- Title: Outlander
- Author: Diana Gabaldon
- Series: Outlander #1
- Genre: Adult, PR/Historical Romance
- Category: Celtic, Highlander, Druid, Time-Travel
- Website: http://www.dianagabaldon.com/
- Challenges: Mount TBR and Outlander
Summary: During a visit to Scotland in 1945 with her husband, Frank, Claire Randall witnesses a Druid ceremony in one of Scotland’s stone circles. When she returns to the circle alone to gather a few flowers, she touches a stone and instantly travels through time back to 1743.
With no way to return to her own time, Claire slowly begins to build a life for herself in the Clan MacKenzie keep. Eventually, In order to save her life from Frank’s ancestor (an evil man called “Black” Jack Randall), Claire is wed to the nephew of the MacKenzie Laird. Her new husband, James “Jamie” Fraser, is courageous, honorable, handsome, and completely infatuated with her. Throw in a variety of dangerous.deadly situations, as well as many tender moments, and Claire and Jamie fall deeply in love.
Claire’s relationship with Jamie brings her much happiness, but it also confusion and pain. She knows that she belongs in 1945, and she eventually plans to return if she can. But how can she leave Jamie behind? How can she choose between the two men she loves? Eventually, she is forced to make a choice. And for the rest of this book, she deals with the repercussions (both good and bad) of that choice. In the end, she knows that she did the right thing.
Review: This is an epic, tragic, touching, heart wrenching, beautiful, romantic love story. The story of Claire and Jamie is told through their adventures and misfortunes in 1743 Scotland. The situations they face are completely realistic for that time and place, but were shocking and unexpected to a more contemporary Claire. Her ignorance of her surroundings causes her to face one treacherous situation after another. Nonetheless, she becomes a survivor and a hero for the sake of love.
I found it a challenge to rate this book. On one hand, I can honestly say that I will never forget this couple or their story. There were many points where I was overwhelmed with emotion and sobbed like a wee bairn. During some of the more perilous parts of the book, my stomach was such a mess of nerves that I couldn’t eat or sleep. Without question, I was completely, unequivocably, emotionally connected to these characters. For this reason, I wanted to give the book my highest rating.
However, if I take a step back from the emotions of the book, then I have to admit that there were a couple of things that didn’t feel right to me regarding the content. For one, the lack of explanation about the stone circle or the magic that caused the time-travel was disappointing. I kept thinking we would eventually learn the why and how of it, but that never happened. Claire’s refusal to accept the existence of any kind of magic was frustrating… this woman traveled through time via magical stones, how can she possibly deny the possibility of magic? It was absurd.
Also, there is a LOT of story telling throughout the book from Jamie and his family/friends as they reminisced, but almost none from Claire. I liked these insights because I wound up feeling that I had known Jamie all his life. It made me wonder why nobody ever asked Claire about her childhood or her family, or asked her to share a few memories. What she shared of her life was simple, basic facts. I kept waiting for Claire to tell a few stories of her own, but that never happened. I wonder why? I often felt that I knew Jamie better – which was strange since the book was written from Claire’s POV.
I would definitely recommend this book, but I think it will appeal more to fans of Historical Romance versus PR or Fantasy. Proportionate to the historical story elements, the time travel and Druid threads play a very small role in the book. With 850 pages, Outlander is the 2nd shortest book in this 7-book collection. If you intend to dive into this series, be prepared for a rather substantial investment of time. Oh – and keep a giant box of tissues handy.