Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is not a new book, but it certainly one that has stood the test of time and a novel that should be introduced to a new generation of reader. It is the 20th anniversary of the novel and in celebration some copies of the book were given away on Librarything.com. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a copy of the book for which I am so grateful. Outlander is one of the best books I have ever read. The characters and plot are fantastic. This book has it all including adventure, time travel, romance, sex, violence, and history. It is hard to categorize this novel because of its expanse. It is a very good read and even at 800+ pages didn’t seem like a long read to me.
Claire is a nurse and the year is 1945. Claire and her husband Frank have survived the war and have gone to Scotland for a bit of a vacation (second honeymoon). They haven’t seen each other much over the years of the war, she being a nurse and he working in intelligence. They chose Scotland because that is where they got married and Frank has a scholarly interest in his family tree, and he hopes to find some documentation of his ancestors there in Scotland. Everything is going to plan with Frank discovering new information about his family and Claire indulging in her new hobby, herbal lore. That is until Claire is shown a local stone ring much like Stonehenge by a local who took her out on a herbal discovery field trip. Through some kind of magical event Claire is transferred back in time to the 1700s. Now she must learn to survive in the most brutal of ages with the help of a man wanted for a murder he didn’t commit while trying to find a way back home to her time. Can she escape the clan of Scotsmen who have taken her prisoner and find her way back to the circle? And if so will it take her back home? You must read the novel to find out.
What appealed the most to me about this novel was the depth of character of the characters. Usually in books you find one-dimensional characters that may or may not grow during the course of the story. In Gabaldon’s book, you will find characters with real depth and who do change and grow but stay true to themselves. Claire is a modern woman trapped in a medieval time. She tries to conform to the age but finds her modernism creeping out at the most inopportune moments. James, the man she is “forced” to marry in the 1700s in order to survive is a very pragmatic man; things are as they are because the work and they keep the clan safe. In their relationship they have fights because of their different viewpoints but they find their relationship deepening and growing around them, and neither of them is comfortable with it or knows what to do with the new love they are experiencing.
I also thought the plot was well written and well thought out. Nothing seemed out of place or unnecessary, it all added wonderfully to the journey of the characters. It was rich with detail constructing a medieval Scotland in a way I have imagined it from other novels and works that I have read. The plot was a rich tapestry that surrounded her wonderful characters. It moved well and kept me very interested. The book is 800+ pages and I read it in about a week. That is how good this book was. Make sure you have plenty of time when you start reading this one; you will not want to put the novel down once you start reading it.
I loved this novel and cannot wait to dive into the next book in the series. I would suggest this book for anyone who likes a good adventure or romance or likes historical novel s or basically if you like to read good books then you should read this one. Take it on the plane, to the beach, on vacation; take it anywhere just read it. It is a fantastic novel.