Today I’m reviewing the first book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I am very late to this series only being introduced to it via the TV series which has recently started here in the UK on Amazon.
Title: Outlander (Previously published as Cross Stitch)
Series: Outlander #1
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: Romance / Historical Fiction / Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 1 January 1991
Format: e-Book / Paperback / Hardback / Audio
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US Waterstones
1946, and Claire Randall goes to the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank. It’s a second honeymoon, a chance to learn how war has changed them and to re-establish their loving marriage.
But one afternoon, Claire walks through a circle of standing stones and vanishes into 1743, where the first person she meets is a British army officer – her husband’s six-times great-grandfather.
Unfortunately, Black Jack Randall is not the man his descendant is, and while trying to escape him, Claire falls into the hands of a gang of Scottish outlaws, and finds herself a Sassenach – an outlander – in danger from both Jacobites and Redcoats.
Marooned amid danger, passion and violence, her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Somehow the Outlander phenomenon passed me by until recently. I was aware of the TV show and had been waiting for it to start here in the UK, getting more frustrated that yet another show filmed in the UK hadn’t been picked up by one of our networks, when Amazon finally picked it up for their online streaming service which set me on a TV/Reading crash course!
After watching the first 8 episodes in a week, and realising the show had been developed from a book, and of course with the knowledge that the books are always better than the visual adaptations I downloaded the first book onto my Kindle.
The book was as wonderful and emotional as I had hoped it would be. Diana Gabaldon captures the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and true unabiding love with words alone. You are transported into the world of Outlander when you are reading and into the world of Claire and Jamie.
But this is much more than just a romance novel. This is true epic fiction, which covers the fear of the English invasion of Scotland prior to the wars of independence, the witch trials, and general day to day living in the harsh terrain and weather climates of the highlands.
The discussion of religion and Claire’s struggles with her own religion having been an agnostic in her own time but it’s relevance in Jamie’s is beautifully discussed and covered towards the end of the book and actually proves to explain the things this couple are willing to do and sacrifice for each other time and time again.
Despite all this there is a touch of the fantasy and sci-fi with this novel, which is probably what I love the most about it. The fact that you never quite know what will happen at any given point. The fact that someone from the twentieth century can be transported back 200 years to the eighteenth century is fascinating and the fact she could be transported back at any moment leaves you constantly on edge.
As I’ve said, I don’t know how this series has passed me by before, but I cannot wait to read the next book in the series and have already downloaded it.
About Diana Gabaldon:
Diana Jean Gabaldon Watkins grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D in Ecology.
She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona .
Diana Gabaldon Links: