Title: Outlander (#1)
Author: Diana Gabaldon
On the Shelves: Fiction> historical/romance
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient 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 is catapulted 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 love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. (Goodreads 2016)
Nearly a year later, and I’m finally reviewing this book. I had heard how popular this was getting and decided to get it as a free audiobook via audible since I was going to be doing a lot of train journeys with moving away from home and then commuting back and forth. As someone who doesn’t have much audiobook “experience”, I really enjoyed this book in this format. The narrator did a wonderful job with the story telling and the accents, and it flowed at a nice pace because of how length the book is. I do feel that Gabaldon is heavy handed on the description, in a way akin to Victor Hugo, which causes the book to feel like it is dragging it’s feet after a while, and towards the end, I did start to feel weary of it. As a character, while Claire started off quite strong, I felt by the end she was becoming frustrating and quite whiney, and Jamie’s constant self-doubt about his masculinity really started to grate on my nerves as well. There were one or two moments in here which made me cringe because it’s basically a bit of a trigger warning for what could be seen as domestic abuse, although you kind of have to accept that “back then” it would have been accepted. These issues have been widely debated on the interwebs and I’m still uncertain on where I stand. Is it okay for a issues like husbands controlling wives in a possibly abusive way to be used in fiction if it is a historical piece and therefore “accurate”? I have a friend who, when I ranted one day about how fifty shades has a lot of concerning material in it, she told me “yeah but it’s just fiction so it doesn’t matter”…I’m still unsure of what I think on this topic.
I don’t think I enjoyed this enough to commit to continuing the series, but I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy historical fiction and romance (because hello Jamie you are lovely!). Also I recommend the TV show, which I watched a few months later and absolutely loved!