There are not enough words for me to express how I feel after reading ‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon. Lets start off by saying that its a big ass book, and because of this it’s practically impossible to read it in one sitting. I must have picked this book up and out it down near on 50 times because it just took so long to get anywhere.
Claire Randall is on a holiday in Scotland with her husband Frank, who is tracing his heritage in the highlands. Upon encountering a gathering of supposed witches at a stone circle, Claire effectively time-travels and finds herself in the midst of a small fracas 200 years earlier where she nurses young Jamie Frazer back to health. Kidnapping, murder and rape are among the few things you can expect to encounter within this book.
I loved that the accents are transported onto the page; I could hear the scots speech clearly in my head and because of this, it made the story so much more tangible. The prose was sometimes tricky but I kinda expect that for the time that Claire is in. The year being 1743, I was surprised that Claire had as much lee-way as she did compared to the other women of her time, although I expect that could be down to her being an ‘Sassenach’ and not particularly familiar with their ways.
Due to the book being so lengthy, I can understand why some people would leave it midway. I got to the halfway point and realised I didn’t know what the end goal was, I felt there wasn’t much of a plot. I thought that a series of smaller books could have been better or even a duology. It would break the book up slightly and perhaps wouldn’t daunt people so much. I suspect the length of the book is the reason why the TV show has done so well.
I wish there was a bit more history behind why there is such a conflict, unless I didn’t read it correctly at the beginning. There was a little bit of history about Black Jack Randall and little about the risings but apart from that I got myself confused over why. I guess the lack of information in the book is a hint that I should do some researching separate to the story.
The romance. I could not get enough. I felt that Jamie and Claire are the best suited couple I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. They fit perfectly, both stubborn, both loyal, and their love for each other is so, so strong. Even without reading the book description you could tell that Claire and Jamie were going to end up together, just surprised it took them so long! And so long to admit it to each other too! If I had Jamie in my grip I’d let everyone know he was mine.
Lets talk about the abuse in this book. The ‘beating’ (lets be specific; where Jamie destroys Claire’s hopes of sitting down the next day) wasn’t as bad as everyone made it out to be. Plus I don’t understand why people are so upset by it either? The story is set in a completely different time and I have to side with Jamie – it’s dangerous. It’s not as if he’s telling her not to eat in the hopes of her disobeying him so he has a legit reason to beat her. He told her to stay where she was as it could have been too dangerous for her to go with him. Also, for someone who’s grown up with frequent beatings, it’s his view and mindset as well as the era. Afterwards, Claire saw the reasoning behind it and agreed with Jamie to some extent. – And Jamie’s beating (Randall), I found it very difficult not to cry when he explained what he went through. It’s such a terrible ordeal for Jamie, even anyone! So many people get abused and sometimes they don’t recover from it. I had a hard time figuring out what was worse, the doing of it, or after it.
The other characters in the book were superb. Each with their own mannerisms and quirks but I could not for the life of me keep up with all the familial connections! There were so many the overlapped, I ended up just thinking that any Scot I met had some connection to Jamie.
This book.. I just can’t even. I’m so upset with myself that I left it this long to read. Serious book hangover after this.
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