I just finished rereading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. My reasons for reading it again being 1) It’s an excellent book, 2) I sort of forgot what happened, and 3) I still haven’t finished the series, so I figured I should know remind myself how it started, at least. The book’s a good healthy size, around 800 pages and it took me about a week and a half to read. That should be a good indication of how much I like it.
Basically, the book begins in Scotland, 1945, where Claire and Frank Randall are on their second honeymoon after being separated by their various obligations during WWII. Claire time travels to 1743, by way of a circle of standing stones. From there she is kidnapped by men of the MacKenzie clan who think her an English spy. It shortly becomes apparent that she is no spy when Captain Jack Randall, an English officer and coincidentally, the great-great-great-something-grandfather of her husband, Frank, demands that the MacKenzies turn her in for questioning. This puts her in a tight spot, and her only option is to marry James Fraser, a young and capable Scot, but who also happens to be an outlaw with a price on his head. And then from there Claire and Jamie fall in love.
In essence, Outlander is a historical romance. Gabaldon writes about 18th century Scotland until your ears leak Scottish accents and crisp Scottish air. And the romance part of it, that’s the best part, or at least the second best part (there’s also the adventure to contend with).
People think Edward Cullen is worth swooning over because he’s cold and a vampire of supernatural strength? Try Jamie Fraser, for goodness sake. He’s warm and a Scottish warrior who protects his wife with nothing but his bare, human hands. He’s more real that Edward, he’s certainly got more depth as a character than Edward. To me, Edward’s worth is held by a very thin power and if you breath on him too hard he’ll just disintegrate. Jamie can stand on his own and his presence is as solid as you could ask for from a fictional character.
And just because Jamie is just a normal human, it doesn’t make the circumstance of his relationship less amazing. Here are Jamie and Claire, forced together because of unforeseeable and horrible chances, and they make the best of it. Perhaps, the dearest part is that Jamie fell in love with Claire the first time he held her when she cried, shortly after being captured by the big burly Scotsmen. For Claire, the process is slower and tortuous because she still loves her husband from her own time. The passion the two have for each other, the tender love to care for each other, and the raw desire they have for each other are all so strongly laced in the book. It’s really fabulous.
On a non-romance note, the book is also really clever. The plot is very complex (don’t let that scare you away), and that’s really what life is like, it’s not one simple plot, it’s a lot of plots tangled up in a big mess. The emotions and motives of all the characters are very carefully thought up and incredibly detailed. Having just finished the book, one part that I remember vividly now, is the aftermath of an ordeal Jamie went through. His pain is so great and it makes you cry as if he has died.
Great book. 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, however you want it. Now, I need to reread the second book so that I can start the third one for the first time. Whew.
Oh by the way, well, you would have realized by now. NOTHING to do with the Outlander movie that’s came out last summer.