Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
(Dell Publishing, 2005, 896 pages)
I’m late in the game for checking out Outlander. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about, especially since now it’s a TV show people are flocking to. It’s interesting to try and describe the book to others because it has so many different elements at play. This book has history, romance, AND time travel. This is by no means a small book, but it reads fairly quickly and it’s part of a series of similarly large books.
The book starts off shortly after the end of WWII. Claire Randall and her husband are vacationing in Scotland to get “reacquainted” after years apart during the war. While on this second honeymoon of sorts, the Randalls discover a hidden alcove with stone markers. When Claire revisits these stones on her own she suddenly finds herself transported to another time. She’s in the same place, but it’s 200 years earlier.
Understandably confused, Claire is shocked to find herself grabbed by a British soldier who tries to have his way with her. After managing to escape from him she is then taken by a group of Scottish men who are also trying to get away from the British. The men decide to hold her until they can figure out whether or not she’s a spy. She makes herself useful once they return to their home at Castle Leoch. Having been a nurse during the war her medical knowledge comes in handy.
As Claire adapts to this new time she finds herself placed in another difficult situation. In order to save her from the hands of the British (specifically the man who tried to rape her earlier) Claire is forced to marry a young Scot named Jamie. This forced marriage kindles something between them that neither Jamie or Claire could have anticipated…
I was intrigued by the story and curious to see how Gabaldon developed it. If you enjoy historical novels and don’t mind romance and a unique fantasy element you’ll probably get a kick out of Outlander. I can’t say I’m compelled enough to continue with the series… At least not right now. But I did enjoy the book.