Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Thoughts On - Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Series: Outlander #1
Genre: Historical Fic/Romance/Time Travel
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Publication Date: 10/26/04
Format: Audio/Print
Pages: 850
Source: Purchase

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Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone 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's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning 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 passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


First Line  It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

I can't review Outlander. Honestly? I don't need to. It was originally published in 1991, and book doesn't need my endorsement. It's a much-beloved, discussed and debated book, now a wildly successful -and in my opinion, brilliantly-adapted show with the perfect cast and, so far, a wonderful adaptation. I feel as if everything that could be said about Outlander, has been said, many times and far better than I can express. I've found there are books you read and you need to purge out all the feelings and thoughts, in an effort to process. Then there are books that are so special to your heart, the experience of reading becomes a piece of you and you just want to hold your feelings close, keep them private and wallow - revel - in every word and emotion. And so I didn't really intend to "review" Outlander, and wasn't even sure I would let this post publish. I do feel weird letting it stand, because I know I sound like a melodramatic dork. But if I convince one person to read this book, then I'll be happy.

I have two friends who've been encouraging me to read Outlander for quite a whilewho both walked me through the questions, theories, and the lust and tears. Yes, there is an abundance of both! Jenny and Cindy should probably be on a con panel or have their own feature somewhere because they have analyzed and theorized this series from top to bottom, truly blowing me away. And forget the Saturday night conversations as we prepare for the weekly watch, rewatch, and play-by-play. That conversation tends to last a couple days. ESPECIALLY after "The Wedding".  I feel really lucky that they've brought me into their cult fold. They have emails and working docs with discussions that have my mind spinning from their insights and the passion they have for this wonderful world. Some may call that "obsessive", but I call it awesome. So as I read and listened to Outlander, I've talked and worked my way through this book with them, and will continue to do so as we go on. That's where there heart of my "review" is.

So here's my advice: Outlander could be one of the most difficult, brutal, emotional, funniest, richest reading experiences you will ever have. Or not. It's true to the time. There will be moments that addle the 21st-century brain. There are moments of sheer anguish that made me sob.  There will be moments that make you fly because Jamie and Claire share the most beautiful, challenging, timeless love I've had the pleasure of reading. They are not perfect. I had a time of convincing my husband that I don't love JAMMF because he's the perfect man, but because he's a good man. And Claire? I'm just as attached to her. The love story is not about the flowers and eloquence. It's about two characters thrown into a situation that turns into a remarkably powerful love. They fight hard, and love even harder.

It's a big story, more than I imagined when I began. There were many challenging moments, moments in which I had to give the book a time out, put it in the freezer. But it always called me back. There were moments I begged to know if all the pain would be worth it. The answer is a loud Yes. My intention is not to scare anyone away from Outlander, but to promise you that no matter how hard it gets, Jamie and Claire's story is one that will never, ever be forgotten.

As my friend Cindy said of the Outlander Fog we live in: "It's a good place. I'm happy here."

Rating: 5 stars - don't do the story justice.

Favorite Quotes

  "Does it bother you that I'm not a virgin?" He hesitated a moment before answering.
  "Well, no," he said slowly, "so long as it doesna bother you that I am." He grinned at my drop-jawed expression, and backed toward the door.
  "Reckon one of us should know what they're doing."

  "Jamie," I panted. He pushed his kilt out of the way and pressed my hand against him.
  "Bloody Christ," I said, impressed despite myself. My sense of propriety slipped another notch.
  "Fighting gives ye a terrible cockstand, after. Ye want me, do ye no?"  

  "Murtagh was right about women. Sassenach, I risked my life for ye, committing theft, arson, assault, and murder into the bargain. In return for which ye call me names, insult my manhood, kick me in the ballocks and claw my face. Then I beat you half to death and tell ye all the most humiliating things have ever happened to me, and you say ye love me.” He laid his head on his knees and laughed some more. Finally he rose and held out a hand to me, wiping his eyes with the other.
  "You're no verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine. Let's go."

