Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Posted 11 February, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 28 Comments


Title: Outlander
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Published: 1991  Pages: 850 (or a bajillion epages)
Genre: Fiction (romance with a lowercase r)
Rating: Ignore the whole world until book has been devoured

Outlander in Short: In 1945 Claire Randall walks through a time portal in Scotland transporting her to 1743.

Why I Read It: Because everyone kept saying how amazing it was. Sometimes I’m a sheep.

Thoughts in General: I’m trying to think of a way to ease into my thoughts on Outlander but honestly all I want to tell you is that I was consumed by this book. I finished it a little after Thanksgiving last year and I’m still tempted to start reading it again (yes, rather than begin the second book in the series). It’s not often that I become so obsessed with a story and the characters but I’ve become a total fangirl and have even started occasionally stalking the Starz website for updates on the show. Seriously unlike me…but I know that I’m also not the only one.

How did this happen? It didn’t happen right away. In fact I felt the beginning of the book to be drawn out and a little clunky in terms of the writing and the plot. I almost wished that I had the paper copy of the book because I had a difficult time keeping the details in my head, especially once Claire traveled in time and met Jamie Fraser whose history is a little murky for the first halfish of the book. I kept wondering when I would be swept up in the drama and when the obvious tension between Claire and Jamie would be relieved (note: I knew nothing about this book going in except that there was time travel and a hot Highlander).

But swept away I became and I was able to forgive the details that were sometimes overwrought and the drama that was sometimes eyeroll inducing. Gabaldon created flawed characters that are still fiercely loveable and the action and suspense in the book kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the duration. I admit that she almost lost me near the end and I wish we could have done without certain details (that went on and on ad nauseam), but it has been longer than I can remember when I was stealing away every possible moment to read just a little bit more…just one more page.

Um yes, and there is quite a bit of steaminess in the book. Ahem. That’s all I need to say about that. There’s so so much more–such as the juxtaposition of Claire’s more modern sensibilities and the 18th century view of women. Or even the themes such as the breaking point and redemption of man. Or the choice between one life versus another. The morality of coupling with one man when in another life you are married with another. The history of the Jacobites and the Great Pretender. But blah blah blah who cares give me Jamie and Claire la-di-da.

Bottom Line: This book was like the box of chocolates before a diet. You just have to devour it as quickly as possible so that you can move on. For me it was so that I could get anything done besides reading this book. You know that I don’t gush very often and I’ve only once gushed about a fictional crush, but whatever, I can’t help it. As a note, my mom and sister both read Outlander at the same time I did. My sister also loved it but my mom was a bit lukewarm. I think some people take to it and others don’t. Just like with any book, yes?

Can I leave you with the trailer for the upcoming Starz series? Ok, you’re welcome.

28 Responses to “Outlander – Diana Gabaldon”

  1. Les

    I tried to listen to this on audio several years ago, but didn’t get hooked and eventually gave up. I decided to download the ebook last month and have it waiting patiently for me to carve out a big chunk of reading time. I have a week in Oregon coming up in April, so maybe I’ll give it a go then. It’s either that or East of Eden. Hmmm, or maybe I should finish 11/22/63. Ah, these chunksters. Makes me wish I could retire!

  2. I had trouble with that scene at the end and it over shadowed everything else and has made me nervous to read the next one. I may be ready now though.

  3. I find myself giddy when someone discovers this series and loves it! I have been a fan since it was first published over 20 years ago and have reread it many times. The audiobooks are just fantastic! My daughter read it for the first time a couple of years ago and yelled at me for not “forcing” her to read it sooner!

  4. I’m currently re-reading this for probably the 4th time. I read it first way back when it first came out in paperback and have read as far as the 4th book in the series. The promotions for Starz TV show made me want to re-read one more time before I watch the show becaues I WILL HAVE TO WATCH THE SHOW. Yeah – overwrought and repetitive but still just good.

  5. “blah blah blah give me Jamie and Claire la di da” HAHAHAHA! Yes. My best friend introduced me to this series, and as she’s a strict romance reader, I was nervous. I needn’t have been. At the time I worked for a Montessori School, and at nap time, I’d open the tiny bathroom door, turn the light on, and READ. It was heaven and hell at the same time, as nap time was always too short.

    I cannot CANNOT wait for this series. I was skeptical, but that accent? Damn.

  6. I am so glad you liked this, Trish! I did as well. I have even reread it!! I am still surprised by this all the time and have actually been considering rereading it recently. I would love to do audio one day, but I have to be in the right frame of my mind… Are you going to read on in the series? I know I told you once I have never felt compelled to, but maybe I should? I don’t know…

  7. YAY! I’m so glad you loved this! I’ve read the next two in the series but when it comes to rereading, I ALWAYS come back to the first book. It’s just so good! And I’m glad you could add to your fictional crushes. :) My mom liked this book but she didn’t gush like I did … ah well, we can’t ALL love the same books, right?

  8. Thanks for including the trailer, I hadn’t seen it yet. I was worried about the casting for Jamie, but it looks like they did a pretty good job.

  9. Every time I look at this book, my eyes are practically rejected by it and quickly move on to something else. For some reason, this one worries me despite how many people I know who love it.

  10. I’m supposed to be reading this one for Tuesday Book Talk on Twitter this month but so far haven’t started it. Now, however, I’m ready to get to it!

  11. I totally agree with your thoughts/feelings of this book! I am excited about the series on Starz, though I will have to wait until it is available on Netflix. It’s hard to wait, but also WAY more fun to watch a series without messing with commercials and having to wait a week between episodes. Also, I did enjoy the other books in the series, but the first is still the best! :) Who wouldn’t love Jamie?? :)

  12. I felt that way about every one of the books, but the BEST, in my opinion, is Drums of Autumn. The ending of that book left me thinking for a long time about family and tradition and what it means to have ancestral roots. I’m eagerly waiting for the June publication of the new one.

  13. I got wind that this was on sale (for maybe $1.99?) as an ebook a few weeks back, and . . . I totally caved and bought it. Loved your review, and can’t wait to start!