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.
10 billion stars.
I have an unabashed obsession with this series now. As in, I don’t care if it’s not healthy, give me all the Outlanderparaphernalia because Jamie and Claire are OTP and life. I’m writing this review knowing things I should probably not know, meaning I’m already in book three because I slacked on writing the review. So I know, you know? But still – I’m going to talk about why this book is obsession-worthy, and why I can’t stop talking about it.
The first seventy-five pages of the book are slow, I’ll give it that. I actually put the book down for about two weeks to read something else a) because this book is massive and b) because the first bit is slow. What’s a girl to do? I had heard from many people that this series was fantastic. I had heard from others that the show was a lot better than the books. I think it all boils down to getting past those first seventy-five pages and also understanding that time-period that Diana Gabaldon is writing in (being 18th century Scotland and 20th century Scotland).
Let me start out by saying that I didn’t like Frank from the start. Yes, you heard it first: I had already made up my mind about Claire’s husband in 1946 in those first pages before Jamie Fraser even showed up in the book. There was a line, a scene, that made my decisions for me. Because, Frank Randall, you’re a cad, no matter what you did later. I still don’t like you, and nothing you ever say, said, do, or did will change that. Sorry totally not sorry. I hate Frank even more when I met his ancestor, Jack Randall. The whole sins of the father thing has never fit anyone more appropriately than it fits Frank and Jack Randall. Jack Randall was the worst of the worst. He could give the devil a run for his money. I despised the guy like I have never despised a fictional character before. Frank Randall might have been a cad, but Jack Randall was words that aren’t appropriate in any conversations. I could rant and rave about how much I hate Jack Randall until I’m blue in the face.
Claire spends a good portion of the book trying to go back to Frank, for obvious reasons. I get it. He’s your husband. You have a commitment to uphold. I understand. That’s moral of you. However, anyone who has heard anything about this series knows that she and Jamie have an amazing romance. Because she never thinks she’ll go back to Frank (and don’t I cheer on that sliver of knowledge), he might as well be dead. When she’s forced to marry the young Scottish highlander to save her life, I couldn’t have been happier. One, I love Jamie, and two, I loved the chemistry that they shared. I also hated a certain girl whose name I don’t care to figure out how to spell or pronounce properly and didn’t want a good guy like James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser to settle for someone like her.
While the romance is the central aspect of the story and the most important part to some people, I also devoured the history. Diana Gabaldon transports you to the highlands of Scotland before the second Jacobite rebellion, and I could almost smell the rain and feel the heather under my feet. As if I didn’t want to go to Scotland before, the desire to jump on a plane and visit the historical country is stronger than ever now. The history, the setting, and the atmosphere was fantastic and transportive. I couldn’t devour it fast enough.
This is my new favorite series of all time. I already own too many copies of the books and have candles currently taking up my shelves. The story is unforgettable, and the characters are unique. I cannot stop recommending it to everyone looking for a book to sink their teeth into, searching for a story to fall into. If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for? I dare say even this book is better than the show (even those Sam Heughan is, well, Sam Heughan).