It is a huge omission on my part that I have not yet mentioned this fabulous book or series on my blog. I’ve searched and searched through my posts for any mention and there is nothing about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander at all! Outlander isn’t a new novel and I’m certain that many of you have heard of it and read it already. If you haven’t, here’s my review of one of the best books I have read this year.
Diana Gabaldon I believe has mentioned somewhere that her books are very hard to categorise into a genre. My best label would be historical-romance-epic with minor elements of fantasy and sci fi; specifically time travel.
A quick synopsis:
Claire Randall is on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank in Scotland after years of being apart during the Second World War. She worked as a nurse, he as a soldier. They are getting to know each other all over again, and Frank, who works as a historian, is also researching one of his ancestors who lived in Inverness, the area they are visiting.
Frank and Claire are intrigued by the local superstitions and customs in the area and decide to get up early to watch a druid ritual at the circle of standing stones on the nearby Craigh na Dun. Not long after this, Claire returns to the spot to gather an example of a flower she was interested in. Upon touching one of the stones, Claire blacks out and wakes up to find the world around her has changed. Her mind searches for explanations for the sounds of gunshots and for the fact the soldiers she is seeing are in full historic costumes. On top of this, the first redcoat she meets is the spitting image of her husband Frank!
Eventually she comes to accept that she has fallen through time and that she is separated from her husband by a gap of 2000 years. Not only must she find a way to get home, she must find a way to survive as an Englishwoman in the rough Scottish highlands. This is where the title of the novel comes from – the Scots call Claire ‘Sassenach’ which means Outlander, or foreigner. I believe that it was also published in the UK as Cross Stitch.
I won’t tell you any more because I’ve already given too much away, but I will say that this is a romance novel and with a complicated situation of a husband who doesn’t exist yet it gets very interesting.
Audiobooks are something I really got into while I was travelling this year. I downloaded Outlander from audible and was chuffed to be getting good value for my subscription with the length of the audio being over 30 hours of listening time! I was also a bit daunted by this, but once I began I was entranced. Davina Porter is a fabulous narrator and her wonderful accents and voices are contagiously good. I think I must have a wee bit of the Scots blood left in me because I keep finding myself using little gems from the book. I wonder what the Scottish highlanders would have made of a New Zealander’s accent if it popped up during this time!
If you are like some of the many in my acquaintance who are disinterested in steamy romance novels, then this series isn’t for you. Simply because it definitely has a lot of sex in amongst the pages of this incredible epic tale. However, if you love a good romance, whether you’re privy to intimate details of it or not, this is a winner. I probably should also mention that there are some disturbing scenes in the book and that it deals with some very heavy content, including rape and abuse. It’s a book for adults and doesn’t gloss over anything.
I just finished reading the sequel: Dragonfly in Amber and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it ever since. Some books you can finish and just leave behind, but others linger and haunt you. This is definitely a haunter. Pete, my hubby, has been so sick of me going on about getting the next one that he told me that he’d already ordered me the box set for my birthday! I’ve been in anticipation all week! In the meanwhile I’ve been getting my fix watching the first season of the adaptation which isn’t quite as good but it’s been getting me through my withdrawals.
Here is the beautiful box set in all its glory! It arrived today and I am just itching to get into Voyager! They’re deceptively small for such long and epic novels!
It’s a mammoth series with eight novels so far (yes, they’re still going!) and a few novellas and short stories. Gabaldon takes about three years to research and write each novel so I have a few years to catch up before the ninth one comes out!
My rating is definitely a 5/5 because I am just obsessed.
Here are a few Outlander related links:
- Buy the book (or all of them)
- Buy the audiobook (you can do a free trial of audible and get it free)
- Outlander Film Locations
- Diana Gabaldon’s Website (and the books listed in recommended reading order)
- Watch Season 1 on Amazon (you can do a free trial of prime to watch for free)