Outlander Book Club: A Breath of Snow and Ashes Chapter 97 breakdown

Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 6 -- Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /
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Outlander Season 6 — Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ
Outlander Season 6 — Courtesy of Robert Wilson/STARZ /

Just the Outlander chapter

The chapter starts with Claire waiting for Jamie to return to the ship that morning. When she sees a boat, she realizes that it’s not Jamie. It’s Tom. Initially, all our hearts sink, but it turns out that Tom is there for a good reason.

This is when we find out a lot about Tom’s past. Claire’s hair has always reminded him of his wife’s hair. It made him conflicted when it came to Claire. While he does love her, he struggles with the likeness to his wife. It turns out that the whole reason he knows Claire wasn’t a witch is because he knew his wife was one.

Also, Malva wasn’t his biological daughter. Malva was born while Tom was in Ardsmuir. He also found out that his wife was hanged for being a witch while he was in prison. Who was the father? Tom’s brother. When Tom’s brother dies, Tom ends up taking Malva in. This is while Tom is in the Colonies as an indentured servant. Fortunately, the owner of the contract arranges for Malva and Allan to be brought to Tom.

Tom also remarries. However, his master and his wife both end up dying of Yellow Fever. With that, Tom ends up a free man and he finds a group of fisherfolk looking for a new home. Hearing about Fraser’s Ridge, he takes them there.

We also find out how Tom and Claire ended up sick. This was Malva’s fault. Tom found some of the Sin Eater’s bones and other body parts in her basket, and Malva tells him that she used what Claire taught her to try to kill them both. She wanted to make it look like the sickness at the Ridge took them. Malva wanted Jamie, and she would do what it took to get him. One thing Tom knows is that Claire didn’t kill Malva, and he doesn’t want to see her executed for something she didn’t do.

So, despite knowing he didn’t do it, he decides to tell the governor that he killed Malva. This will mean Claire gets to walk away free.

It’s hard not to feel something for Tom in this chapter. He’s had a life of pain and heartbreak. Jamie and Claire’s own pain and heartbreak don’t take away from that, even though Tom isn’t as “good” as Jamie. In the end, he does something good for Claire, even if he didn’t actually kill Malva. Nor does he know who did or who the real father of the baby is. There are still mysteries to be solved.