Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Outlander

Outlander (Outlander #1)
Diana Gabaldon

Release Date: June 1, 1991

Book Description:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is 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 stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Amazon US | Goodreads

What a story!

I just finished this novel a few days ago and am surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I’ve been hesitant to pick it up even though many have recommended it to me and it has great reviews and a devout following (from what I hear). It’s been on my TBR list for awhile and I admit I have avoided reading this for quite some time, but I am very glad that I gave it a chance.

Before I delve further in, I must say that this is primarily a review of an audiobook read by Davina Porter. It is also the first audiobook I have not previously read, so I did not have any prior expectations for characters’ voices. Even then, I did struggle initially with the narrator through the beginning of the story. I felt Ms. Porter’s voice was not appropriate for that of the main heroine – Claire Randall; but as the novel progressed I’ve come to respect the narrator’s ability to “portray” the characters and even began to enjoy the style of her reading. So, I would highly recommend giving this audiobook a try. (It is a great commuter companion!)

Outlander is a historical romance novel with elements of fantasy, time-travel, and perhaps a bit of magic thrown in. It transports the reader, and the main character, from the 1945 post war Scotland to the clan-raiding Highlands of 1743 where Claire’s adventures begin and so does readers’ love affair with Jamie Fraser.

This was one very long story, so I can’t even begin to describe all the ups and downs, happiness and sorrow, love and hate encompassed in this book. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster. I hated and loved these characters. I rooted for them, and then was incredibly mad at them. But most of all there were parts that seemed to be too detailed and those that were not detailed enough: little things that picked my interest and sent my ears on the wild chase for answers; and chapters upon chapters of descriptive Highlands’ landscapes and life therein that seemed to have no end. When I first started the novel, I felt it dragged on slowly. I whined my way through, almost ready to give up. But as the ending approached, and realizing there were mere minutes left in the audiobook – I was suddenly desperate for the story to continue – so many loose ends felt left untouched. Happily, there are still many more books in the series; and Ms. Gabaldon is yet to complete it with the currently published novels, which stand at 7 (or 8?) books. So, without any further hesitation I picked up the second “audio”-volume in the Outlander saga hoping that my answers will finally be found…

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