SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: OUTLANDER BY DIANA GABALDON

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). 

Outlander: Cross Stitch: (TV Tie-In), Diana Gabaldon

I know the Outlander series has been around for a long time, but since I’m not a big fan of fantasy and time travel, I never gave the series much thought. When the TV series came out, my FB newsfeed was full of women sighing “Jamie, Jamie, Jamie”, so I figured it was time to give the series a go. I was lucky to score a Netgalley version of Outlander aka Cross Stitch owing to new TV tie-ins of the series. Here’s the blurb:

In 1945, Claire Randall is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an Outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds.

A wartime nurse, Claire can deal with the bloody wounds that face her. But it is harder to deal with the knowledge that she is in Jacobite Scotland and the carnage of Culloden is looming. Marooned amid the passion and violence, the superstition, the shifting allegiances and the fervent loyalties, Claire is in danger from Jacobites and Redcoats – and from the shock of her own desire for James Fraser, a gallant and courageous young Scots warrior. Jamie 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.

For a sample, click here.

Once I started reading this, I asked myself, “Why haven’t you picked this up before?” I was immediately drawn into Claire’s double life and her emotional dilemma as she juggled her feelings for two men in two separate times. The novel is rich in historical detail, peppered with engaging and not-so-nice characters and events, wry (and bawdy) humour, and plenty of sword-fighting, kilt-raising and musket-shooting action. And of course, there’s the romance element, which makes the heart flutter and pulses race as Claire and Jamie discover each other in more ways than one. When the novel finished, I wanted to keep reading.

One criticism I’ve heard of the books is that they are long. That doesn’t bother me if the story flows well, but I do have difficulty sustaining interest in long series. I am going to seek out the next few books and see how far I get. PS. I haven’t seen the TV series, but judging from his written characterisation, the “Jamie, Jamie, Jamie” sighs are completely justified. Sigh. Here’s a trailer (if you haven’t already seen it).

My e-copy was courtesy of Random House Australia via Netgalley.