Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ~Goodreads~
Published by Cornerstone 2nd March 2016 (1991)
Paperback edition 864 pages ~Book Depository~
What if your future was the past?
1946, and Claire Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank. It’s a second honeymoon, a chance to learn how war has changed them and to re-establish their loving marriage.
But one afternoon, Claire walks through a circle of standing stones and vanishes into 1743, where the first person she meets is a British army officer – her husband’s six-times great-grandfather.
Unfortunately, Black Jack Randall is not the man his descendant is, and while trying to escape him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Scottish outlaws, and finds herself a Sassenach – an outlander – in danger from both Jacobites and Redcoats.
Marooned amid danger, passion and violence, her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
I haven’t read a book as big as this since Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I want to start by saying that Outlander isn’t for everyone, because for what has been presented as an historical romantic novel, it has a great deal of extreme sexual violence. I wasn’t expecting this initially myself, but once I understood the historical context of this book I could understand why there is.
Claire Randall after stepping through a circle of standing stones in the Scottish Highlands while on honeymoon, she travels back to 1743 where there is great tension between the Scots and English. Here she encounters not only a descendent of her husband Frank, Captain Jack Randall, but also a group of Scottish outlaws including the handsome redhead Jamie Fraser (*swoons*). Claire and Jamie lead a life on the run from Randall and the English, and as their journey unfolds so do their diverse life stories. Both of them are complex characters, Jamie is haunted by actions from his past and Claire is troubled by how she got here, and whether she’ll ever be back with Frank. As these two characters become closer, it seems they have a lot to address before continuing their lives with one another.
Gabaldon has finely crafted a novel that is different to the stereotype some readers might be expecting, as this is no average love story despite the racy sex scenes. You know she has done extensive research because of her great depth of context that keeps this story loving. Her characters have depth, they’re lovable, and they’re realistic.
My only problem with this book was it’s pacing and it’s uncomfortable themes towards the end. There’s non-stop drama and action until the last 200 or so pages, where it all comes to a stand-still. Jamie the main male protagonist, we are exposed to him being the victim of a horrific sexual ordeal that Gabaldon conveys in great detail. I found it hard to stomach, but extremely important and relevant to society today as well as the culture at the time. I didn’t see it coming and I have a huge respect for Gabaldon for bringing this theme into the book.
To those who can understand and look past this, I highly recommend this book because it’s so well written, addictive and a very enjoyable read. I now want to begin watching the TV show that I’ve seen snippets of, before diving into the second novel of the series. I’m looking forward to finding out where Claire’s story leads and the implications it has on her life with Jamie and Frank back home.