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  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

A Stubborn Mind (Book Nine)

Facebook Hashtags: #DailyLines, #BookNine, #AStubbornMind

"But you told Frances—you promised her that no one would take advantage of her. And I could have sworn she believed you!"

"Aye," Jamie said quietly. He picked up the piece of rock maple and his knife, and began mechanically cutting slivers. "Aye, I thought so, too—hoped so, at least."

I sat still, watching him.

"I suppose it was foolish," I said at last. "To think that reassurances and promises would be enough. I imagine we don’t know the half of what she saw, being raised in a brothel like a—a prize calf."

"And one knowing it was bound for slaughter?" he put in quietly. "Aye."

We lapsed into a strained silence, both thinking of Fanny. After a few moments, Jamie’s hands resumed their work, slowly, and a few moments later, he glanced at me.

"How many times did ye tell me Jack Randall was dead, Sassenach? How many times did I tell myself that?" The wood shavings fell in small, fragrant curls around his feet. "Some ghosts dinna leave ye easily—and ye ken fine that it’s her sister who’s haunting wee Frances."

"I suppose you’re right," I said unhappily. It wasn’t quite a shiver that I felt at mention of Jane—but a cold sadness that seemed to sink through my skin. "But surely there’s something we can do to help?"

"I expect there is." He set the cleaned stick of wood aside, and bent to sweep the shavings onto a sheet of paper. "Were we in reach of a priest, I should have a Mass said for the repose of her sister’s soul, to start with. If I can find one in Wilmington, we’ll do that. But otherwise… I’ll speak to Roger Mac about it." His mouth twisted wryly.

"I daresay Presbyterians dinna believe in exorcism, or prayers for the dead, either. But he’s a canny man, and he kens the heart; he may call it something else, but he’ll know what I mean—and he can speak wi’ Frances, and pray for her, I’m sure."

He shook the wood shavings into the fire, where they caught at once, curling into brightness and sending up a clean, sweet smoke. I came to stand behind him, watching them burn, and put my hands on his shoulders, warm and solid under my fingers. He leaned his head back against me and sighed, closing his eyes as he relaxed in the warmth. I bent my head and kissed the whorl of the cowlick on his crown.

"Mmphm," he said, and reached up a hand to take mine. "Ken, it works the other way, too."

"What does?"

"The stubbornness of a mind that willna let go." He squeezed my hand and looked up at me. "While we were parted, how many times did ye tell yourself I was dead, Sassenach?" he asked softly. "How often did ye try to forget me?"

I stood motionless, hand curled round his, until I thought I could speak.

"Every day," I whispered. "And never."

Go to my Book Nine webpage for more excerpts (Daily Lines)!

Originally posted on my Facebook page on February 8, 2016.

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28 Responses »

  1. I love the #booknine excerpts!

  2. Just as tantalising as ever! You certainly know how to whet our appetites.

  3. I’m just reading this and crying. Jamie ‘gets’ it – that is what makes him so wonderful.

  4. I just finished book 8. It almost could be the ending. I am hoping that 9 will be finished soon. I have read all the books since June 2015. I discovered them after I saw the outlander on Starz. I am anxiously waiting for the new season to begin so I can put the faces with the characters. I loved this series.

  5. I cannot wait to read this book! Thank you for the excerpts Diana!

  6. Diana,
    It’s been a few days since I watched the official trailer for the second season of Outlander ( DiA) show,
    but I’m still haunted by its powerful images!
    Even though we got only glimpses of what’s coming, what I saw impressed me greatly.
    The actors brilliant performance, the costumes and the scenery are all perfect.
    If the second season of the show is as good as the trailer hints to, it will be awesome!
    The show will give your book justice and set new standards for future productions.

    I like the idea of Murtagh being aware of Clair’s knowledge of the future events.
    Reading Dragonfly in Amber I suspected that he didn’t just blindly follow his beloved godson,
    but because the story was told by Claire, one could only speculate.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating the Outlander Saga.
    The Outlander world I imagine while reading your books became my personal parallel universe
    which I visit very frequently.

    With Best Wishes

    Iwona ( Ivona) Haidari

    • To be honest, I enjoy this series so much the release of this book 9 can be put off as long as it takes. The longer it takes the better the book as far as you are concerned. I know, as all your fans know, the story will end eventually. When that time comes I raise my glass to you. Thank you and everyone that had opened that first door for this wonderful book to evolve.

