I am feeling so happy writing this review because at one time I thought I will never be able to finish Outlander. I tried reading it several times over the last year but somehow could not connect with it. It was only after a Booktagrammer discussed this book on Instagram did I give it another try. The thickness of this book always kept me from reading it but once I started reading the book, the thickness of the book seemed inconsequential when compared to the intriguing content inside it. This book sucked me completely into its fictional world and I started seeing Jamie and Claire even in my dreams.
Outlander is often criticised for its sexually explicit scenes and if you ask me about it then I will say that I am still on the fence about those scenes. This is the first book I have read after Fifty Shades of Grey with such sex scenes in it. With FSoG it felt fine because Christian and Ana were both single. Here, however, Claire is actually married to an amazing man and yet she had some ‘wild action’ with another man. Of course, she has time-travelled to another century and she has to do whatever she can to survive even if it means marrying another man. I understand her dilemma. But it still doesn’t feel right because her husband is a very nice man and cheating on him like that doesn’t feel right. It kinda dampened her love story with Jamie for me. Jamie and Claire’s love story is pure fireworks but because of her husband Frank it felt wrong to enjoy it. If I keep Frank aside I think I simply love Jamie and Claire together. So, I have decided to keep this little detail out of my review i.e. I will not delve deeper into the ‘adulterous’ angle and will focus on the fact that Claire is with Jamie in a completely different time period so she is not really cheating on Frank and so her marriage and even her love for Jamie is legitimate.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delacorte Books
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.
(Blurb from Goodreads.com)
I LIKE Outlander Because,
…it is so damn well-written. The book has 800+ pages with the tiniest font (damn you mass paperback). Reading such a book can be a chore but Gabaldon’s writing is so gripping that I would find myself totally immersed in it. Yes, it took me long to finish this book but I remember each time I would read the book I would never feel distracted because I would be totally engaged in the story. Her writing is so descriptive that I could see Scotland before my eyes. I could see Jamie’s wounds and Claire curly brown hair right in front of me. I’m glad they made a TV series of this book because it truly deserves to reach more people.
…the convoluted plot makes the book very interesting. A lot of events that take place in the book were totally unheard of, at least for me and it was fun to read about Scottish traditions and beliefs. Even with such a thick plot the story never bores. There is always something shocking happening after every issue that is resolved. Gabaldon gives you no scope to drift away from the story as it will have you in its grasp till the very end.
…all of Gabaldon’s characters are complex and feel real. I suppose Gabaldon must have done thorough research and must have given a lot of time and thought towards building every single character in the book. No character feels superficial. There is a backstory and purpose to each person in the book which is why the book feels so real.
…I enjoyed Jamie and Claire’s romance. I am saying this keeping aside Frank’s angle. Jamie is a kind-hearted burly man who falls for the smart and strong Claire. They are the perfect match for each other. There were certain scenes that felt patronising and sexist but then the book is set in the 18th century when these issues were prevalent so I do not see anything wrong in having them in the book.
I Do NOT Like Outlander Because,
…it is too long. Of course, I do not consider this as a shortcoming of the book but for an impatient reader like me reading 850 pages is difficult. Despite liking this book, the only reason I do not see myself continuing with this series is because the books are all thick and I do not have the time or dedication to complete this book series. However, if someday I start missing Jamie and Claire, I might just grab a copy of the next book but for now, I will give this series a break.
Favourite Quotes in Outlander
“For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary”
“I can bear pain myself, he said softly, but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.”
“Does it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” He hesitated a moment before answering.
“Well, no,” he said slowly, “so long as it doesna bother you that I am.”
“Ye werena the first lass I kissed,” he said softly. “But I swear you’ll be the last.”
“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” I said, a little breathless. He grinned and pulled me close again.
“I said I was a virgin, not a monk,” he said, kissing me again. “If I find I need guidance, I’ll ask.”
“Does it ever stop? The wanting you?” “Even when I’ve just left ye. I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting to touch ye again.”
“You are safe,” he said firmly. “You have my name and my family, my clan, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well. The man willna lay hands on ye again, while I live.”
“Not for the first time, I reflected that intimacy and romance are not synonymous.”
Final View: Gabaldon’s astounding writing prowess is what keeps you tied to the book. The well-developed characters, sexy scenes and the complex plot makes this book a must-read. I will recommend Outlander to every adult who likes reading some historical fiction.
You can check out Amazon.in for a discount on this book.