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Outlander is a novel by Diana Gabaldon. It’s about a WWII nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland who travels through a henge (think Stonehenge) and arrives in the 1700’s. This book has a rabid following, and is actually a series of full length novels. Outlander is difficult to quantify because it is so many things. It’s Action Adventure and Historical and has one of the best Romances ever penned. It’s also going to be a Starz series later this summer, so hurry up and read it because once you see a book in film—with actors—you might lose that objectivity that really connects you to the characters in a story.
Someone asked me recently why I liked this book. I’m not a big fan of romance per se. Actually, I love romance, but a book has to have more—like some Tarzan action adventure for instance. Outlander does that for me, and it’s one of those rare novels that really transport you. You will experience the book, and not all the experiences are pleasant, but it is that total immersion into story that really sells me on a novel. The first time I read the book was in the late 90’s. The second time—well over a decade later—I enjoyed it every bit as much.
What really grabs me about Outlander is that the characters come alive. Writing dialogue with accent is considered a fiction no-no because it is the very rare author who can do it well. Diana Gabaldon nails it. You will hear every word spoken in this book, and you will see every action clearly. You will feel what Claire feels, not to mention the frustration she inspires in those around her, and you will be in 17th Century Scotland.
Occasionally some of the actions in the book raise protest from readers—spanking children, spanking wives, and various other abuses. The reason for the protests is that the perpetrators of these actions are not always the bad guys. The good guys do plenty of barbaric things that would get them in a heap of trouble in the 21st Century. The thing is, this story is in the 17th Century, and that world is not our world. Truth in fiction is not politically correct, but it strikes me as incredibly important. Always pretending that the whole world is Disney perfect serves no one, and seems far more dangerous than the truth is.
Today most current fiction is written to engage and hook the reader in the first paragraph. It’s written that way for our impatient and instant gratification world. Outlander has a bit of a slow start by the latest standards, but you won’t want to have missed a word of it as the story begins to unfold. There are no wasted details in this epic tale. If you enjoy reading, this is one you do not want to miss. It’s for adults, both male and female, and if you’ve already read it, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.