Friday, December 12, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

 Reviewed by Laurie

On August 9, 2014 a new Starz Original drama series called “Outlander” was introduced to the Television World. I wasn’t sitting at the TV that night but while visiting family I had a chance to see the first three episodes and I was hooked!  When I found out that it was based on a book, I knew I had to read it.

The story begins when Claire, a nurse in World War II, goes to Scotland for a second honeymoon with her husband.  She goes for a walk and suddenly she is transported back to 1743 Scotland around the time of the Jacobite Uprising for Bonnie Prince Charlie. She doesn’t know how she got there, so she doesn’t know how to get back.  She meets James Fraser who is a brave, hot blooded young Scotsman who falls in love with her. Of course, Claire has a husband back in 1943 but she is still attracted to Jamie and of course she knows a bit about what is going to happen with the rebellion.

The time travel is the only fantasy element of the book, so if you don’t like fantasy don’t let that stop you from reading this book. The rest is filled with the Scottish Highlands, the Gaelic history, and the enchantment that only a descriptive historical romance can bring to your imagination. The book is wonderful, with a strong woman and of course a hot Scotsman in a kilt.  

The story behind the story is almost as good.  In 1988 Diane Gabaldon wanted to write a “practice book” to see if she could write a novel.  The result was Outlander which got her a book deal for two follow up books.  She won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Romance, putting her in the same class as Nora Roberts. Now there are eight books in the series and big thick books they are.   Am I going to read them? Yes, I will be right there in my p.j.s curled up on a comfy chair to see what comes next for Claire, Jamie, Frank, and all the others.

If you want to read the series, this is the order:

1.    Outlander

3.    Voyager

4.     The Drums of Autumn

5.    The Fiery Cross

I do want to mention that there are some sensitive topics in the book, including heterosexual and homosexual rape, domestic violence, and child abuse.  I thought she did a good job of dealing with it in a non-sensational way and it didn’t bother me except that I was a little surprised.  I just didn’t expect some of those topics.

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