OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet about the Outlander Series, what with #7 coming out this year and all. Heck, A Reader’s Respite and Passages to the Past are even hosting a reading challenge, aptly named the Outlander Reading Challenge, encouraging fans to (re)read books one through six before the next installment comes out. I love finding new authors so I jumped right in:)

The Premise (from the back of the book): The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon – when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly, she is a Sassenach – an “outlander” – in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord … 1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life … and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire … and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

My Take on the Book: I was worried this was going to be a “romance” book, with throbbing organs and heaving busoms. I was pleasantly surprised for most of the book. Gabaldon has a great story that she tells well, drawing you into 18th century Scotland and making it sound enticing enough that you are ready to go find some standing stones of your own. And that is saying a lot for someone who needs daily showers and heat. The love story between Jamie and Claire and the passions they invoke in one another makes me yearn for my own kilted warrior.

WARNING – SPOILER – IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK AND ARE PLANNING TO, PLEASE JUMP TO MY RATING.

I wish she ended the book about 50 pages sooner. Jamie’s time in Wentworth Prison, while showing the barbarism of Captain Randall, was described in a little too vivid detail for my comfort. I don’t know if his sexual obsession with Jamie will play out in future books, but I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary for this book. His sadistic pleasure in torturing the Scot was enough for me – I didn’t need the raping as well. I realize it showed how much Jamie would give up for Claire and I appreciate that, but I don’t think that needed to be spelled out. I bought into it without the sex. And I don’t for a minute believe that Randall is dead – he is too good a villain to kill off in the first book.

I will definitely be getting at least the next book in the series. I enjoyed this one enough that I am looking forward to Dragonfly in Amber.

Reading Challenges: Outlander Series Challenge, New Author Challenge, 999 Challenge, 1sts Reading Challenge, and the ever present 100 Book Challenge

Rating: four stars

My Rating system:
five stars – couldn’t put it down and will read again
four stars – enjoyable read, but had some flaws
three stars – really didn’t affect me one way or the other
two stars – too many problems to make the story enjoyable
one star – didn’t even finish the book

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4 Responses to “OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon”

  1. Linda G. Says:

    I’m not going to read this series because my 95 year old Mother is reading these books and has told or is telling them to me! She agrees with you that the history of Scotland is great and there’s more sex than she deems necessary…but she really likes the series.

  2. J. Kaye Says:

    “…with throbbing organs…” I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a long time! Great review!

  3. Jackie M (Literary Escapism) Says:

    This is one of my all time favorite series. The events with Randall have repercussions that show up in the next novel, so while she was graphic, it foreshadows some things. I don’t want to give anything away though.

  4. Shauna- Reading and Ruminations Says:

    I was wary of the books for the same reason as you- I had no interest in “throbbing organs and heaving busoms” for 900 pages. But then a few years ago I felt the need to invest myself in a series, and this was the one I chose. And I’ve been so glad. I have really come to love this series. I also agree that the book could have done with a lot less of the Wentworth Prison incident. It was hard for me to get through as well. Can’t wait to read your reviews of the rest of the series.

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