Friday, February 25, 2011
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.
I have seen a lot of reviews and commentary about the Outlander books as was always intrigued. When I had the chance to review the first one, I took it. And this is a compelling story that was hard to put down. It's incredibly well written and the historical aspects are fascinating. Diana Gabaldon has written a rich and captivating story. Time travel isn't new in literature, but the premise here is terrific: a modern woman, taken from her own time and dropped into brutal, 18th century Highland Scotland. I liked Claire and Jamie. I appreciated that Claire was torn between her love for Jamie and her love for Frank, her 20th century husband and that she didn't write off that relationship easily.
While Claire desires to return to her own time, she also quickly accepts her new life and situation although 18th century Scotland had to be a difficult time in which to live. I liked that Claire shared her medical knowledge with the Highlanders and that she used the herbal knowledge she gained, to help them. The Christian elements are vague until the end and I found the discussions between Claire and the abbot about the ramifications/consequences of her time travel/actions fascinating. Claire has knowledge of the future. She knows what will happen with the uprisings and Bonnie Price Charlie's attempt to take control of Scotland. She knows that the clans will be destroyed and she wants so badly to do what she can to stop it. From an ethical viewpoint, this is an intriguing story.
If books had a rating system this one would be R. Hard R. And I definitely could have done without all the detailed sex. I realize the relationship between Claire and Jamie is essential to the story, but hello! Lets leave a little to the imagination, shall we?
The portrayal of brutal, violent sex was disturbing. And there is a very uncomfortable, brutal homosexual torture scene towards the end of the book. If the sexual details were lessened, I could give the book 4 stars for the writing/story. There are other books in this series and as near as I can tell, the second is at least as sexually explicit as this one is. I don't know about the rest and I haven't decided if I will be reading them, as compelling as they are. Had I known about the number of explicit sexual scenes in this book, I probably would not have read it. As it is, I will give it 3 because I did enjoy the actual story part.
Thanks to Cheryl of Pump up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Diana Gabaldon here. You can see other reviews and blog tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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