I know, usually we have a funny list to share, but today we’re going to give you a book review instead! Now, I’ve read the Outlander series, but none of the companion novellas. So we thought, why not read it and see if the magic of Outlander is fully realized in these mini books. I will warn you, A Leaf on the Wind of all Hallows does contain SPOILERS if you’re not caught up with the main series. I’ll try to keep the facts as vague as possible, but I’m going to be real, this post will contain some teensy book spoilers! And there’s an extra historical list hidden at the bottom for you to enjoy!
Gonne be real, I was one giddy mother f*cker when I saw that Diana Gabaldon had written companion novellas. I’ve been in a book droughtlander since July of 2014 when I closed the last page of Written in my own Heart’s Blood. It was a dark time in my life, so I wrote my own Scottish romance series to fill the kiltless void! But that’s a whole other post.
Now, last warning before I lay some little tasty spoilers all up in this post. Good? Good.
We all know the sad tale of Roger MacKenzie Wakefield. His father, a pilot in WWII is downed while on a secret mission on All Hallow’s Eve, his body never recovered. His mother, killed in the air raids that decimated parts of London. And little Roger, taken in by his uncle, Reverend Wakefield.
Roger’s father, Jeremiah “Jerry” MacKenzie was mourned and forgotten in time, just listed as another casualty of war. But as we learned in Outlander, thinking someone is dead is sometimes just a mask of the truth. And the truth for Jerry was that he didn’t die in a plane crash in 1941. Instead, he touched a humming stone and was thrown through time to 1739.
Now, not everyone can be as lucky as Claire. She stepped through time and into the bed of our favorite Scot. Jerry was thrown into a strange land, wearing strange clothes, and doesn’t have the luxury of pretending to merely be a lost woman in the woods. People attack him, chase him, and few believe he’s really a confused traveler. But as time goes on, Jerry knows he needs to get back to the stones he originally touched. He’s not certain, but he feels that it is the only way to go home.
This book was 6/6 gold slippers, five gold stars, and two for you, Glenn Coco. I laughed, I cried…well, mostly cried. You’re rooting for poor Jerry to get back to his wife and infant son and you don’t know what becomes of him, or what time period he finally comes to. It was an emotional read and brought back the same heartsick feelings the Outlander Series does. It also brings in several familiar faces that we didn’t expect to see. So if you’re wandering through the droughtlander, like me, pick up a copy of A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows.
We can’t just leave you with a book review and no fun facts! So here’s a few things, related to A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows.
This is, more or less, what Jerry would have worn when he went missing.The jumpsuit was a part of the uniform, and the boots were made to be sturdy and warm, as it’s colder flying than you think. I have my pilot’s license, and I can tell you that it’s pretty chilly up there. Add in the fact that WWII pilots flew in all weather, being warm was top priority. Of course, the hat is for his dress uniform, and he would have been wearing a flying cap and goggles. Most importantly, well in Hallows, Jerry would have had his trusty dog tags on hand.
The London Air Raids
The bombings that took the life of Roger’s mother is known as The Blitz, from the German word for lighting, “Blitzkrieg”. It was a series of highly destructive air raids where the German air force aimed their attacks on warehouses, governmental buildings, and community areas where the public could be congregating. These attacks mainly happened in the evenings. Loud air raid sirens would go off and the Londoners would flee their homes, heading into the sparse communal shelters. But most would end up in the London underground. The tunnels were deep enough to muffle the sounds of bombs around them and were relatively safe, save for a direct hit to a station. To this day, in some of the older tunnels and the ones that were never put back into use, they still find things left by the citizens who stayed there for safety.
Operation Pied Piper
If little Roger hadn’t been taken in by his uncle, he might have been one of the many children involved in Operation Pied Piper. This governmental-based operation took children out of the dangerous city centers, the target’s of the German bombers, and sent them to “safe zones”. They could be sent to the British countryside, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, and even the United States. A handful of them even made it through a wardrobe and into a magical land. Most of these children were voluntarily sent away by their parents, who often couldn’t just pick up and leave their jobs, and went to stay in group homes or with families. Orphans were sent as well, and Roger could have been relocated to another country, or continent, never meeting Claire or Bree.
In theory, Operation Pied Piper was a great idea, but the reality was much darker. The children were traumatized at being ripped away from their parents and the host families literally picked who they took in. If a child was too ugly, not strong enough for farm work, or too old, then they could be passed by or drug around to different cities. Pedophilia and abuse were also rampant, as no one could check in on the safety of the children. And some children never went home again.
That’s it for Outlander Saturday!
Sarah and I both have books out now, so if you like our posts, you’ll probably love our books! First Semester is a thrilling college romance that you can get HERE. Queen of Emeralds is a historic romance set in the highlands that you can get HERE.