Julie Barrett's Reviews > Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
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's review
Jul 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: finished-2012, historical-fiction
Read from July 09 to 12, 2012

I had seen this book mentioned in several lists of books worth reading and once I saw it was a gratifyingly long 600+ pages, I bought it to take on vacation. It's a very good lounging-by-the-pool,reading-on-a-long-flight book. Is it a masterpiece? No. Is it incredibly well written? No.(though hats off to the author for her well-written sex scenes, of which there are several) But for what it is, the book is an entertaining page turner.

It's part historical fiction (I now know lots of trivia about 18th century Scotland!) and part romance novel(see the aforementioned sex scenes)and part fantasy with the time travel element. Speaking of which, I thought the author clever for setting the modern part of the book in 1945. If she had set the modern times in the early 90's when the novel was written, I think it would have made the book seem dated. By having it set in 45, the author was able to make Claire's transition to the 1740's more realistic. Since she was a nurse on the front lines of WWII, Claire is less traumatized by the violence of 1740's Scotland than the average woman in the 90's would be. Also, by having Claire's childhood take place in 1920's/30's Middle East while on archaeology digs with her uncle, Claire is used to a life of frequent travel, lots of time outdoors and not always modern plumbing. Still, one needs some willing suspension of disbelief to accept how readily she makes the transition. And how quickly people accept her. Oh, sure, there is talk of her being a witch, but on the whole she is rather quickly assimilated in 18th century life.

The book hinges on Claire's relationship with Jamie Fraser. I was worried when I started reading the novel because the early chapters set in 1945 Scotland were rather boring and I was not feelin' the love for Claire's modern husband. Maybe that was the author's point? To contrast that life with the passionate 18th century love of Jamie? I like the relationship of Jamie & Claire.The reader gets the slow burn of desire between the two, then the consummation, then one conflict after another separating the two, with interludes of togetherness & contentment in between. I imagine it is hard to write of a relationship that remains intriguing for 7 books. At least I hope it does.She did a good job in the first book & I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

An added bonus is that I just read the series has been optioned by Sony Pictures and Ron Moore(who produced Battlestar Galactica) to turn the series into a cable tv show. Yay! Hopefully it will be as good as Game of Thrones on HBO. Fingers crossed.

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