It’s ironic because I was reading this on October 20th, and thought to myself Happy Birthday Claire wherever you are!

  15. For the love of all that’s holy, everyone–keep watching!!!!

  16. Being a Libra myself I can say I relate to the birthday girl, Happy birthday Claire.

  17. October 20 is a magical date for me also. On this date 37 years ago two scared kids tied the knot. And it still remains tightly tied! =)

  18. I don’t know why I didn’t catch that Claire’s birthday is the same as me!

    No wonder I adore her!

    Thank you so much – I’ve loved the books, and now the Starz series is meeting my high expectations!

  19. I have read all 8 books since the TV series began. Now I can’t wait for the next book!! I listened to the first few books on tape in my car back in the 90′ s I didn’t have time to read then with 4 children. Now they are all grown and through college and on their own and I have time to read!! I hope all the books get made in the series. I love all the actors. They seem perfect in their roles. Jasmine actually looks like I thought he would!! In the last book Claire is almost my age that I am now. I was born the same year as Diana. Only in April. I’m a Taurus like Jamie!!

  20. This and the witch trial scenes were what hooked me into Outlander. I was wandering through Borders looking for something new to read when I spotted this beautifully bound red book. It had a ribbon marker so I opened it up to that page and started reading. The first line I saw was “I draw it in defense of this woman and the truth. If any here be against those two, they’ll answer to me and then God in that order.” I thought, “well, that’s pretty badass…” so I kept reading. When Jamie said the line, “It would have been easier if you’d only been a witch.” I laughed out loud and immediately bought the book. I figured 600+ pages should last me awhile, but I read it in about 3 days! Couldn’t put it down. When I found out it was a 7 book series, I was as happy as a kid at Christmas! I’ve read them all, including the Lord John series and just love them. Thank you for such a wonderful story!

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