Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Published by Delta, an imprint of Random House
Life has been in upheaval for Claire and Frank for some time. The majority of their married life was spent apart during World War II, where Claire acted as a nurse. Now is their time to reconnect on a romantic retreat in the Scottish highlands. One morning on their vacation, Claire heads up to an old stone circle (a la Stonehenge). As she nears the structure she begins to hear odd sounds and suddenly is whisked 200 years back in time where she is rescued/kidnapped by a group of Scottish clansmen. One of them, a young man in his early 20s named Jaime, has been badly injured and Claire immediately uses her nursing skills to help heal him. The longer Claire spends in the 18th century, the more time she and Jaime spend around one another, until something happens that will force them together.
When I first joined LibraryThing, one of my first stops was the historical fiction group, where it seemed like everyone was talking about one series. It was universal love, nary a dissenting opinion to be found. That series was, of course, Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. After that initial introduction, I began hearing praises for “Outlander” all over the place; it seemed that everyone but me had read it. And yet, I resisted. I resisted for a good three years. I was scared by the fact it was a long series of hefty books (the mass market edition of Outlander I read has about 850 pages, and it appears that many of the sequels are longer). I also wasn’t sure how I felt about the time travel aspect or the whole description of the series as historical romance, since I generally feel like romance aspects add very little to historical fiction.
What I want to know now is this:
WHY did none of you sit me down and make me read “Outlander” before this?
Seriously? Because I L-O-V-E LOVE it.
And what of my objections? Okay, first, the time travel thing. It really isn’t time travel. Yes, Claire goes back in time, but it more about the magical qualities of the Scottish highlands, finding that there is truth to the basis of the old myths, not that there is some science fiction-type thing stuck in the middle of what is primarily historical fiction, just a touch of fantasy. Of course, I was also put off by everyone’s description of this book as romance, because historical romance usually makes me roll my eyes or skip pages. However, I was talking to Michelle from That’s What She Read trying to sum up my thoughts on the romance angle and I think that she put it very well: most sex scenes in historical fiction are either gratuitous or insignificant. She’s absolutely right, but the romantic encounters in “Outlander” and neither of those things. By and large they really do advance the plot and the character development. Plus, Gabaldon perfectly walks the line between too vague and too graphic and writes love scenes that don’t make me want to throw the book against the wall, miracle of miracles!
If you are like me and have heard of these books but failed to read them, please stop what you’re doing and go and find the first one. They’re long, but they’re fast reads and they’re terrific. And now I’m out of here, because I’m on my way to buy the next two books in the series!
I read this book as part of a TLC Book Tour. Check out some of the other tour hosts for more reviews. Links go to the host’s site, not to their specific review.
Monday, August 2nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves (An Echo in the Bone)
Wednesday, August 4th: The Literate Housewife Review (Voyager)
Monday, August 9th: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey (Outlander)
Thursday, August 12th: Under the Boardwalk (An Echo in the Bone)
Friday, August 13th: Starting Fresh (An Echo in the Bone)
Monday, August 16th: Planet Books (Outlander)
Wednesday, August 25th: MoonCat Farms Meanderings (An Echo in the Bone)
Tuesday, August 31st: The Brain Lair (Outlander)
Wednesday, September 1st: My Two Blessings (Outlander)
Thursday, September 2nd: Life in the Thumb (An Echo in the Bone)
Tuesday, September 7th: That’s What She Read (Dragonfly in Amber)
Monday, September 13th: Suko’s Notebook (Outlander)
Tuesday, September 14th: Luxury Reading (Outlander)
Wednesday, September 15th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader (An Echo in the Bone)
Friday, September 17th: Devourer of Books (Outlander)
Tuesday, September 21st: Rundpinne (An Echo in the Bone)
Monday, September 27th: Hey, Lady! Whatcha Readin’? (Outlander)
Thursday, September 30th: Pop Culture Junkie (Outlander)