Posted July 1, 2014 in What We're Reading

By: Diana Gabaldon

The Premise: It’s 1946 and Claire Beauchamp Randall is on her honeymoon with her husband in Scotland as a way of reconnecting after World War II. Walking through a circle of stand stones (à la Stonehenge) she finds herself transported back in time by 200 years and into a whole new (old) world. Outlander is the first installment of Diana Gabaldon’s epic series. Trained as a combat nurse in WWII, Claire finds herself using her skills as a healer as she navigates encounters with her husband Frank’s six-times great grandfather (an evil character) and the complications of a new romance with a young Scottish highland warrior named Jamie Fraser. Part historical fiction, part romance, part intrigue and part adventure, Outlander is a sweeping novel that’s stood the test of time.

The Bottom-line: What can I say? It’s summertime and I’ve just returned from vacation so technology was banned, as was anything related to work. After being “strongly encouraged” by my colleague Susan and fellow Outlander aficionados Donna and Mara to tackle this novel, I bit the bullet and jumped into this 680 plus page tome last week. After a bit of a slow start, the story definitely takes off when Claire steps back into the 1740’s and scrambles to make sense of her new surroundings. I’m not sure if I would call this book a “page turner” (I could easily put it down) but it’s definitely got that “what on earth is going to happen next” type of vibe. It reminded me a bit of Pillars of The Earth which my father accurately described as “the most boring interesting book I’ve ever read.” Some of the writing is sloppy (eg: an American, Gabaldon references “dollars” instead of “pounds” or “shillings”) and the romantic tensions a bit too “desperate housewifey” for me, but overall, this is a pretty addictive read. I’m already halfway through the second installment, Dragonfly in Amber if that’s any indication. Only five left to go…

Rating: Good summer read for anyone looking for pure escapism peppered with a bit of good old fashioned romance.

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