  “Oh, aye, Sassenach,” he answered a bit ruefully. “I am your master … and you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own."

  “I prayed all the way up that hill yesterday,” he said softly. “Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away.” He shook his head, still gazing up the hill, a faraway look in his eyes.
  “I said ‘Lord, if I’ve never had courage in my life before, let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay. He pulled his eyes away from the cottage and smiled briefly at me.
  "Hardest thing I ever did, Sassenach.” He turned in the saddle, and reined the horse’s head toward the east. It was a rare bright morning, and the early sun gilded everything, drawing a thin line of fire along the edge of the reins, the curve of the horse’s neck, and the broad planes of Jamie’s face and shoulders.

  “There was another reason. The main one.”
  “Reason?” I said stupidly.
  "Why I married you.”
  "Which was?” I don’t know what I expected him to say, perhaps some further revelation of his family’s contorted affairs. What he did say was more of a shock, in its way.
  "Because I wanted you.” He turned from the window to face me. “More than I ever wanted anything in my life,” he added softly."

  "You first."
  "No, you."
  "I'm afraid."
  "Of what, my Sassenach?" The darkness was rolling in over the fields, filling the land and rising up to meet the night. The light of the new crescent moon marked the ridges of brow and nose, crossing his face with light.
  "I'm afraid if I start I shall never stop."
  He cast a glance at the horizon, where the sickle moon hung low and rising. "It's nearly winter, and the nights are long, mo duinne." He leaned across the fence, reaching, and I stepped into his arms, feeling the heat of his body and the beat of his heart.
  "I love you."

 The Outlander Series
Outlander (Outlander, #1)  Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)  Voyager (Outlander, #3)  Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)   The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)  A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)  An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)  Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8) 

Diana GabaldonDiana Jean Gabaldon Watkins grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D in Ecology.

She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona .

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  GoodReads

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. I've just not gotten myself up to reading this one even though I own it. I know so many who just adored it but a few who couldn't get into it. Not sure where I'll fall. Maybe one day I'll try. Glad it rocked for ya!

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  3. I have fallen in this Outlander Fog too. For days after I read the book I couldn't think about anything else. Like you said, there were times Outlander got too, well, too much. I had to put down the book too, or else I swear it'd swallow me whole.

    I agree that the tv series is brilliant. It has so much potential to be even greater than, dare I say it, Game of Thrones! Although both are very different show, but Outlander could be a big rival to GoT.

  4. If I was curious about the show before, imagine now after your review! I'm definitely intrigued, so the only options available here are: 1. I read the book; 2. I watch the TV show. Considering my crazy, busy reading schedule, option number two sounds more plausible...Still, I wouldn't completely discard the possibility of reading it one day. Thanks, Andrea!

  5. I want to try this series. I don't read many historicals, but this looks very interesting.

    1. Melanie, I was the same way but there is something incredibly magical about these books. I'm even enjoying the history of the characters and the land. :)

  6. I am so intimidated by these books is not even funny. I really want to give them a try because I love the tv show but I'm so scared!!!

  7. This does sound amazing. I think I tried to start it before but didn't feel it, and have been wanting to try again

  8. I'm so intimidated by this series but I see your love and I'm very tempted. I have the first book on audio. Eight books?!! I hope it has a HEA with Jamie of course. I'm wondering if you know. I'll have to DM you. :)

  9. It IS a good place. And I am VERY HAPPY here. Let's never leave, Ok?

    I can't really think of words to say how emotional this review has made me. Maybe it's because 91.7% of the time we are totally messing around when we are "discussing" all things Outlander. That's not true. That's mostly just convos. People in the blogsphere should know we actually do have LONGGGGGG email threads about all things of substance in the novels and show. It's not all squeeing like 14 year old girls or talking about, um, Sam Heughan's anatomy (yeah, well go with that...).

