Wow, it took me two months to read Outlander! Even though I loved the story, I needed to take frequent breaks from the book; possibly because it’s over 800 pages long. But even when I wasn’t reading the book, I would think of it fondly, referring to it in my head as “Claire and Jamie”. I would say to myself, “I wonder what Claire and Jamie are doing today?” because I felt that close to the story.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Reunited at the end of World War II, Claire Randall and her husband, Frank, visit Scotland for a second honeymoon and so Frank can research his ancestor, Black Jack Randall. After secretly witnessing a pagan ritual at Craigh na Dun, Claire returns to collect a plant only to faint upon hearing a strange noise emanating from the stones. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself in the middle of a fight between English red coats and a group of fugitive Scotsmen. One of the Scotsmen rescues her from the clutches of Frank’s ancestor, Captain Jack Randall, whom she instantly recognizes. Claire pays back the favour by treating Jamie Fraser, a young Scot who has dislocated his arm. The clansmen think Claire is an English spy and take her to Castle Leoch, their home ruled by laird Colum MacKenzie. At the castle, Claire is plunged into the politics of castle life, but finds a role as a healer. While she is still treating his injuries, Claire and Jamie develop a friendship and he educates her on the history of the clan. Still considered suspicious by both the MacKenzies and Jack Randall, and under constant threat of danger, Claire reluctantly marries Jamie in order to become a legal Scotswoman and alleviate some of the mistrust. Once married, Claire and Jamie discover an unexpected, but delirious passion and love for each other that could possibly be one of the sexiest literary romances EVER.
Outlander is an exhilarating adventure right from the start. I became completely absorbed by how Claire adapted to her new life in 18th century Scotland. Diana Gabaldon is a former academic and at the event I saw her at in June, she explained how heavily she conducted research before and during the writing process. As a result, the story is so rich with details, you can’t help being carried away to the highlands with Claire. Outlander has everything I would have thought I would want in a good book: adventure, politics, history, the supernatural, romance, sex and laughs. Except …
Outlander is SO long … and a little repetitive. At times, the plot seemed to consist of: Jamie rescues Claire. We learn about Jamie’s family history. Claire rescues Jamie. He says something gushingly romantic and they do it. Repeat. — After about 600 pages, I lost the wind in my sails and wasn’t able to find my momentum again.
Outlander is positively one of the most enjoyable books I read this year. On her website, Diana says she used to tell people that if they could put down Outlander after reading three pages, she would pay them a dollar, but she never lost on that bet! Heck, I’ll give you the dollar if you don’t like Outlander, but I’m pretty confident most readers will enjoy this book. Just keep in mind it’s not a literary masterpiece, but a delicious historical romp. I’m hesitant about whether to read the next seven(!) books in the series, but I am definitely checking out the TV series that premieres in August.