Friday, November 14, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This eBook includes the full text of the novel plus the following additional content:

• An excerpt from Diana Gabaldon’s Dragonfly in Amber, the second novel in the Outlander series 

• An interview with Diana Gabaldon 

• An Outlander reader’s guide

Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. 

Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.
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.

Published & Release Date: Dell, Random House, October 26, 2004

Time and setting: Scottish Highlands 18th century

Genre: Historical Romance/Time Travel

Heat Level: 1.5

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crown

Reviewed by Vikki

What a compelling and riveting book. I found Outlander a hard book to put down. Of course, I had to since it is 642 pages. Even though I read very fast, I obviously could not read this one in one setting. This is not the first time I have read this book, but I am certainly that glad I made the decision to read it a second time. Ms. Gabaldon’s writing is so fluid and smooth, and it brings the highlands to life with her vivid description of the landscape. Talk about using all five senses in one’s writing—this author is a master at this.

For anyone who has not read this incredible book, here is a short synopsis. Claire Randall, a nurse just returned from the battlefields of World War II, is on holiday with her husband Frank, when she stumbles across Craigh na Dun and travels back to 1745.

Claire barely escapes from Black Jack Randall, her husband’s many time distant grandfather. A group of highlanders rescue her from his clutches. She meets Jamie Fraser and her odyssey to discovering a love that will span distance and time, begins.

Claire is feisty, stubborn and very resilient in the face of overwhelming and shocking happenings in her life. I wondered what I would do if faces with the realization that I had traveled back to 1745? I am not sure I could have handled it with Claire’s aplomb. I was astonished at the ease in which she adapts to her new surroundings.

When happenchance forces to wed Jamie to avoid being taken by Captain Randall, I was a bit taken aback by her easy acceptance of her plight. That is the only criticism I have for the story. She obviously loved Frank; that is clear in the start of the book. I feel that she should have been plagued with more regret and grief over his loss. I know it was critical for her to adapt, but internally, I would like to have seen a bit more struggle.

Jamie, on the other hand, is the ultimate alpha hero, strong and fierce, brave and determined, yet with a touch of innocence as well. He is over four years younger than Claire and has managed to remain a virgin at the age of three and twenty. Ms. Gabaldon handles his de-flowering with delicacy on Claire’s part when she learns of his innocence.

There are a great many tender, yet highly emotionally-charged love scenes throughout the book. While very heavy on the passion that the two feel for each other, the author is able to do this with very little explicit detail. It takes a masterful hand to pull this off, still getting the reader, at least me, fully enmeshed with the characters to the point it as if I were living in their heads. I love it when an author can do this. It allows me to form my own romantic conclusions.

To say the least, I absolutely loved this amazing book from start to finish and am now ready to move on to the next one, Dragonfly in Amber. Now I originally read this book in 2004 and voraciously read the first four. I grew quite angry when I read Echo in the Bone because it ended on such a cliff-hanger, then I had to wait for several years for Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, but it was worth the wait. That one brought back all the reasons why I loved this series.

I do want to mention that I also listened to the audio book as I read and that truly enriched my reading pleasure. Davinia Porter does an incredible job of bringing all the myriad of characters in the saga to life. Each character’s voice is so unique and easy to identify. It takes a true master to do that. I highly recommend listening as you read this book.

If you love Scottish historical romance/adventure stories with intensely passionate and well-developed characters, and a book full of wonderful and fascinating tidbits of history, then you will want to read Outlander. Perhaps, if you have already read these books, you will decide to re-read this amazing series as I am doing. Happy reading!

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