Outlander: Book summary and reviews of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon

Outlander
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  • Published in USA  Jun 1991,
    640 pages.

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Book Summary

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny is soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The smartest historical sci-fi adventure/romance ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting Uncle Scrooge comic books." - Salon

"Absorbing and heartwarming, this first novel lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland, quickening both with realistic characters and a feisty, likable heroine." - Publishers Weekly

"A satisfying treat, with extra scoops of excitement and romance." - Kirkus Reviews

"It is a large canvas that Gabaldon paints, filled with strong passions and derring-do. Strong willed and sensual, Claire is an engaging modern heroine plopped down in a simpler, more primitive time.... Great fun ...marvelous and fantastic adventures, romance, sex ...perfect escape reading!" - San Francisco Chronicle

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Jennifer P
Everything A Book Should Be
I love historical fiction at its best when it teaches me history without seeming for a single moment to be teaching and only seeming to entertain. How fabulous this book is in that respect! There is a love story that is so powerful it causes Claire to give up her entire life for Jamie, and they experience harrowing adventures aplenty. In the meantime, I'm learning all about Scottish history, and look forward to additional books in this series - to learn more of the powerful love between Claire and Jamie and to learn more of Scottish history.

The author has obviously done incredible research, and at the same time has an excellent grasp of human emotions. Though the story is not "realistic", it is what I WISH was realistic (with or without the time travel). I want to BE there and KNOW Claire and Jamie and their extended family and friends.

Finally, as I listened to this as an audible book, I want to praise Davina Porter's narration - through her, I know how the words are all pronounced, and her Scottish accent is so charming and understandable, it adds another layer to the feeling of being there with the characters. I highly recommend this book for anybody with an interest in historical fiction (spiced up with romance, which I usually don't like, so it must be pretty good) and Scottish history in general.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Laura A. (Jupiter, Florida)
Outlander - A great story
Diana Gabaldon does a wonderful job developing her main character as she travels through time from 1940 Scotland back 200 years. With great historical accuracy we find out what it would have been like to live as part of a Scottish clan in a time when a lack of education caused fear and suspicion of anyone who appeared to have unusual healing powers. The book could easily have ended 200 pages sooner and it would have been even more enjoyable as the plot becomes tangled and things happen to the characters that seem completely unnecessary to the story. That having been said, I am sure I will read the follow-up to Outlander.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Melissa M. (Ridgefield, CT)
Something for everyone?
Let me start by saying normally I am not a huge fan of historical fiction, romance novels nor stories about time travel, (which is why I wanted to read this recommended book). Certainly Gabaldon is an excellent writer who has done her homework regarding historical 18th century heroics. I would recommend this book to those who like an ambitious read (800 pages!), a strong heroine, and an interesting love story. I can't say I enjoyed it enough myself to commit to the ongoing stories in the series right away nor recommend it to my book club (too long), but for a vacation read where one may want to get lost in a saga -and learn something about 18th century Scottish life, I think the author accomplishes this - with strong, memorable characters and a good, ambitious tale to tell!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Chris W. (Temple City, CA)
Outlander
I have wanted to read this book for a long time and was excited to receive a copy to review. This time travel adventure has enough history, old Scottish dialect and culture, romance, sex, war, and violence for just about anybody. It might be too long for many book clubs. The sympathetic characters and their adventures make me want to read the next book in the series, even though the plot is at times a little unbelievable. A little too long but it's worth reading.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Vicky S. (Torrance, CA)
Can't Believe I'd MIssed it Until Now
There is so much going on in this book just like the cover describes. It has something for everyone with history, romance, timetravel etc. I liked that the main characters had to make very serious choices that effect the lives of themselves as well as others around them. The main female character is also quite able to take care of herself in a variety of circumstances. All of these situations would create great discussions for book clubs.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Linda P. (Kearny, AZ)
Outlander
I wanted to love this book. All the reviews I read led me to believe it was the type of book I would enjoy. But in the end I neither loved nor hated it. It had all the things that were listed as "the usual stuff of literature" but that was the problem. A little bit of everything and not enough of just a few good detailed things. The plot just wandered all over. I read the whole book and although I wonder what more adventures await, I probably won't read anymore of these books unless it's the last one. So I wish ye well Claire and Jamie.

...34 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Diana Gabaldon Author Biography

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling Outlander novels.

The series is published in 26 countries and 23 languages, and includes a nonfiction companion volume, The Outlandish Companion, which provides details on the settings, background, characters, research, and writing of the novels. Gabaldon has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey (a major minor character from the main series): Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner.

Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled The Exile. The graphic novel is illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, and published by Del-Rey.

Gabaldon is presently...

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