Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Review: Outlander by Diana GabaldonOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #1
Published by Random House LLC on 2010-12-22
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Pages: 613
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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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.

The first time I read Outlander, I was a high school senior. I read the heavy tome over the course of one night with a bit of a feverish frenzy. Needless to say, I was rather hooked. However, I didn’t exactly continue on with the story. Flash forward to a few years later, to when I join an Outlander Reading Challenge fully intending to read more books in this series. As I had basically forgot the plot, I began to re-read Outlander, but in an off-and-on fashion. I would read this, only to set it aside a few days later. Also, Tony and I were watching DVD marathons of The Simpsons and I began to picture Jamie as Groundskeeper Willie which doesn’t bode very well for the sex scenes. Eventually, towards the end of the year I found myself in a bit of a reading/YA slump and decided to finally finish my re-read of Outlander. Ya’ll, I was re-hooked.

H’okay, Outlander is a time-travel historical romance. Claire Randall, amarried WWII nurse, is on a post-war honeymoon in Scotland with her husband, Frank. She watches a pagan religious ceremony around a monument similar to Stonehenge, slips through the stones and winds up in seventeenth century Scotland. Culture shock ensues. Claire is later swept off her feed by Jamie Fraser. Sexytimes ensue, lots of them, as well as pounding rock hard members.

Cue my culture shock, as most YA sex is basically fade to black. Now, I didn’t mind all of it, It was just out of my norm. I did find myself enjoying this re-read of Outlander, not quite as much as my first time reading it, but I didn’t hate it or anything. I know sometimes on a re-read books which seemed so great the first time around can fall a bit short.

The cast of characters in Outlander is huge and it can be a bit hard to keep track of them all. However, the only characters we really get to know in depth are Jamie and Claire. I would have enjoyed more development of the other characters but that seemed to take a back seat to numerous sex scenes. Not that I am complaining, but it’s just something I would have liked. Also, the villain, John Randall, was a bit overdone. I guess I enjoy ambigious bad guys, not bad guys who are so clearly bad there’s not even a hint of a question.

Overall, Outlander is a decent adventure perfect for the dead of winter. You should only read this, however, if you are craving a historical epic romantic adventure. Otherwise, well, I’m sure you will just be setting yourself up for disappointment. Please, don’t take that the wrong way. I just know that when I force myself to read something I’m not in the mood for, I end up resenting it, and dear friends, I don’t want you to end up resenting this awesome book because you read it while not in the mood.

Other Reviews:

All About {N}
Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin’
You’ve GOTTA Read This
A Literary Odyssey

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I haven’t read this yet but now that you’ve put it out there, I think it will be difficult for me to imagine Jamie as anyone but Groundskeeper Willie. Thanks a lot! …just kidding, of course.

  2. My friend convinced me to give Outlander a try, a couple of years ago, and I was quickly hooked. She had the whole series so I read through them all, one after the other. It’s a good series, though some of the books were a bit too slow for my liking. I was surprised when I heard that that she published another book in the series since I thought it ended pretty well, and I’m not sure if I’m up to reading this newest book. Mostly because I don’t remember so clearly anymore all the details of the previous books and I just don’t have the energy to reread them all.

    • I will definitely be continuing with this series and do look forward to the rest, just not one after the other.

      Also, I kind of hate how when a series seems like it is perfectly wrapped up, the author publishes another book in the series. It just seems like a money-grab to me.

  3. I read this for the first time not too long ago, and I really enjoyed it. There is constant chatter about Jamie in the blogosphere, and I had to find put what the hype was about. I will say, Jamie is quite the catch. 😉 I, too, wish the development of other characters would have occurred, but I enjoyed the book still. I do have book 2 in the series and will pick it up at some point. Why do they have to be so large??

  4. I read this a few years ago at my friend’s recommendation. I didn’t expect the sex to be described the way it was because my friend didn’t seem to be interested in that. It was really my first experience reading that, but I have to admit it was really well-written and interesting!! I loved the scope of this novel. I also like the second book in the series, but the third one kind of lost my interest.

    • Aw, that’s not good to hear about the third. I am a little nervous about it, as it sounds like Claire is mad old in the other books, and I don’t have very much interest in reading about old people doing it.

      • There are other people that come along who it wouldn’t be bad to see do it, but there are just some things that angered me at the beginning of the book and then the middle was bleh … so I stopped. But my friend told me it’s worth it to keep reading… I just didn’t.

  5. Oh man, I have had this in my TBR pile forever, but the sheer size of it has been a deterrent…how in the world did you ever read it in a night?????

  6. This has been one of those books I’ve been meaning to check out but Gabaldon’s ridiculous opinions on fanfiction (apparently it’s comparable to breaking and entering and rape or something like that) and her huge romance genre snobbery have put me off a little. Also being Scottish as well as a Celtic student who spent a lot of time researching the bastardisation of Scottish culture makes me a bit tetchy with stories like this. I can’t help it! XD

    • Have you read any of the books yet? I am sure others would be more interested in your opinion once you have read perhaps the first three novels…..

  7. I have heard great things about this one – it is on my TBR – can’t wait – I will remember your “be in the mood” comment though – just in case.

  8. Picturing him as groundskeeper willie is definitely not a good thing! 😛 It sounds a little bit off the beaten path, I’ll have to recommend to my friends who read romance. Thanks!

  9. Just wait until the third book. I almost need re-hab to reduce my addiction. I enjoyed book one, loved book two, devoured book three, so on and so forth. They are absolutely compelling reading, particularly once you have read book three. When I finished all 7 in the series I started at book one and read them all again straight away. Then I purchased all the Lord John spin offs. I stopped watching television, and would put myself to bed at 7.30pm and read until midnight. My ironing pile grew high, my floors developed dust bunnies, my plants died. My husband didn’t mind at all due to the dramatic increase in my Libido. Diana Gabaldon is a fabulous, intelligent story teller. I have purchased over 14 copies for friends who are now equally addicted. Read them, at least the first three. Cross Stitch/Outlander, Dragon Fly in Amber, Voyager.


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