Write your own review!
Outlander (also titled Cross Stitch) is the first book in the Outlander series by American author, Diana Gabaldon. Claire Beauchamp Randall, ex-army nurse, is on vacation in Scotland with her husband Frank, a historian. It’s 1946, and they are combining Frank’s quest for more information about his ancestors with the opportunity to reconnect after six years of wartime apart. Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall was apparently active in the area, back in the eighteenth century.
Everything A Book Should Be
A visit to the Standing Stones at Craigh na Dun goes awry when Claire suddenly finds herself at the edges of a battle between the English garrison and the Highlanders. It becomes apparent that this is no longer 1946. And while the garrison commander looks like Frank, and claims to be Jonathan Randall, his behaviour soon has her grateful for her rescue by a Highlander. Her nursing skills bring her in close contact with an injured Scottish outlaw, Jamie Fraser.
Despite wanting desperately to get back to Frank in 1946, after four months, Claire is astounded to be married to Jamie, hunted by Randall and living in the primitive conditions of the eighteenth century. Even more surprisingly, she realises she is happy. But it is 1743, and Claire knows that the dramatic events of Culloden are not far off.
Gabaldon gives the reader a tale that is part romance, part adventure, part historical and part sci-fi. She manages to include a Highland Gathering, plenty of fights and battles, torture, flogging, imprisonment, a wedding, a childbirth, a reunion, a channel crossing, a very novel prison escape, an opium-fuelled mental healing, a witch trial, quite a bit of sex and perhaps even a touch of magic. Despite the 800 pages that contain a wealth of information about the Scottish Highlands in the eighteenth century, the characters and the plot are so compelling that this page-turner that will have readers seeking out the second volume in the series, Dragonfly in Amber. Addictive.
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.
Laura A. (Jupiter, Florida)
Outlander - A great story
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.
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.
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!
Chris W. (Temple City, CA)
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.
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.
Linda P. (Kearny, AZ)
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.
Kelly H. (Martinsville, IN)
Wow! Outlander is an adventure, romance, and historical fiction novel rolled into one. Gabaldon's research is amazing! I never though I would be so happy learning about 18th century Scotland, but told by Gabaldon, it's captivating. At 600 pages, it's too long and involved for the book club I'm in, but I think it could be tackled by serious book clubbers. Don't finish this book without having the next one in the series on your nightstand!