Monday, April 30, 2012

Outlander - A Gushy Review

I love this book. I'm so sorry I waited so long to start the series. 

Shortest blurb ever: Claire Randall is a field nurse in WWII. She's flung back in time to 18th century Scotland, ends up marrying the super-AWESOME Jamie Fraser for her safety, and all hell breaks loose. And there is a VERY BAD ENGLISHMAN afoot. See above: hell breaks loose. 

There are some books that are a pure experience. One of the reasons I completely ignored Outlander before now is because 1) it's huge 2) I thought the time travel would be cheesy. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. First off, I am supremely glad that Gabaldon set the beginning of this book in the 1940s. If it'd been the 1990s (when the book was published), it would've aged the book much more. Historical-on-historical was much more effective. 

She did a darn fine job of painting a historical portrait. I cleave to books that can pick me up out of my everyday life and set me down in another time and place. Some of my all-time fave historical novels (Pope Joan, The Red Tent) are memorable and worthy of gushing over because they immerse. I love knowing what the characters eat, how they dress, what the setting and weather are like, how badly they stink from lack of indoor plumbing (ahem!). Anyway, yes, details are important to me -- especially when they add to the magic of a story and don't bog it down. 

The characters here are so great. While I had a problem with Matthew and Diana for their mutual co-dependence in my previous read, A Discovery of Witches, I felt quite wonderfully the opposite about Claire and Jamie. These two are spitfires! Jamie is a rough and tumble Highlander, quick with a blade, potential bull in a China closet. BUT, he's also quite soft-hearted, well-mannered, and educated. It was so much fun getting to know him. 

Likewise, I loved Claire, the female protagonist in the story. She's a heck of a character-- able in her healing, quick-witted, and sharp-tongued. She and Jamie go toe to toe on several occasions and I loved the hard-headed, passionate dynamic between these two. 

I've said in previous posts here that I rarely jump into a second book by an author. Not the case with Outlander. It was one of those books that so thoroughly compelled me that I wanted to either turn back to the beginning and re-read it right away or jump into the second book. I decided to jump into the second, and I hope to polish off Dragonfly in Amber this week.

Y'all also know I'm somewhat terrified of the commitment that comes along with reading chunky books. Not this one. So so so so so good.

All-time favorites list good. Take that!

Snuggle (with nuzzles and purring) -- Skewer

Pub. Date: June 1991
Publisher: Random House
Format: E-Book
ISBN-13:  9780440335160 
Source: Purchased the e-book

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