Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


My first exposure to Outlander was on public transportation. I’d see women reading these huge tomes with simple covers. I had no idea what kind of story the series was about, but it seemed that the readers were very interested to want to carry such door stoppers with them.

outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Published: July 26th 2005 by Del
Format/Source: Purchased used paperback
Genre: Historical science fiction romance
Pages: 870

Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Review:

jokers5

My first exposure to Outlander was on public transportation. I’d see women reading these huge tomes with simple covers. I had no idea what kind of story the series was about, but it seemed that the readers were very interested to want to carry such door stoppers with them.

Felicia Day’s book club, Vaginal Fantasy, had this book as their January 2013 pick. I’m not very good at reading book clubs’ picks on time, but when I found a nice wide copy (wide so that the book was a little less of a little bowling bowl to carry) at the used book store, I picked it up.

Claire Beauchamp Randall is on her second honeymoon with husband Frank in a little Scottish village. They have been separated from each other for seven years during World War II and are trying to reacquaint themselves with each other. Frank loves history and books, and while he is studying his family history, Claire goes for a walk to the ancient stone formation (think a tiny Stonehenge) a short distance from the village. But the stones are awake and Claire tumbles through time to arrive in 1742.

There ends the paranormal piece of the story. In trying to find the other books in the series at bookstores, I never know whether to look under fiction, historical fiction, romance, or science fiction, because this book is all those things.

Claire ends up in the middle of growing tensions between the Scots and the English. As an Englishwoman, she is suspected to be a spy. Yet, as events unfold, she becomes intimately entangled with a younger Scottish highlander, James “Jamie” Fraser.

Cue blushing. I have not read many romance novels due to a prejudice against the genre borne from tacky Fabio covers in grocery stores. There is something that always seems to shout out, “Smut! Bad writing!” about those books, and therefore, (and wrongfully so) it has tainted my entire understanding of the romance genre. I don’t particularly enjoy romantic comedy movies, so why would I try them in the book medium?

Well, I have to say that I quite enjoyed Outlander. Sexy scenes, it has. Moments creating the ‘aww’ sound and a pining in your heart, yes. But it also has thrilling moments, where I felt so tense that I was concerned where the story was going—even though I spoiled much of the plot points and series points by refusing to say no to myself and looking at book club discussions and reviews. That in and of itself speaks volumes of the book for me: if I still wanted to finish it even though I had a rough understanding of the ending, then clearly I love the book. The historical fiction part of the story was great as well. The author has definitely done her research.

I’m not saying that the book is without faults. Many of the complaints some have brought up (Claire spends too much time treating Jamie’s numerous wounds; what was the point of the time travel element; her ability to get over Frank so quickly; the length of the story) have merit. Others, I completely disagree with.

I find my eyes opened to not just romance novels, but perhaps in search of my own Scottish highlander.

jokerssig

What do you think?

  • Julie says:

    I’ve been reading the Outlander series with my book club (actually, the one my co-blogger started) and while it is completely out of my normal reading comfort zone, it is just so intriguing and oh my the characters! So, I hope you keep reading the rest of the series :)

    • Michelle Michelle says:

      I know! I really want to keep reading it, but I am failing so bad at series lately. It’s nice to read a mature romance; something beyond the teen hormones. 😛

  • […] instead, romance discovers her.  Instead of giving a typical review – you can find Michelle’s here – I thought I would compare how the story translated from the pages to the television […]

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