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#262 ~ Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Published by: Random House Publishing

Published on: June 1, 1991

Page Count: 896

Genre: Historical Fiction / Time Travel / Romance

My Reading Format: A combination of audiobook, which I purchased using an Audible.com credit and paperback, which was sent to me by a friend

Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audiobook, eBook

FYI: Outlander contains some graphic sex and violence


My Review
Ever since I’ve become aware of the greater book blogoverse, I’ve seen people gush about Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series. Clearly I wasn’t paying very close attention to what was being said, because I put those novels in the same category as the Clan of the Cavebear. I thought it was set in a medieval time period and I just was not interested. In 2008 or 9, I signed up for an Outlander challenge, determined to find out what this was all about. I used one of my Audible.com credits for Outlander and was so daunted by the length of the book that I didn’t go any further. I actually forgot all about purchasing it. When my great blogging friend Elle, who has been with me from nearly the beginning, offered to send me a copy of Outlander. She loves the series moer than anyone else that I know. Even though I was almost positive that it wasn’t going to work for me, I couldn’t turn her down. After all, she’s read some of the most horrible novels with me as part of my attempts at hosting book clubs online. When I finally sat down with the paperback, I remembered the audio version that I’d never even downloaded. I loaded up my MP3 player and the rest is history.

Outlander tells the story of Claire Randall, relatively newly married woman in her mid 20s. Both she and her husband Frank have spent most of their marriage apart. He was fighting in WWII for the British and she was serving as an army nurse. They are just finding themselves when Frank, a college history professor focused on the Jacobites of Scotland, travel to the Highlands of Scotland to learn more about the the clans who were emaciated by the British in the uprising of 1745. Claire is supportive of her husband, but she isn’t nearly as interested in his historical hunt until she learns more about some nearby standing stones, not far from where they are staying. While Frank continues to work on the Jacobites and his Jack Randall, his grandfather many generations removed, Claire sets out to discover the lure of the rocks on Belldane. What happens when she touches the rocks alters her destiny in ways she could never imagine.

Claire comes out on the other side of the rocks in another world in the midst of a small skirmish between Scottish Highlanders and Jack Randall himself. It took some time before Claire came to terms with the fact that she was now centuries in the past. Jack Randall was also not the calibre of man Frank would have appreciated. Claire would have discovered this fully if she hadn’t been rescued/captured by the band of Scottsman. As the Scottsmen led by Dougal MacKenzie led her back to Castle Leoch, Claire began to plot her return to Frank. She had to find a way to get back to the standing stones. Destiny and Clan McKenzie had very different ideas. Before she could see anyway out of it, her fate is tied to young Jaime Frazer. She doesn’t give up the hope of seeing Frank again, but can she keep Jamie from her heart?

At over 40 hours in length, I thought it would take months for me to finish Outlander. In the end, it took just about two weeks. I could not get enough of Claire and Jamie’s adventures in the Highlands. I became fully engaged in the politics and plotting of the clans and never willingly stopped listening when I had to go into work or go into the house at the end of the work day. There were several times when my paperback copy came in handy. I just couldn’t bare not knowing what would happen next, so I’d find my place and continue with my reading. I loved every minute of it, feeling guilty all the while for willing Claire to forget Frank (after all, he was never any where near as sexy or protective of her – I can rationalize infidelity in my fiction with the best of them). Thankfully by the time I had finished Outlander my Audible credits renewed, because I didn’t want to have to wait to continue on with Dragonfly in Amber.

Davinia Porter does a magnificent job narrating Outlander. Her voice was perfect and fit so well with the story, reading the romantic parts as easily as the adventurous and dangerous parts. Her voice was so much a part of the novel that when I read from the paperback copy I was reading with her voice in my ears. That I couldn’t wait on my next drive to finish the novel, I still felt like she was with me in the end.

Reading this book was also fun because I couldn’t help but Tweet about it. Being one of the last people in the universe to read it had its advantages then. So many people jumped in on the conversation, especially Elle. Tweeting about it with her was an absolute treat. If you can’t live in the same country, Twitter sometimes can be the next best thing.

My Final Thoughts

There is so much to love about Outlander. It’s a great deal of fun and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its at parts adventure, intrigue, mystery, and saucy romance. If you enjoy historical fiction and a romance that doesn’t entirely dominate the story, you really must do yourself a favor and give this novel a try. It’s an addiction that will sweep you away.

Other Voices

You know what I think.  Why not check out what others have to say?

Farm Lane Books
Fyrefly’s Book Blog
Kaye’s Bookshelf
Caribousmom
A Dribble of Ink

********

I’m publishing this review as part of Audiobooks Week, coordinated by Devourer of Books.

11 Comments

  • At 2010.06.23 12:17, Fyrefly said:

    Oh, I’m so glad we’ve got another convert! I’ve really enjoyed all of the books in the series so far, but I do kind of want to go back and re-read Outlander – I don’t know that it’s necessarily the best, but because it’s first, it’s got a special place in my heart. (Not to mention that it kept me sane throughout a very, very long day spent in an airport dealing with standby seats and gate changes delays.)

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    • At 2010.06.23 13:00, Anna said:

      I’m still on the fence when it comes to the series, as it’s obviously a big commitment. I’m glad to see you enjoyed it.

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      • At 2010.06.23 13:41, Melissa said:

        I have heard way too many people gush about these series to ignore it any longer. I’m going to have to read it. Great review!

        • At 2010.06.23 16:08, gleefulreader said:

          Ooh – I’m SO glad you’re loving these. It would have been terrible to gush and gush and have you go… um, yeah. Not so much.

          The best part of starting so late in the game is you have the whole series ahead of you. None of this waiting 3-4 years at a time for the next book!

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          • At 2010.06.23 16:09, Sandy said:

            Oh, these audios are amazing. There was one book (can’t remember which one…maybe the fourth?) where it was one body part short of porn, and I literally had to pull off the road! They are are an amazing series, but I will admit that they wore me out after awhile. I had to stop, and now have two books left to finish. And yes, you are right on…Claire belongs with Jamie, NOT Frank!

            • At 2010.06.23 16:45, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

              I’m so glad you loved this, but I have to admit that I am totally intimidated by it.

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              • At 2010.06.23 16:47, Marg said:

                Yay! Another convert!

                This is the series that really good me reading again, and really passionate, particularly about historical fiction.

                The last couple of books were a bit slower. There is still some magic moments, but not the whole book magic of the first three book in particular.

                Davina Porter is an excellent narrator and is perfect for these books!

                • At 2010.06.25 12:09, Jen - Devourer of Books said:

                  Okay, you’re making me glad that I committed to read this one for TLC’s tour at the end of the summer. I may have to hit up most of the series in audio though. And it may be worth it to buy from Audible so I don’t have to rip a million cds.

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                  • At 2010.07.11 22:50, stacybuckeye said:

                    I LOVE this series, but have never tried the audio. A great way to revisit Jamie and Claire!

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