    The three of us are a unit. You, Jenny and I. We are seeing each other through this obsession and I don't think any of us would change a single thing. I know I've said it before, but words can't express enough how much YOU loving these books and being in on this with us has meant to the CinJen Collective. We are a CinAndJen now. It's amazing. You are amazing. And of course... #NINE

    *dabs eyes*

  10. I want to read this book because everyone loves it and I quite liked the first episode of the show, but these books are so big! I'm not quite sure I'm ready for such big books! I'm so glad you're loving both the show and the series, Andrea! :)

  11. Well, you did a great job of convincing me, and I'm enjoying the book. I'm glad you love it so much and share your love with all of us.

  12. I read this book and yeah you loved it too :)

  13. I have to admit it -- I didn't love the book the first time around. I liked it. The chemistry between the two characters is hard to beat, for sure. I didn't like the abuse (who did?) and that kind of colored my reading. However, I'm loving the Starz production and just re-downloaded it from the cloud so I could reread it...and we'll see if my perception changed.

    1. I agree that that scene can be difficult, and at first, I was shocked myself. After doing a lot of thinking, and reading the author's words on it, I have a couple thoughts, 1) that sort of punishment is standard for the 1700s, and undoubtedly beyond. I think she intended to write a historical fiction that reflected the thoughts and beliefs of that time, not ours. And 2) as the series progresses, you see that Jamie never exempts himself from the standards, and actually has himself "punished" when he messes up.

      I understand the feelings, about this. Just my thoughts on the subject. :-)

  14. I don't think ill be reading the books anytime soon but I love watching the series. Jamie has grown on me and Claire has great ass for someone so skinny! The episode before the wedding had me tear up, PMS made watching the lashing more horrible.

  15. I'm not big on historicals but I did check out the audios and holy cow they are big! I think I saw one was 55 hours. Maybe one day...

  16. *sigh* I really need to read these books. I'm almost positive I'm going to love them. They are just so long and I need time to seriously devote myself to them! I'm hoping over Christmas I can speed through some of them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrea!

  17. One of my favorite books ever. Such a great review!!

  18.  "Then there are books that are so special to your heart, the experience of reading becomes a piece of you and you just want to hold your feelings close, keep them private and wallow - revel - in every word and emotion."

    That's all you had to say. Your review is fabulous because it's how YOU feel. I'm continually rendered speechless by these books and am completely obsessed. Thanks for giving me more to obsess over.

  19. Being lucky enough to find one single person who loves something in the same way you do is utterly priceless. Finding two of you who make my everyday full of happy with your brilliant wit, insight and willingness to take the conversation anywhere (#NINE)? Basically, lightning striking twice. I don't know what I did to deserve such amazing partners in crime but I'm keeping you both. Yes, indeed, we are happy here.

  20. I loved the excerpts you picked and the way you described Outlander as a personal experience, a lasting one, for the reader. This is is true for me as well. Outlander was one of the first books I allowed myself to read 11 years ago…my youngest was in preschool and I finally gave myself permission..what a choice…I honestly think Gabaldon was inspired by something out of this world as she wrote…its like a warm bath…I have read great books since this series but none have been its equal.

  21. I agree with this post 100%. I'm so glad I followed your lead on getting started on this series. It's rare that I get to read for me, as you know, and this series has really given me something to look forward to again.

  22. It doesn't sound like something I would normally read but I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

  23. This is new to me. You've convinced me that this is something I need to check out.

  24. Okay Andrea, if your gushing hadn't convinced me, those lovely quotes sure would have. But the two together...yeah, Outlander will be read SOON. :)

  25. Sigh I just never got on board with this one. I tried it a few years ago and was able to get about half way through it before I gave up. The book was really slow to me and it felt like I was turning the pages just to get through it not because I really was enjoying it. Maybe my opinion would change if I tried it again but maybe not.
    I'm glad you loved this one though and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.
    Thanks for the great review!


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