Claire is brought to Castle Leoch under suspicion as an English spy. Learning that the year is 1743, she tries to arrange travel back to the standing stones. Colum MacKenzie uses her ability as a healer as an excuse to detain her.
Claire's abilities as a healer puts her at odds with the town priest when she saves a boy's life, and deepens the suspicions against her. Hearing a folk-tale, Claire realizes that she may be able to travel back through the stones to Frank.
The Gathering shows Claire's attempt at her first real planned escape. The run-ins she has with various characters on the way include a major run-in with Dougal, and yet another moment with Jamie alone - building their relationship. Also an oath-taking ceremony could have awful results if not handled carefully.
Claire goes on the road with Dougal as he collects rents from the tenants. She meets the clans solicitor who is riding with them. She also becomes aware of Dougal's involvement in trying to raise money for the Jacobite rebellion.
Claire and Dougal are questioned at the local garrison, and Dougal is treated with hostility and disdain by the British occupiers. Claire lets down her guard, but her headstrong opinions get her into trouble again, and she discovers the true nature of Black Jack Randall when left alone with him.
Marriage to a Scot seems to be the only legal way out to save Claire from falling into the paws of Black Jack Randall. And Jamie accepts to become her husband and protect her. Claire is overwhelmed by circumstances that are forcing her into becoming an adulteress and a bigamist. The hasty marriage takes place and, in order to be legal, it must be consummated that night.
In 1945, Frank is still seeking Claire, but is starting to lose hope of ever finding her. Meanwhile in 1743, Claire is trying to come to terms with her marriage to Jamie. While traveling, a life changing opportunity arises.