by Diana Gabaldon
“Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…
In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder 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 border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning 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 passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.” -Goodreads
Dragonfly in Amber
“For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones about a love that transcends the boundaries of time …and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his…
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising …and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves…” -Goodreads
“Their passionate encounter happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her… and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.
Then Claire discovers that Jamie survived. Torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face the passion and pain awaiting her…the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland… and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that can reunite or forever doom her timeless love.” -Goodreads
I intended to write a review over these books months ago…. oops. Thus far in the Outlander series I have read Outlander, A Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager. I must say, to those who haven’t read the books yet, each one is an epic. Seriously, these are some massive books. While it took me three months, last spring, to finish Outlander, and I did not even start A Dragonfly in Amber until late summer, the plot of the stories run together in my mind. I felt it was about time I reviewed the books because the television series Outlander, by the premium channel Starz, started back up for their spring premiere yesterday (April 4th).
While I typically spend a bit of time in each review judging the books by their covers, I can’t do that with this series because I read e-book editions of them that did not show the cover. I read these books not because they are eye candy (which after looking up the covers, they are most definitely not), but because they were recommended to me by my best friend.
While definitely an unrealistic series, it does have some real aspects. For example, every so often in the books there is a lull of little activity. From a reader’s point of view it can get a bit dull at these points, but as a whole the novels stand out because of these moments lead up to some pretty intense moments.
An aspect of the novels that bothers me is the time change between Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber. While I understand that a lot of plot and character development is covered during this time, I am not the biggest fan of reading something through a flashback.
Now for our main characters. Claire Beauchamp-Randall-Fraser is an amazing protagonist woman. As her story begins with her just after WWII, she does a great job of adjusting to the life of a woman in the 1700s. While that may make you think that she became a submissive, timid female, she did not. She showed her strength and talents and became a character to idealize. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser is a god. As our male protagonist, Jamie is a young, virginal (at least in the beginning), sexy male. He is compassionate and caring. While occasionally his behaviors get on my nerves (His being a 1700s Scot, he has certain ideas of how women behave), he makes up for it with his love.
Overall the novels are intriguing with a new plot twist every step of the way. I would recommend them to those who don’t mind the challenge of reading over 700 pages per novel.
I’ve started the fourth novel in the sequence, Drums of Autumn, but since the book is so big, I keep setting it aside for shorter, more easily digested novels.
Whether you’ve read the books or seen the television show, what do you think of Outlander?