|“||You're right; they're not all brave. Most of them—of us—we're just... there, and we do our best. Most of the time.||”|
— Frank, A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows
Frank Randall is an English-born historian in the 20th century. He is married to Claire Beauchamp Randall, and has one daughter, Brianna Randall. He traces his lineage back to Jonathan Randall, an English officer involved with the Jacobite Rising in 1745, and Mary Hawkins.
Little about Frank's early life before meeting Claire is known.
Meeting and marrying ClaireEdit
Frank first met Claire when he came to consult her uncle, Quentin Beauchamp, an archaeologist and historian, about a point of French philosophy as it related to Egyptian religious practice. After a period of time, they were married, and spent a brief two-day honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, followed by a year together before the outbreak of World War II.
Claire and Frank were separated for most of the war. Frank trained as an officer, and Claire as a nurse, and both served their country in their respective roles for the duration. They were able to correspond through letters, though once Frank was recruited by MI6, his letters grew more infrequent. Once the war was over, Claire and Frank reunited in 1945 (1946 in Cross Stitch) and decided to have a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands to reestablish their marriage. They stayed in a town called Inverness in the north of Scotland, which was situated near an ancient stone circle.
Events of the NovelsEdit
While in Inverness, Frank visits a Mr. Bainbridge, a solicitor with an interest in local history, and the Rev. Dr. Reginald Wakefield, a vicar who also has an interest in history. Frank is particularly interested in records concerning his ancestor Jonathan Randall, who was a captain of dragoons in the 18th century.
Returning from his meeting with Mr. Bainbridge, Frank is rather startled to see a man dressed in Highland garb, complete with kilt, sporran, plaid, and a running stag brooch, looking up at Claire's window. Recounting this encounter to Claire, Frank realizes what seemed odd about the man – the strong wind did not disturb his clothing at all – and so Frank says that he believes he was a ghost. Claire ventures out with Mr. Crook, who shares with her knowledge about local plants and their uses, and shows her the circle of standing stones on a hill called Craigh na Dun.
She later tells Frank about it, and he jumps at the chance to see the local "witches" perform their customary rites for Beltane. They arrive early enough to watch the local women chant and dance for the ritual, and Frank wants to examine the ground for other traces of fire, but is unable to when a dancer returns to the circle and lingers. Later that day, Claire is trying to figure out the species of a flower she had seen at the circle, and Frank suggests she go back to find it the next day, and while she's there to check for signs of scorched ground, in the interest of satisfying his curiosity about the witches' ritual.
After Claire leaves their bed and breakfast to return to the standing stones, she does not return. Unbeknownst to Frank at the time, Claire had fallen through the cleft in the main stone and been transported back in time to 1743, smack into his ancestor, Black Jack Randall.
In 1968, Claire explains to Roger Wakefield that her husband, Frank Randall, had died two years ago.
It is revealed through a series of flashbacks that Claire and Frank's relationship was deeply troubled. On the last night of Frank's life, they argue heatedly about Frank's announcement that he is moving to England without Claire, and intends to take Brianna with him. Frank goes so far as to accuse Claire of having an affair with her friend from medical school, Joe Abernathy, a black man, and expresses concern about Brianna spending time with Joe's son, Lenny, and "those people" in general. Claire retorts by saying she is aware that Frank has had extramarital relationships with at least six women over the past twenty years, and she suggests he is leaving her for one of them, revealing that more than one of them came and asked her to leave Frank. Claire wonders aloud why Frank never asked for a divorce, and surmises it was because of Brianna. They exchange words about the past twenty years, and the matter of Brianna's father. When Claire admits she would never have forgotten about Jamie, even without Brianna as a constant reminder, Frank storms out and leaves in his car. Early the next morning, while Claire is at the hospital checking on a patient, an ambulance brings Frank's body in. His car had slid on the ice and crashed, and he had died instantly.
Roger Wakefield MacKenzie finds a letter Frank sent to the Reverend Wakefield, and brings it with him into the eighteenth century where he shows it to Jamie Fraser. The letter reveals Frank's side of the story during his marriage to Claire and why he did the things he did. Frank, in the letter, begged the Reverend for absolution for his sins and said that he was sorry for how he had treated Claire. He had been diagnosed with an incurable heart condition and wanted forgiveness before he died. The letter also reveals that he had found historical records of James Fraser and Claire and realised that Claire's story of time travel through the stones was true. It was in this way that he discovered that Jamie had survived the battle of Culloden. Not wanting to lose her, and afraid of what she would do if she heard that Jamie lived, he chose not to tell her about it. He ordered a gravestone to be built in the kirkyard of St Kilda with Jamie's name on it, thinking that Brianna would see it if she ever came there and possibly ask Claire about it. This was as far as he was willing to go; he felt that Bree deserved and had the right to learn about her true heritage.
Bree finds a draft of a letter addressed to her in the laird's study in Lallybroch, but is confronted by Rob Cameron before she can finish reading it.
Brianna fully reads the letter from Frank, first seen in An Echo in the Bone. In the letter Frank warns Brianna of the danger she is in from MI6, who will hunt her down if they ever discover her time-travelling abilities. He tells her to leave the twentieth century and seek refuge in the eighteenth century where her biological father Jamie will protect her.
Generally a warm and gentle man, Frank can become somewhat aloof when focused on his work. Although he is quite good at being a historian and professor, he admits that it isn't quite the same "calling" as Claire's medical vocation. In later years, he tends toward secrecy and reticence in his relationship with Claire, though he doesn't shy away from arguing with her.
Frank is described as a handsome, dark-haired man, with wide hazel eyes in an aristocratic face, and a lithe, slender build. Claire remembers his hands as elegant, long-fingered and narrow, smooth and hairless as a girl's.
- Franklin comes from an English surname which was derived from Middle English frankelin "freeman".
- Wolverton is an English habitational name from any of various places named Wolverton, as for example the one in Buckinghamshire, or from Woolverton in Somerset or Wolferton in Norfolk, all of which are named from the Old English personal name Wulfhere + -ing- denoting association + tun ‘farmstead’, ‘settlement’.
- Randall derives from the given name Randel, which is a medieval diminutive form of names (e.g. Randolf) beginning with the Germanic element rand meaning "rim (of a shield)".
- Frank's exact age is not given in the series, though it is indicated that Frank was about 10 years older than Claire.
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