The funny story about this series by Diana Gabaldon is that I’ve borrowed Outlander from the library twice before I even read it through! I wasn’t thrilled by the description of “time-travel” and didn’t connect with Claire right off the bat, so I set it aside.
Then, years later, I downloaded it on my Kindle and was hooked! I’d recommend that readers stick with it through the beginning. Gabaldon’s book, Outlander, first in the series was published in 1992 and has sold over 25 million copies. You’ll know why she’s sold so many copies of the first one once you read it. I’d throw down my personal reading gauntlet to say it is the best book I’ve read.
- Marriage of mutual passion – Jamie & Claire! If you’re looking for a fiction about a great, passionate marriage, look no further. A few notes before I discuss the infamous Jamie and Claire:
- The sexual relationship can be racy. For some, this is a highlight and for others, too much.
- Jamie and Claire are fiction characters and thus, unrealistic at times.
That being said, Jamie and Claire Fraser find each other in 18th century Scotland during a time of war through the stones at Crag Na Dun. There is an attraction, and Galbaldon’s writing causes the love and lust to leap out of the pages. What I like most about the couple (which, some argue, isn’t typical of 18th century relationships, but they are fiction!) is that they respect each other’s intellect and wit. They clash boldly, but they have a fierce relationship.
“Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our Life shall be Done.”
― Diana Gabaldon,
I love that their marriage is described as a “marriage of mutual passion.” Without spoilers, it’s safe to say their relationship is tested in tragic ways in this first novel. Read it for Jamie and Claire!
2. Fast paced plot with history – This book moves quickly! The plot is always moving towards the next climax or clash. What I love about her writing is that she ties together problems without it seeming like she’s tying it all together. Furthermore, the history! I love historical fiction, and this book brings a part of Scottish Highlander history and the Battle of Culloden come alive. If you love history, you’ll enjoy reading real people come alive in the book.
“I was quite sure I was still hallucinating when the sound of shots was followed by the appearance of give or size men dressed in red coast and knee breeches, waving muskets” (Gabaldon, Outlander).
3. Scottish countryside – This is a gorgeous part of the world and is descriptive in the book. It also comes alive in the Starz show. Scotland certainly a character in the book, and it’s not wonder that her writing has created more tourism.
“It was a beautiful bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it” (Gabaldon, Outlander).
4. Realistic – The book does not sugar coat real life for those living in the 18th century. Gabaldon explores health, violence, healing, medicine, birth and daily life in all it’s glory. The book would not be as moving without the realistic descriptions and perspectives.
“I’d never tried to eat a herring with a spoon, but I saw nothing resembling a fork…” (Gabaldon, Outlander)
5. Characters – You really get to know Jamie and Claire in this first book, Outlander. We know their fears, beliefs, and quirks. But, there are many more complex characters in the book. Colum and Dougal Mackenzie are powerful forces. Murtagh is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. You will connect to many of the characters.
Outlander is over 900 pages long, and I could’ve read 900 more. Come back and let me know if you read and it enjoy it too!
One of my favorite things is the language of the book, so I love this soft cozy tee bearing the infamous name.