Please enjoy the video of Outlander book review or continue reading!
What is Outlander about?
It is post WW2 and Claire Beauchamp Randall and Frank Randall are re-united after being apart for the war. They travel to Inverness, Scotland to rekindle their love and for Frank to trace his historical roots.
Whilst Frank was on an ancestral search, Claire takes a trip to the highlands to check out the flora. She is into ‘wee plants.’
Claire touches the ancient stones of Craigh Na Dun and gets transported from 1945 to 1743. She lands right in the midst of a battle between the Red coats of the Royal Army and some Scots.
As she is trying to get away from the fighting, she stumbles upon Captain Jack Randal and is attacked, but luckily gets saved by some Scottish highlanders and is kidnapped and taken to an unknown place.
Tossed into this strange world, she is forced into marriage with Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser.
TV Show vs. Book?
I have watched the Starz original Outlander series well before I read the book, so I knew what the book would entail. Time travel was something that initially caught my attention.
The Starz Outlander series is done well and follows the book pretty closely, but the book is excellent and it goes beyond my expectations. Although Outlander is classified as a romance genre, I would not necessarily put it in just that category because it has other elements from different genres.
Diana Gabaldon is a prolific writer and has written many novellas as well as a graphic novel (The Exile) and a non-fiction book (The Outlandish Companion).
I did not know at the outset that Outlander was a book series. So far there are 8 in the Outlander series and Gabaldon is working on her 9th. The Outlander books in order are as follows: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, and Written in my Own Hearts Blood.
What’s not to love?
Nothing! I cannot think of anything bad or negative to say about this book.
We have love and a fantastic romance, set in the 18th century Scotland, and time travel! As many of you may know, I love sci-fi and fantasy and this novel brings in the fantasy element.
The time travel goes back to 1743, almost 200 years, adds to this fascinating tale. The supernatural stones of Craigh na Dun that transport Claire back into time is a great concept that I really appreciate.
We also have a good amount history, sex and violence. This may put some off, but the book is realistic and describes the way things were back in 1743 and it is part of story line so it fits nicely.
How’s the writing?
The story is nicely paced and moves right along from the beginning of the novel to the end. The story line is quick paced as there is always something going on; from one adventure to the next.
Whilst Claire adapts to her new environment, she is always trying to figure a way to get back to Craigh na Dun to get back to her husband Frank Randall.
There are 627 pages of the novel. The book is a bit of a long read, but well worth it. I loved the book so much I didn’t want it to end!
It’s not difficult to read in term of the writing and words. In fact, you learn a few Scottish words such as gaberlunzie, ye ken!
I think Diana Gabaldon is a super writer! Outlander is compelling and pulled me in right away. I was engaged all the way to the end.
The depiction of Scotland and its population and culture in 18th century is so vividly described and so believable that you can appreciate how much time she must have spent researching it.
What I enjoyed in Gabaldon’s writing is that she is very accurate in her description of 18th century life. She paints a realistic element of that time when it is harder to live compared to the modern day 20th century.
I liked that she describes Claire’s feeling about hardships and differences so realistically. It makes the story so much more appealing when you don’t skirt the obvious differences.
I like the clever connection that Gabaldon uses, with the way Jamie Fraser calls Claire “Sassenach” as a term of endearment, and the book title being called Outlander.
What about the protagonists?
Both Claire Beachamp Randall’s and Jamie Fraser’s characters are powerfully appealing.
I love Claire’s character in Outlander! She is a caring and strong person. I liked the fact that she is a nurse who is capable of handling tough situations.
Her profession as a nurse is what made the story work so well. She is needed for her skills in 1743 as she becomes known for her skill as a healer.
It is easy to identify with Claire as she tries get by in 1743. She is confused and manages to get by using her wits and skills and it makes the story line plausible.
Having been a nurse in WW2 she has seen all the horrors of it and has all the experience to handle hard situations. She is not scared to voice her opinion even though it may be dangerous for her.
The first instance of her having to take care of Jamie when his arm was off his socket is a good example of how she can handle herself. Her caring nature took over and she took charge of the situation.
Jamie Fraser! Here’s a character that you just will adore. Jamie is a strong, stubborn, and courageous man. Though only 23 of age, he is mature, having lived through some tough times. Though a warrior, he has a heart of gold.
What glimpse you get of Jamie is Claire’s perception of him. As they bond and get to know each other better we become to understand Jamie better.
The other characters are also great and give the story its support and substance; from Colum MacKenzie with his Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome and laird of Castle Leoch, his brother Dougal MacKenzie, to Captain Jack Randall.
What’s to love?
The best part of the story hands down is the romance that develops between Claire and Jamie. This is not your typical romance novel where the hero saves the heroine.
This love story runs deep and will continue to the end. So while there are times when Claire gets saved, she too saves Jamie. Claire is the leading lady and save Jamie’s body and soul.
The novel has many emotionally powerful scenes between Claire and Jamie. The story of their love builds slowly. As a reader you witness this love developing and blossoming in a way that makes you just want more! It is very romantic.
This book has it all: history, time travel, mystery of the paranormal kind, violence, sex and a romance to die for. I give it 5 stars and it makes my top 20 books of all time!
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