Outlander (Outlander #1)by Diana Gabaldon
Published July 26th 2005 by Dell Publishing Company
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.
I have heard so many good things about this book yet still I put it off for such a very long time since I felt it was such a huge commitment. I also thought hmmm Scottish highlander *cue image of Mel Gibson in Braveheart* again...no thanks. I finally broke down and watched the first episode of Outlander on Starz and was MIND BLOWN!! I immediately went out and purchased the first two audiobooks and would like to happily announce that I am cutting through the third audiobook like a hot knife through butter.
The enormity of this story at once is what draws me in and humbles me at the same time since the whole setting is so grandiose. We first meet Claire is 1945 and learn of her life with her husband Frank. She is fresh from WW2 where she was a nurse there. She is almost immediately thrown back in time 300 or so years and the setting of Scottish Highlands opens before us. There is the touch of magic since clearly time travel isn't possible but, there is so much more to the story than that.
The characters are the most life like creations I have ever had the pleasure to read about. That is the beauty of historical fiction, you can place the people since they are reenacting an occurrence that is a part of history. I truly in my heart believed that there was a young man whose uncle was Laird. This young man also feel head over heels in love with an English woman or Sassenach. I commend Mrs. Gabaldon on writing such a strong female characters. Claire is smart and has her head on strait. She uses sounds logic and tried to her best to think her way out of trouble rather than rushing head first into more. She is also incredible brave when the time comes for it which it most certainly does. I need not even speak of Jaime. He is basically a red headed god.
There will be some parts that are a trun off for some people as it deals with tender subjects such as child rearing, rape, and the degradation of woman. I am not easily offended but I also realize this is fiction and it IS what took place in 1734. However all scenes, even sexy time, is done very tastefully. There was only a very few sentences where I was a bit weirded out.
I am very much a believer of the way fate is inextricably woven. This book is that basic theory to a tee. Claire travels back in time with the knowledge of events yet to pass. Will her knowledge change the course of history or is she powerless? Will Jaime and Claire just have to let history run it's course with that fateful battle in France that destroyed the clans for good? I simply can't gush enough about this book but I have to say I enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd much more than the 1st. I also have not had much luck with audiobooks but the narration on these is spot on. Although the narrator is female and English, she manages all the accents and genders with ease. It is truly a feat, done so well that I forget that it is a female at all.