Date Completed: 8/2/2016
This book took me forever to finish. I liked the characters, I liked the romance, I liked the premise, but I didn’t love any of it. And six hundred pages in, it gets a little hard to keep going through a story that you only like, not love. However, after a brief break in which I read five other books, I finished! It was good. I’ll probably read the next one, and maybe even keep reading through the series.
I’ve certainly never read a book like this before. I tend to stick to more realistic stories, memoirs are my favorites after all. I’ve never read a romance novel, and while the romance wasn’t the main plot, it was a big component. For those of you who don’t know the Outlander plot, and for some reason I was among you until a few weeks ago, it’s a time travel story that starts in the 1940s and goes back to the 1700s. It’s weird. I do love a good historical fiction, though, and getting a better idea of Scotland in the 1700s is always a good time. Gabaldon certainly does a good job of exploring language and character traits that would be likely to occur back then, or at least believable to someone who is not a historian.
I really enjoyed that Claire is a medical professional in the 1940’s and also that she is very feminine. When she goes back in time her worth as a doctor increases even more. Her whole character is very feminist; she enjoys her independence, has a solid work ethic, and maintains her femininity – Claire successfully embodies a woman who makes her own choices about how she portrays her gender despite very gendered roles being thrust upon her.
Gabaldon uses time travel effectively to not only combine WWII perspective with 1600s knowledge, but also to create the primary romantic conflict in the story. Without giving anything away, I will say that Gabaldon’s tactic, while at times irking-ly overdiscussed, feels like a very realistic internal dilemma for Claire to face.
This is the first of eight currently written books in the series by Diana Gabaldon. Gabaldon has been writing this series for 25 years and the show finally came out, it’s become pretty popular.