on March 27, 2006
First I have to say I am not a lover of historical books. I acutally usually don't read them at all but I was drawn to the time travelling aspect of this book. It was wonderful. The writing was absolutely page turning. I read it every spare second I had and even some seconds I didn't have to spare. I loved the story of romance, the background of Scotland all that happened in between. I am now just beginning the second book which has begun every bit as good!!
Now I know what all the fuss is about!
Outlander has a number of literary awards, including: AAR Top 100 Romances, 1992 Romance Writers of America RITA Award for Best Romance, 2003 BBC's Big Read for Best Loved Novel, and 2001 Puddly Award for Romance (2001).
Ever since I started blogging, I noticed that Outlander is one of those series that I keep hearing about over and over again. I did join an Outlander Reading Challenge in 2011 but failed miserably and never even read the first book. For me, the book length was a little daunting. I was informed by Gabaldon in a tweet to me (Eek! Yes, she did! How cool is that?) that Outlander is the shortest book in the series, aside from the Lord John Grey novels.
In the beginning of the story, Claire has been reunited with her husband, Frank, in Scotland. For much of their eight-year marriage, they have been separated due to World War II. Claire, a WWII nurse, is picking flowers at a place called Craigh na Dun, where the stones have been arranged in a circle atop a hill. As she leans down, she hears a buzzing noise coming from between two of the rocks. Claire has somehow come upon a portal and travels two centuries back in time.
At first, Claire has no idea what has happened and believes she has stumbled onto a movie set. Naturally, she is dumb-founded when she finally realizes what has happened. Her nursing skills come in handy, as she is more educated about modern medicines and treatment than even the doctors in that age! Claire treats a young man named James "Jamie" Fraser, who is an injured warrior. She rides with him back to Castle Leoch, which is owned by the Mackenzie Clan. They are very suspicious of her and think that she is a spy. Her knowledge of medicine is her saving grace, and she stays on at the Castle to treat the locals. She takes over the room occupied by the previous doctor and sorts through his cache of remedies. She discards much of the useless folk remedies but finds some herbal medicines to be of value. All the while, she can only think about how to get back to Craigh na Dun so that she can return to Frank.
One of the head of the Mackenzie Clan, Dougall, takes Claire to Captain John Randall (who, coincidentally, is an ancestor of husband, Frank!) so that she can be questioned. It does not go so well, and Claire is ordered to be brought back for further interrogation. The only way to avoid the clutches of Captain Randall again is for Claire to be wedded to a Scotsman. The lucky lady is wed to hunky Jamie Fraser. She eventually develops true feelings for Jamie (who wouldn't?), and she is torn between staying with Jamie in the 18th century or trying to return to Frank in the 20th century. Her education and skills can be put to good use in this new life of hers, and she feels needed and that she can do a lot of good here. We should all be so adaptable! Claire actually finds that she enjoys this simpler lifestyle and that her work is rewarding. And with yummy Jamie to keep her bed warm, what more could a woman want?
With all the hype about Jamie, I had expected the scenes to be hotter. They are a little tamer than what I am used to from the likes of J.R. Ward and Christine Feehan, but Gabaldon's scenes are more romantic:
Jamie to Claire: "Does it ever stop? The wanting you?" "Even when I've just left ye. I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting to touch ye again."
Jamie to Claire: "And I mean to hear ye groan like that again. And to moan and sob, even though you dinna wish to, for ye canna help it. I mean to make you sigh as though your heart would break, and scream with the wanting, and at last to cry out in my arms, and I shall know that I've served ye well."
Jamie to Claire: "Oh, aye, Sassenach. I am your master . . . and you're mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own."
Jamie to Claire: "Ye are blood of my blood and bone of my bone I give you my body that we two might be one I give you my spirit till your life shall be done."
Ahhhhhhhhh, Jamie! What woman wouldn't want to stay with him? He is quite possibly the most romantic hero that I've ever read! What I loved most about Claire is that she did remain torn between her two lives right up until the end. She clearly is in love with two men, and it eats away at her even though she falls quickly and madly for Jamie. I loved Gabaldon's scene of Claire's confession at The Abbey. It was heart'wrenching to watch Claire grapple with her emotions as she ponders the moral aspects of her dilemma and also for Jamie to come to terms with what has happened to him. It did bother me a bit that Claire could so quickly appear to move on with her life so, for me, this was a much-needed time of reflection. I thought that Gabaldon ended this segment of the tale on the right note!
At this point in my life with young children, I would never be able to find the time to sit down and read this lengthy tome. It is for this reason that I am so thrilled that audiobooks exist! At nearly 33 hours, I was a little reluctant to start this audiobook because I worried that it would not hold my interest for the duration. Boy, was I wrong! Narrator Davina Porter is truly remarkable! Her voice is so rich with emotion. I loved her Scottish brogue, and she is quite convincing in her portrayal of Jamie and the other Scots. Even if you have read Outlander, I recommend listening to the audiobook. You will be captivated by Porter's performance!
I was hooked from beginning to end, and I can't wait to dive into the next in the series, Dragonfly in Amber.
MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it and know that I will be re-reading this again in the future! Highly recommended!
on October 6, 2012
This book, along with the rest of the series and the author herself have become my favorites. I couldn't put this book down when I first read it. I have read the entire series of books and am reading them for a second time. I have also read all of the "spin-off" books. This book/series you will either love or hate. I used to read only murder mysteries before. Since I have read Diana's books, I have never been able to go back! No one's writing measures up anymore and I crave more intricate plots lines and more "real" characters from all other books since. Diana puts so much research and time into her books and it shows. I will admit the beginning is a bit slow but if you can get past that, then I'm sure you will end up falling in love with this book as many others have.
on August 21, 2009
Let's not rehash the context of the series. There is enough of that already posted now and the books have been in the market place for many years so nothing further need be said in that respect. When I first started this book, I said to myself, "This is not for me, time-travel and it is soooo long!" Ridiculous, especially for someone in their 60's! However, having paid for the book, I trudged on. By the time a quarter of the pages were read, it rather surprised me that it was not quite as bad as I originally anticipated. By the end of the book, I was completely hooked. After reading the next two books in the series, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager, I am now thoroughly addicted and cannot give enough praise to the series. Diana Gabaldon, you are a true master of literary art. My shelves are stocked with the following three in the Outlander Series, and before long will contain the latest, Echo in the Bones, due to be released in September 2009.
Would I recommend this book and the others in the series. Yes, yes, yes!! You've just got to have them, or you will miss out on one of life's greatest adventures! Living with terminal cancer as I am, one just can't afford to miss out on one of life's little adventures. So young or old, healthy or otherwise, read the books. They will sweep you away to a time and place of dreams, romance, history and intrigue.
on April 6, 2006
First, I am drawn to laughing because I never thought I'd ever get to finally read this book. In the end, I read it in French and I'm grumbling because I still hate reading translations. But, I laugh. Let me see, I read, in order, first Fiery Cross, then Drums of Autumn, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and now Outlander. I am totally absurd, and yes I know it. Hey, I get my hands on whatever's available at the time ;)
Anyway, the book is completely compelling. Having read many Scottish and Irish historicals (either in French or English), Outlander, the series, is still very dear to my heart because it is what had me discover my love/hunger for Scottish historicals. And Outlander, the novel, stands near the top of my list now. The love, the lost hope, the fear, the violence, they were obviously ever-present during the Jacobite Rebellions. But Gabaldon, thankfully, does not tone it down, and it is neither as toned-down as many authors write it. Jamie, the eightteenth century "pigheaded Scot", is forced to live with pain and reminders of pain every moment in this novel. It is honestly disheartening, but as a reader one is absolutely sympathetic to him and continues to cheer him on: "Keep going... Keep your eyes open. Live."
on September 15, 2005
As my title review says, I am only one quarter way or at Part III (the book is broken down into parts) and I had to write!! I am blown off my chair, Diana Gabaldon is an amazing writer!! A dear friend of mine lent me the Outlander and that I must read it. I had put off reading this book for 2 months do to the size of the novel. I tell you, do not put off reading this book!! I am captivated by the characters...they are SO real!, and the heroine is in first person. The landscape described by Diana is realistic too, I can picture and feel the land described -- (this book is a great way to develop visualization skills for mediation!). I am finding myself reading way into the wee morning, (thank goodness for vacation, otherwise I would be so tired and sleeping at work). I absolutely love reading the Outlander and I look forward to the next five books in this six book series, and I will be buying my own Outlander book to add to my new collection of Diana Gabaldon novels!
on December 23, 2005
I just completed "Outlander", and I am fully in love!!! As much as I love a good romance, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical prior to reading the book, as romances are often cheesy and laugh-worthy. However, Diana Gabaldon does the romance genre justice here, and gives her characters complexity, rather than being marginal/poorly developed characters; as well as having an incredible talent for keeping a plot moving. 18th century Scotland is coloured beautifully, and indeed adds to the overall engaging atmosphere.
The love story is genuinely touching, and I became intoxicated with the love affair between Claire and Jamie...after all, who doesn't wish for a gallant hero to sweep them off their feet?! ;)
If you love historical romances (with substance!) this is a fabulous book...I can't wait to start the second book in the series!!!!
on September 5, 2014
It's at least the fifth Outlander I've bought either for myself or my family and friends. I love it still the same, and now with the TV
show, I wanted to have the TV Tie-in as well. It's great!
on February 18, 2007
This was a great book. I loved the pictures she painted with her beautiful descriptions of the Scottish Highlands. The main characters where likable and the story moved quick and kept you wanting more. It's an excellent Historical Romance, with quite a few steamy love scenes.
Towards the end of the book the story takes a bit of a dark turn. I for one could have done without the Sadistic Torture described to us in detail. Some things are better left to the imagination, as the detail in which it was described is somewhat disturbing.
The author and the book do redeem themselves again if you can manage to continue reading after that point, and they hook you in and leave you begging for more...
Thank goodness there are more books in this series because I need to find out what happens next...
on September 12, 2014
I bought this book because of the cover. I have owned the original hard cover since 1991. I absolutely love the story and couldn't tell you how many times I have read this beautiful book. The main character, Claire is a very strong willed capable woman who finds herself in a very difficult situation that she finds hard to reconcile but there it is. She uses her wits and strengths to deal with what has happened and finds an ally in a handsome young Scot a couple of years her junior. I love the way Diana Gabaldon weaves this beautiful story. It's about strength, perseverance, history and love. This is no wishy washy bodice ripper.