Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Title:  Outlander
Author:  Diana Gabaldon
Publication Information:  Dell, Random House Publishing Group, Random House Inc. 1991. 850 pages.
ISBN:  0440212561 / 978-0440212560

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "It's as though everyone has a small place inside themselves, maybe, a private bit that they keep themselves. It's like a little fortress, where the most private part of you lives - maybe it's your soul, maybe just that bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else ... you don't show that bit of yourself to anyone, usually, unless sometimes to someone ye love greatly."

Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series began with this book almost 25 years ago. Currently, the main series consists of seven novels, with the eighth one due out this summer. The series also includes a descriptive companion book and a graphic novel. It has given rise to the Lord John Grey series. These feature a main character from the Outlander series and currently include nine novels and novellas. Finally, this summer, STARZ will begin a TV series based on the Outlander books.

Outlander is a difficult book to categorize. It is historical fiction with its setting of 18th century Scotland. It includes an element of fantasy and science fiction because its basis lies in time travel. It features action and adventure as the Scottish clans fight amongst themselves and against the British. It centers on the romance between Claire, a 20h century nurse, and Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth century Scotsman.

Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall, aka Claire, is in Scotland on a second honeymoon to reconnect with her husband Frank. They have been separated due to World War II with Claire serving as a nurse and Frank serving as an officer. They choose Frank for their holiday so Frank can continue his research on his family tree.

During a walk alone to collect medicinal plants, Claire faints upon hearing noise from a set of stones. She wakes up to find herself in the middle of a battle. It is not a re-enactment or a movie as she initially thinks. Rather, she has come through a time portal to the past. She has a rather unpleasant encounter with a man who greatly resembles her husband and who she thinks may be his ancestor.

James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, aka Jamie, rescues her. So begins their relationship. As she is alone in an unknown situation, Claire joins Jamie's community with the goal of finding her way back home to the 20th century. She also gets caught up in the Scottish - British fighting, with each side believing her to be a spy for the other.

Claire attempts to prove herself by her work as a nurse at the castle and by her knowledge without revealing that she is indeed from the future. Through numerous adventures, her relationship with Jamie flourishes. They develop a deep bond, a love. It calls into question Claire's desire to return home to the 20th century; it may be that the relationships of the 18th century make it more of a home.

Given that this is the book is the first in a long series, the book itself has no resolution or "ending" but rather a stopping point to be picked up in the next book.

The one aspect of the book that I really do not enjoy is the graphic descriptions - of intimacy, of attacks, of battles, and even of torture. I do not find them necessary to the story, and overall, that type of description is just something I do not enjoy. Without those descriptions, my rating of the book would be considerably higher, and I would be much more likely to read the entire series.

Other than that, I did enjoy parts of this book for many reasons. The historical aspect appeals to me. The action and adventures make this a fast-paced and easy to read book even for its length. Most importantly, I appreciate Claire as a strong female character. She is strong in her opinions, able to stand up for herself, and able to stand up and defend others. She does not wait to be rescued; she does the rescuing too. 

I do not know if I will read the rest of the books. I just don't know if I can continue on with the physical nature of the book. However, I want to know the story; I want to know what happens. 

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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