on February 9, 2016
Trigger warnings: sex, rape, abuse, child abuse, torture, multiple spouses across centuries, verbose depictions of wounds and injuries
If the thought of those within a text turn your stomach, possibly Outlander is not for you.
However, despite some of the one-star reviews on Amazon, they are not the sum of the novel.
Outlander is a fascinating read. It begins with a 20th century woman, Claire, who served as a nurse during WWII in field hospitals. Just after the end of the war, she goes on a second honeymoon in Scotland with her husband, Frank, whom she has barely seen in the past seven years they have been married. While there, he conducts genealogical research, and she is left to entertain herself.
Claire as a character is interesting. She is not a gentlewoman. She was raised by an uncle after her parents' deaths, and attended numerous archeological expeditions while growing up. She swears "like a sailor", is brash and bold.
Frank, by contrast, is a pedantic scholar, who appears embarassed by his wife at times for her forthright, no-nonsense manner.
Both are readapting to life after the war, and trying to figure out how they fit together.
While visiting some standing stones, Claire is drawn into an anomaly of some sort that drags her back 200+ years into the past. She finds herself on the same hillside, when a battle nearby. First thinking it to be a costume-drama (period movie) of some sort, she realizes that they are firing live rounds. She encounters an ancestor of Frank's, who attempts to rape her (or from his perspective, use her as a whore. However, that is a long and other discussion entirely as to campfollowers, prostitutes, etc and their willingness to engage in sex versus when they were unwilling). She is saved by a Highlander, and is then carted off to join a band on their way back to their clan's lands.
There is friction between Claire and the inhabitants of the 1700s -- she wants to treat an injured young man (Jamie), she wants to get away from the group to find her way back to Inverness, etc. She is taken to Leoch with them, and eventually finds her place in the castle / manor as a healer, the previous healer having died some years before. There is some interesting reflection on 1700ish healing methods, recipes, and ingredients, many of which today are regarded as ineffective or in some cases, dangerous.
There are quite a number of twists and turns to the plot, as Claire falls for Jamie, and the struggle within her between her love for Frank and her love for Jamie (why not both?!), as well as her attempts to return to the standing stones to try to get back to the 20th century.
Overall: I love the book, and the series. (This is my second read-through of it). My interest arises partially from the historical atmosphere, but mainly from the application of 1940s era nursing knowledge to 1740s - no pennicilin, no widespread acceptance of germ theory, mainly herb-based cures.
on January 27, 2016
It overall an okay story, but nothing extraordinary or amazing. Found it slow and slow character development, wasn't able to connect with any of them...to be honest I am amazed I finished the book at all...
But glad I did, this book was not for me but is to many others. I will not continue with the series, but I would recommend others to read it...
on January 19, 2016
The story is great, I truly love it! But...
I ordered the school & library binding, and I was surprised by the very poor quality of the materials and the printing. It is quite small, as shown in the picture, but it is very badly printed! The lines are crooked and, on some pages, it is impossible to read the last words because they get "swallowed" (for lack of a better word) in the binding. The materials of the hardcover, the paper and the binding seems to be of very poor quality and tend to crack and fall appart. I get that it's a good price for a book, but I thought it would be much more sturdy.
None the less, I really enjoy the story so far, but I would suggest you buy the paperback version!