Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series has been on my to-read list for a while. At 700+ pages each, though, they are hardly conceivable quick reads. I had no idea what I was getting into aside from time travel.
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient 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 is catapulted 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 love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Though the book is not at all what I expected (I should know better than to play The Expectations Game by now), I give it four out of five stars.
The level of historical detail in this book is incredible. A perfect encapsulation of the mid-twentieth century, as well as of the sixteenth. A complete moral conundrum. And one unbelievably irritating protagonist.
That’s right, I said it: Claire Randall annoyed the daylights out of me for two-thirds of this book, because of her motivations. Without venturing into spoilers, I should note that I did not care about her objective, only about the story unfolding in the sixteenth century.
As for expectations, I had no idea that this book was a rather steamy romance, nor that it would take quite so many dark turns. At seven hundred pages, I expected to be satisfied at its end, but I simply crave more of Claire’s story.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much more that can be said without copious spoilers, but if historical and/or period fiction strikes your fancy, I highly recommend Outlander.