  7. Mrs. Gabaldon,
    Mòran taing! Last week I finished MOBY (a Sgt. Of mine recommended the Outlander series to me over a year ago and I read Outlander immediately. I loved it. I got Dragonfly on Amber and began it but when I thought Jamie was dead and Claire displaced (depending on your perspective) I put it down disgusted and didn’t pick it up again until November of 2015 and haven’t stopped reading the series until last week. Again mòran taing! You are easily one of the best authors I have read and you are now one of favorites. I am profoundly awed by the care that you employ in crafting each of your books. I am now working through the Lord John series as I wait for a Stubborn mind. You are inspiring. Third times a charm, Thank you!
    Looking forward,

  8. Ohh I was drawn back in in a moment. Thanks for the tidbits, Diana. I am content knowing you are writing your magical storyline and know it is going to be very rewarding for us, the fans. Jamie and Claire are, well, family, somehow.

  9. Being electronically challenged has hampered my search for a site that would allow me to thank you.
    Perseverance has won out! So, thank you, Diana, for your 8 completed novels and the pending birth of the ninth. Je suis prest for this next installment!

  10. Having come late to the Outlander books (September) thanks to a friend suggesting I watch the series, I still find the relationship between Jaime and Claire magical. That stubbornness of mind so essential to the longevity of marriage and love and lust and the deepening of caring and friendship and trust and respect and reliance on each other in the face of all that life can throw at them. I have read and reread all 8 books so many times since September and yet they still make me cry with the poignancy of that central relationship and the relationship they have with their extended family. I love every minute of inhabiting this world and am so grateful for these exerpts.

  11. Diana, Long time fan started reading Outlander in the early 90′s and looked forward to each subsequent book. I found a way to get Starz without cable sine it is now available on Amazon. So after 20 years since reading Dragonfly in Amber I anxiously await season two. Loved season one! Which I watched with my 86 yrs old mother and my husband. We heard you speak at the Decatur book festival many years ago. I still look forward to book #9. Thank you for bringing Jamie and Claire to life so vividly. My imagined characters did look differently than Sam And Catriona but they do make a handsome couple.
    Sincerely, Mary T James of Atlanta, Georgia

  12. I love your book.
    I am waiting the two season in Italy.
    It will be fantastic.

  13. I have just begun book 6….& I am totally lost!! I am only able to borrow them as I am in India & I am sure that the end of the previous one had the (apparently prize winning?) lines at the end & I possibly misqote…”if don’t tell ye that I love ye when I die it will be because I havna the time” So now, onto page 50 odd with the death of Mrs Bug I feel that I have missed a huge chunk…WHEN did Brianna & family leave…how did they leave, (they are in Wilmington in the first chapter,) when were the Bugs dismissed, how did the fire occur when did Arch steal the gold & how? I feel as if I have somehow missed a complete book!!

  14. Jesus Mary and Joseph , I’m some excited for that next book!!!!! : )

  15. Diana,

    Frances is so fragile, so sweet. On the fan pages all the mothers want to hug Frances and remind her that she is under the protection of three great men, William, Jamie and Roger, and the Spirit of Jane. Her journey through life will always be colored by her experience in the brothel and Jane’s unhappy life. She is at the point of making choices…accept the love of a family or let the past rule everything in her future. We trust you, Diana….

  16. Sounds intriguing I wish it was out now!!

  17. I’m Italian. I love your books and my English is very poor.
    I would ask you if, after Outlander in TV, when you write your new pages, you
    imagine the characters’ appearance the same as the actors’ ones. Thanks. Rita

  18. I discovered Outlander in the 90′s and was forever hooked. Your writing is so vibrant, passionate and real; I am transported right there with Claire and Jaime. I have Starz just to see the series – Sam (be still my heart) and Catriona are perfect! You are fabulous and I am grateful for the joy of reading your works of art! Thank you.

  19. I’ve loved the Outlander series for years now and eagerly await book 9 . I love the way you draw the reader into the story. Stories that are compelling and enthralling making you laugh and cry. A real joy. As for the TV show, I watched it with some trepidation, not wanting my Jamie and Claire to be overshadowed by the actors involved. I loved it, thought both Sam and Catriona were brilliant, as was/ is Randall. Thank you for the many, many hours of pleasure you have given me.

  20. I’ve read all 8 books and so far they’re wonderful. I’m sort of looking forward to the ninth one. Only one mention of the younger Ian and that one worrisome. Wee Ian is my absolute favorite character. I really hope he’ll be staying around. Really hope there’s not a twist between Ian, William and Rachel a la North and South


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