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Outlander: A Review (finally!)

Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Historical Romance/Time Travel

Rating: ★★

Back Cover (from Amazon):

The year is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a former British combat nurse, is on holiday in Scotland with her husband, looking forward to becoming reacquainted after the war's long separation. Like most practical women, Claire hardly expects her curiosity to get the better of her. But an ancient stone circle near her lodgings holds an eerie fascination, and when she innocently touches one of the giant boulders, she's hurtled backward in time more than two hundred years, to 1743.

Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire's usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless garrison captain so feared by others bears an uncanny resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd circumstances expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn't understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn.

But of all the perils her new life holds, none is more disquieting than her growing feelings for James Fraser, the gallant young Scot she is forced to marry for her own protection. Sworn by his wedding vows to keep her from harm, Jamie's passion for Claire goes beyond duty. As she struggles with the memories of another lifetime, she is forced to make an agonizing and fateful choice, and learns ultimately that a man's instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.


Okay, so I'm sure you guys have noticed Outlander sitting in my "Reading Right Now" window of my sidebar for what seems like forever. This book is LONG--650 pages. I am not one that has a problem with a long book. (One of my favorite books ever, It by Stephen King, is 1000 pages if I remember right.) However, this is the first book I read on my new Kindle and not being able to see the dent in pages as I read made it seem longer.

If I'm completely honest, there were points in this book that I wanted to stop. I would be right there, ready to quit, then the action would pick up and I would stick with it again. I am one of those people that hates to not finish a book. It pains me. This book has a huge following and I have heard so many people recommend it, so I felt like I needed to push through.

So was it worth it? Totally. The characters are wonderful and the love (and banter) between Claire and Jamie is epic, for lack of a better word. After staying in their story so long, I feel like they are family members. I told my husband to not be surprised if I started answering questions with "Aye" and calling my son a "bairn" or "wee laddie" because I felt like I had been living in the Scottish highlands for weeks, lol.

Things that made me happy:

--The male protagonist, Jamie, is such a great character. He's not a bad boy. He's tough, stoic, and fiercely loyal. But also very sweet (and innocent in many ways). It makes him beyond endearing, not to mention sexy.

--Claire is a tough chick is can go toe to toe with the tough highlanders. The banter between her and Jamie made me laugh out loud at times.

--Even though this is a series, it did not end on a huge cliffhanger. Some things were untied, but the end was very satisfying. If after 700 pages, I landed on some major unfinished business, I would have been more than a little peeved.

--I felt like I visited another place in time. This was my very first historical romance, so I didn't know what to expect. But in the end, it was if I had taken a journey.

Things I didn't love:

--This book did not need to be this long. Many things could have been cut. Descriptions could go on a little long. I skimmed a lot of those pages.

--The beginning was slow, then there were a number of points in the book that dragged.

--Keeping up with all the different plots, historical references, and political intrigue was a bit difficult at times

--Sometimes the fact that the two got caught in so many bad situations was a bit unbelievable. It's like the first season of the show 24 when Keifer Sutherland's daughter kept getting herself in trouble--"what terrorist is Kim going to get captured by this week?"

Favorite Quotes:

"No wonder he was so good with horses, I thought blearily, feeling his fingers rubbing gently behind my ears, listening to the soothing, incomprehensible speech. If I were a horse, I’d let him ride me anywhere." --Claire

"Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things that have ever happened to me, and ye say ye love me." He laid his head on his knees and laughed some more. Finally he rose and held out a hand to me, wiping his eyes with the other. "You're no verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine." --Jamie

Overall: Do I recommend this? Aye. (Sorry couldn't resist.) I think this is a winner. I fell in love with the characters and am tempted to go on to the next in the series (which I think is 880 pages, whew). Although, I will need a break. This book has convinced me that I need to open up my mind to historical romance, something I never gravitated toward before.

Have any of you read this? If so, what are your thoughts? What's your favorite historical romance?

Reader Comments (10)

I'm still trudging through this book. I'm like you--there are times I am so caught up in the story, I fly through it. Other times, though, it seems to drag on and on. I am determined to finish it because I've heard such great things about it. Thanks for this review. You motivated me to keep reading.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLazy Writer

The Stand is my all-time favorite book and it was around 1000 pages, I think? I lose patience after 500 or so pages. It had better be good before I'll invest that much into it.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Faris

What a timely post Just finished Outlander last ight! Started in back in June and that's a loooong read for me. I agree with your summary of things. I too skimmed the boring battle scenes. Read it on my Kindle so the girth escaped me until you said it was 650 pages. I also started Dragonfly in Amber last night. DOn't really dig the way it's suddenly third person and a two MC story but I have to keep reading. Outlander was the book I was reading on the side, until I got so addicted I was staying up till one in the morning! I hear they are currently casting for the movie version. (Here's a tidbit about the next book, It picks up the story with Claire in 1967 or 8? I wondered if this had anything to do with Gelie?) Can't wait to read more! The Author is a master at her craft.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterT. Anne

Great review! The series is one of my all time favorites. I'm eager to reread the books now but I'll wait until the fall.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStrange Fiction

Real quick, 'cause I'm at the day job, I just love your Library Thing so much that I joined, too. :) Glad you finished it and enjoyed it!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna C. Morrison

Great review. I liked to format you used. Can I borrow that format?
Sounds like a HUGE book to get through. Good for you for getting to the end of it :)

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha Bird

LW, Stick with it if you can. I'm glad I did.

Stephanie, I agree. I'm really reluctant to invest in a huge book when I have such a big to be read pile already. Plus, I like to try to get one review on here a week, so I have to read quickly.

T. Anne, How funny that we finished the book on the same night. I'm glad you enjoyed it too. You'll have to let me know how the second one is. I'm going to read a few other books before I consider tackling the next one.

StrangeFic, How is the rest of the series?

Anna, Enjoy Library thing, it's pretty darn cool

Tabitha, feel free to steal the format. I prefer to read bullet points versus a long book report/summary style review. Plus, I ♥ quotes. That's why I do them that way.

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFictionGroupie

What a great review!! I have this one and to be honest, although everyone and their mother says it's great, the thickness alone scares me. One day--one stormy weekend more likely--I'll get to reading it.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Great review - I liked your good points/bad points...I thought it was slow at the beginning and the historical intrigue was a bit much but still overall I loved it.

August 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

I love love love these books. IMO, the second and third were even better than the first. After that, it gets a little too wrapped up in history lessons to hold me for very long (when there are sooooo many good books out there to read, and one of these is at least a 2 week committment... plus, they keep getting longer!). But overall, I'm in love with Jamie and with Jamie and Claire together. This also opened me up to historicals, and I'm *very* glad it did. (Though now there are even *more* books to read.) *giggle*


September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

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