Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Summary from Barnes and Noble:
“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.”
Going into this book I was expecting it to be an adjustment. Up until this book most of my reading has been YA focused with a smattering of Adult Fiction (usually contemporary fiction). So when I picked up this book I was assuming I would need to switch my mindset to a similar one needed for reading books like Game of Thrones. I was very very wrong. This book combines history, romance and battle between countries and clans with elegance that reminds me very much of the All Souls Trilogy written by Deborah Harkness (a trilogy that is one of my favorite works of Adult Fiction). It uses just enough historical reference to allow the reader to adjust to not one but two different time periods while not being overwhelming. The plot in Outlander keeps the reader on their toes with events that last long enough to keep the reader held in the author’s grasp without making the reader wait three more books to get to the bottom of what’s happening. I will say though that my favorite part of this book, and the part I’m looking forward to in the next books in this series was the characters.
Gabaldon does an incredible job creating characters that the reader connects with instantly. I don’t think there was a character in this book that didn’t create some sort of emotion for me, good or bad. And when the characters were meant to be loathed it was easy as a reader to get that and then come to that feeling in our own time as we watched their actions unfold *cough* Jack Randall *cough*. I keep saying it but these characters were brilliantly written. Even towards then end, and in some of the events that happened throughout the book, I found myself genuinely caring about the choices that each character made and how it affected them as a person. Absolutely brilliant.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the female lead in this book, Claire, is kickass. She might be out of her own time period, might not speak Gaelic and definitely doesn’t know close to anything about how to function in the time period she got thrust into but damn if it stops her from being a strong independent woman who does what she needs to to take care of herself. The fact that she can rely on other people while still being able to make decisions for herself is one of the many reason that she has become one of my all time favorite female characters in ANY book.
And can we just talk for a second about James Fraser? I will say that I’m usually wary of quick romances in books because sometimes they can get out of hand and end up turning a well written novel into something focused romance instead of plot. But the introduction of James Fraser introduced an entirely new aspect to this book that I LOVED. And let’s be honest after reading this book everyone wants a Scotsman like James Fraser in their life! The amount of raw emotion that Gabaldon put into this one character was amazing and made me admire her writing style even more than I already did, if that’s even possible.
While I will say as a warning to those reading this that this book does contain adult material and also at least one scene that might be triggering for some people, this was well worth every bit of trauma I might have from it. I highly recommend this book to people who are interested in reading historical fiction books or just anyone in general. And now I’m off to pick up the next book in the series.