The year is 1945, World War II has just ended, and Claire Randall is on her second honeymoon with her husband, Frank, in Scotland to rekindle their marriage after they both served their country. During their stay, Frank researches his ancestry and they come across a stone circle in the area.
When Claire returns to the stone circle to retrieve a flower she saw, she touches the main stone and finds herself in the same location, but in the year 1743. She is a sassenach, or an outlander, to the local Scottish people. Gabaldon tells Claire’s story as she makes her way through a different time, amongst a different culture.
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
Don’t be entirely intimidated by the length of this book, because once you’re in it, you’re sure to speed your way through the story! I love the concept, and Gabaldon does a great job executing it. I especially love how the characters are fleshed out slowly, which adds depth to the story and the people who populate the story.
This book really got me thinking about history and when it becomes history. Claire and Frank spent a lot of time researching his ancestry, specifically one man named “Black Jack” Randall, whom Claire meets when she travels back to 1743. To Claire, he is incredibly real, not just a name on a piece of paper, as he is for Frank. But a real human, who lived and breathed two hundred years ago. When did he become history? No longer a person, but a name, a figment of Frank’s imagination as he wonders who his ancestor really was?
There were quite a few things I loved about this story, especially how it got me thinking about history, but the reason I didn’t like it lies at the end. I don’t want to ruin the story, so I won’t even allude to what happens, but for some it might be disturbing. I actually watched the show Outlander first, and found myself absolutely horrified by the ending. Yes, the story consists of a lot of murder, violence, sex, and attempted sexual assault, but the ending really topped everything else that happened up to that point. If you’re considering reading this book, that’s the only thing I’ll warn you about. But I don’t want to give it away.
I think the show did a great job sticking to the book, but near the end, the small changes they made at the beginning began to pile up. And I’m worried the show will only veer further and further away from the series until I’m reading one thing and watching another.
Overall, I would recommend this book to a busy mom. Just keep in mind that there are lots of characters to keep track of and some more intricate parts of the story that require a lot of attention. If you have the time and attention to dedicate to this book, I say go for it! Especially if you’re looking for a challenge when it comes to reading longer books. You won’t regret it!
Four out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, you might also like The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing Outlander, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.