10:45 am EDT, July 11, 2013

‘Outlander’ book review: Why this story on being trapped in 1743 Scotland is worth a read

Time travel, adventure, history, love…the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is an epic story about an ex-British WWII army nurse who accidentally steps through an ancient standing stone and finds herself trapped in 1743 Scotland.

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Before realization begins to settle in Claire Randall’s mind, she is kidnapped by a band of Highlanders who take her to the stronghold of Clan MacKenzie. Unable to escape, Claire adapts to her new life at Castle Leoch and begins a friendship with a sweet, young brute of a man, Jamie Fraser, who in his own way is also trapped in a place he doesn’t want to be. Their relationship changes when Claire is in danger of becoming a prisoner to an English soldier who believes her to be a spy.

She is forced to marry Jamie in order to protect herself. Having no desire to marry Jamie, because she already has a husband back in 1945 whom she loves, Claire finds herself falling for this charming Highlander. Though she still wishes to go back to her first husband, Frank, she doesn’t want to hurt Jamie by abandoning him.

I found this series to be rather refreshing after delving into a bunch of YA novels. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Hunger Games and Divergent, etc. and I love that the main characters are strong young women who are trying to make a difference and do what’s right, but they are also touchy teenagers who don’t know who they are yet. Though I can relate to this “searching” of oneself, it was so great to see a strong confident female character who knows who she is and what she is meant to do in the world, especially in a world she was not born to.

From the beginning of the story, Claire Randall is a dominant character who holds her own. She is unwillingly removed from her home and thrown back 200 hundred years in time, but she still remains herself. Being a woman in the seventeenth century was not easy in general; being an independent twentieth century woman in the seventeenth century is not any easier. Claire constantly struggles with people of the time who don’t understand her because of her obvious outlandish manner. But she holds firmly to her beliefs and morals and tries to use what she knows to help the people she meets.

And of course the greatest time traveling story of all time and space played a part in the creation of Diana’s series. The character of Jamie Fraser was inspired by the Classic Doctor Who character James Robert “Jamie” McCrimmon played by actor Frazer Hines. Jamie Fraser is possibly the most interesting character I have ever read in a novel. He is all kinds of wonderful in every way. He may seem like a wild barbarian to those who don’t know him, but Jamie Fraser has the kindest heart.

I wanted to spread the word of this awesome series to those who may not have heard of it and since I couldn’t find a word about Outlander on Hypable, I just had to write my own spiel about it. I wouldn’t recommend the series to all ages, there is a lot of mature and graphic content not intended for the faint-hearted. Outlander is not only a story about time travel and romance; it’s also a work of historical fiction. The first two books take place during the second Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which Charles Stewart attempts to take back the throne of Scotland and England from King George. To say more will give away spoilery information, but I will say that throughout the series you will read about the French court, adventures in the Indies and the beginning of the American Revolution.

Diana Gabaldon is currently writing the eighth book in the series entitled Written in my Own Heart’s Blood, which is due to come out in March of 2014. In recent television news, the network Starz will start filming Outlander this fall. Just yesterday (July 9) Scottish actor Sam Heughan was officially announced as the lucky man who gets to play Jamie Fraser!

Twitter follows:
Diana Gabaldon: @Writer_DG
Sam Heughan: @Heughan
Outlander TV show: @Outlander_Starz

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