Outlander Book Club: Book 1, Chapter 40 breakdown

Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy fo STARZ
Outlander Season 1 -- Courtesy fo STARZ /
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Outlander Season 1 — Courtesy fo STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

We start the chapter with the big confession. Claire asks to confess to Anslem. There may be others at the abbey who are better at taking confession, but Claire has already built a relationship with Anslem. She trusts him.

She wants to confess her ability to time travel. She talks about murder and potential adultery. It’s an important chapter, giving us a chance to see the risk that Claire is taking but the trust that she holds.

Anslem is just the person for her to talk to. He doesn’t judge or call her a witch. In fact, in the book, he admits that this is a miracle. If he can believe his Lord fed thousands with two loaves of bread and five fish, how could he not believe that this is another miracle?

He takes time to consider the murder and adultery confession. He doesn’t just want to tell Claire something that she wants to hear but wants to get advice from God. That advice is good. He believes that Claire has been sent to the past for a reason. That could mean a changed future, but he points out that her actions in her own time would change some outcomes down the line. She’d save people that may not necessarily have been saved without her.

As for adultery, he doesn’t think she’s committed it. This is a common sticking point for many fans. Did Claire cheat on Frank? Anslem believes that as they are in two time periods, it is impossible for adultery to happen. Her marriage to Frank is still to come when looking at time as a linear pattern.

Anslem also admits that Frank has likely moved on. He thinks that Claire going back could disrupt something good there. And he points out that she married Jamie. She didn’t choose Jamie on a whim but based on vows that she took.

It’s a lot to think about, but we don’t stick with this for too long. Claire wants to see Jamie, who has taken a walk in the freezing cold. Murtagh didn’t let him go, but Jamie jumped out of the window. So, Claire rides off to find him.

He needed time to think and he’d been fed up of being cooped up in the abbey. However, he does need to get back with blue lips and toes.

When back, Jamie opens up a little more about what happened at Wentworth Prison. He explains how Randall wanted Jamie to say “I love you” to him, and he called Jamie “Alex.” Jamie thinks that Randall is referring to his middle name, but Claire thinks about the family tree she saw. Alex is Black Jack Randall’s younger brother.

There’s then a moment when Claire starts to think about Frank and Black Jack Randall. If Randall has died at Wentworth, how can Frank still be alive? She notes that the ring on her finger is proof that Frank is still around, but it would mean his lineage has changed.

I do wish that this was used in the show. Something that I got annoyed about all the way up to the reveal that Alex was Frank’s direct ancestor was that Claire never once wondered about Frank. When she believed Randall to be dead, she never thought about what that would have meant for Frank in the future. How could he have still been alive?

But if Frank wasn’t alive, why would Claire have gone through the stones? How would she have met Jamie? At least the books mentioned Claire’s theory.

We end the chapter with Claire and Jamie making love. They are finding their way back to each other. After the fear of shame, Jamie is finding his way back to Claire and also back to himself.