:: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ::
I first picked this book up 11 or 12 years ago, at the insistence of my then-boyfriend’s mother. You see, I had low self-esteem, he was the king of Douche Bagastan, and she felt badly that I was sticking around and putting up with it.
She offered me this book, and a few of the others in the series to take my mind off of the persistent douchebaggery.
Boy, oh boy did it work!
I cannot even begin to explain to you the depth of love I have for the characters so artfully crafted in the pages of this book. Diana Gabaldon is colorful and descriptive in her writing, and paints an amazingly clear picture of life in a different time.
Seriously. You feel like you’re there, corset so tight it’s squeezing the Highland air right out of you.
The story starts out in 1945 where you meet Claire Randall, a nurse in WWII Britain. Claire is newly married, and just beginning to settle down into a post-wartime life with her husband, Frank, when they take a vacation to the Scottish countryside.
During said vacation, Claire stumbles into some old, strange, powerful magic in the form of Stonehenge-esque standing stones, and is transported back 200 years into the middle of the Jacobite Rising. In her confusion, she is taken into custody by a group of rebels, including one James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser: the hottest Scot to ever parade his kilted arse around the Highlands.
The first book in the series, Outlander, tells the story of the relationship forced upon Jamie and Claire, and what they do with it in order to survive. There are ups and downs, of course, both on the battlefield and between the sheets.
Don’t write this off as smut, though!
Diana Gabaldon has done her homework. Not only is her writing exceptionally crafted, but her historical facts are accurate and intricate. She plays with the details a bit, but just because the history books don’t include a Jamie Fraser doesn’t mean he wasn’t there… right?
This is an epic tale, and the first book is just that – the beginning. There are some portions of the story that move a little slowly due to the author’s excessive descriptions of historical battles, period politics, and clan relations in 18th century Scotland. If you can move through these sluggish bits, you’ll be rewarded with pages and pages of words that have been carefully woven into a beautiful and intricate tapestry of a love story.
I remember moving through the first book pretty quickly, and onto subsequent continuations as well throughout the years. There are currently seven books in the series, and the eighth is due out next year.
I. Cannot. Freaking. WAIT.
In anticipation, I am re-reading the entire series starting today.
And no, I’m not a frequent re-reader… Only with the books I love this much.
Diana Gabaldon is an inspiration. She is the kind of writer I would love to be one day. She is a true artist, and these books have taken on a life of their own in their readership.
If you want to step into an achingly beautiful world filled with historical battles, brave men, strong women, complex relationships, and a healthy portion of lust and love, then give Outlander a shot.
Ye wilna be sorry, lass.