119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
To put it quite simply, I caved and bought this book second hand from Amazon as a Christmas gift to myself after seeing it recommended on so many discussion threads that it was actually getting annoying I'd not given it a try yet. Oh, I had my doubts: It's definitely *not* my usual genre of reading (time travel romance with vast reams of history thrown in), but I've thought that before about books and have been proven very wrong (cough cough, `Bronze Horseman' anyone?) Put bluntly, this is another `proved me wrong' book to add to that ever growing list, because this book was stunning.
Granted, it took me a few chapters to get into it and I *did* wonder if I'd made a mistake paying a whole 23p (plus postage!) for the copy... Ha. The beginning was quite slow and laced with gratuitous sex scenes of duller than dull history buff Frank and his wife- the stories heroine Claire, but by the time Claire stumbled accidentally back through time into Jacobite Scotland I actually found myself quite enjoying it after all.
Maybe it's to do with Gabaldon's depiction of all of the epic battles, the geography of the place and her fantastic writing- you really can imagine yourself falling back in time to crumbling castles or running through woods away from the Red Coats. Her sense of description is just astounding- other reviewers have complained about her research being inaccurate, but as I'm not an expert on Jacobite Scotland I just took the book for what it was- a really terrific read. Or maybe it's because I'd actually taken a chance on reading something different than usual and was surprised by the potential of this untapped genre.
Whatever the reason, I'm ordering the rest of the books from this epic saga and I can't wait to curl up and read them. I really must remember that in future when a book comes so highly commended, it's usually with good reason!
80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2014
For many years I turned away from romance novels. I considered them to be foolish, sentimental and a waste of my time.
Then one day I decided I wanted to read a really good romance so I went online and googled "Best Romance Novels" and Outlander #1 (Outlander Series) came up as the #1 romance novel. So, I thought - why not? After reading all the books in this series by Diana Gabaldon (not once but twice) I am now eagerly awaiting what is purported to be the final book, "Written in My Own Heart's Blood."
Other reviewers have written about the premise for this book which involves time travel for a young married woman named Clare Beauchamp Randall from the 20th century who accidentally goes back in time to the 18th century. Not knowing if she will ever return to her life in the 20th century and in order to spare her life, she must get married in the 18th century. So she marries a young man named Jamie Fraser.
What can I say that would be enough? In my opinion, Jamie Fraser is close to everything a woman would want in her mate. He is loyal, willing to give his wife freedom to be herself, selflessly sacrifices himself for those he loves, has a heart large enough to take in those who are not his blood and make them family and may God have mercy on you if you try to harm them.
The adventures Jamie and Clare go through together are absolutely amazing. The set of books in this series can be truly identified as historical. You will never again view the Scottish people in quite the same way after you go through the Battle of Culloden with them. From the court of Louis XV where the Bonny Prince Charlie was a guest to the American colonies and the American Revolution, you will be transported through time to see how the Scottish emigrants worked to make a life.
Although Jamie's and Clare's relationship began as a marriage of convenience, theirs became a life-long love affair. My favorite set of books in this genre. Because of this book, I began reading romance novels again but I have never found anything to compare with this series.
150 of 162 people found the following review helpful
on 27 April 2007
If I could have only one book Cross Stitch would be it. I stumbled across this book a few years ago and was totally blown away. Since then I have read all of the books in this series a few times (I am not the sort of person who usually re-reads books) they are just amazing - plus, I am in love with Jamie!
If you have not read any of Diana Gabaldon's books then you are missing out on a real treat but I would suggest that you read them in order, starting with Cross Stitch then Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, Fiery Cross and finally, A Breath of Snow on Ashes. They are all wonderful books and can be read out of order (especially the first four which I think are the best) but I think you get so much more understanding of Claire, Jamie & Co if read in order.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2014
I like fantasy and sy/fi books and as this one is being made into a film thought it would be good.I kept waiting on it getting better but it did not. I know its fiction but it was so unbelievable I did not finish it
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
‘Cross Stitch’ written by Diana Gabaldon is the first part of her worldwide known Outlander series, often referred to as the romantic novel in which exclusively women will enjoy, although it is actually a novel that mixes a lot of genres - adventure, drama, mystery, history, fantasy and romance - delivering a book that despite its grandiosity can be read quickly and easily.
Diana Gabaldon so far issued a dozen books in Outlander series, and still works on few new ones demonstrating how great her formula is given the great success of her books in the market.
The main character of her books is a nurse named Claire Randall who is coming back home after World War II and once again starts to live with her husband. Thanks to a strange set of circumstances and interesting fantastical premise Claire will be returned in time 200 years ago, back in the 18th-century Scotland where she will experience countless adventures and experience romantic love…
What will be of concern to a certain number of readers at first glance is the thickness of the book, which is exceptional, although the novel actually is read with ease due to the accessible style in which it was written. And though the book is primarily advertised by word-of-mouth as a romance, the fact that the author obviously knows the historical events and circumstances makes pages of the novel abundant with historical references; therefore Gabaldon’s novel can primarily still be considered historical, though through all its pages interwoven is romantic note that has definitely made the book so recognizable and successful.
It’s particularly interesting how many sex scenes can be found on the novel pages, and although the malicious could say it was a trend that began with ‘50 Shades of Gray’, which is obviously something that goes well with the audience, ‘Cross Stitch’ is a novel that has been written more than 20 years ago hence such a claim is certainly not true. And on the other hand, precisely sex is something that makes this novel more realistic - as opposed to the mystification or beautifying how typically different authors depict sex, in this case it is truthful, sometimes brutal, but certainly real.
‘Cross Stitch’ is an entertaining novel with which you will not be bored, regardless of its length, the novel that is easy to read, full of details that make the story interesting and characters more believable; so if you love history and romance, and the concept of time travel and science fiction is not too repulsive for you, this is definitely a book in which you will fully enjoy. Taking into account this is only the first in a series of author installments that will lead her heroine all around the world, if you enjoy this Diana Gabaldon first novel for a long time you will have plenty of pages to read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2014
Not at all my kind of thing - light romance mixed uncomfortably with historical fantasy. I also had little interest in the lead character so abandoned the book before finishing it.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2005
Thanks to Amazon and all the other book reviewers for putting me in touch with this book (I've just read the UK version called "Cross Stitch") due to their enthusiastic recommendations. I was a little wary at first - I mean, can a book with over 300 reviewers, nearly everyone giving it 5 stars really be that good? I'd never heard of the author before, and it seemed (from the point of view of an cynical old English reader like me) to have a few things against it from the start.
The author is an American writing about English and Scots people, having never visited Scotland and having been once to England. So it looked like it would turn out to be yet another American rose-tinted view of Scottish history with handsome hunks (speaking with a Yank accent!) sporting kilts and sweeping innocent maidens off their feet! Happily I decided to take a chance anyway and ordered Cross Stitch from Amazon. As others have commented before, this turned out not to be a standard romantic fiction novel. It's an sweeping 18th century historical novel set against the Jacobite rebellion in 1745, with an intense romance between the hero and heroine of the book, Jamie and Claire, plus a touch of the supernatural (time-travel, a la Dr Who!) thrown in to the mix. I found myself really caring about the main characters and even felt a bit teary-eyed on one or two occasions. My only complaint would be that almost all the English characters in the book(apart from Claire and Frank) were portrayed as mad, bad or homosexual. Hope this feature improves with her other books in the series which of course, I now feel compelled to read! As other readers have said, there is some sex and violence in the novel, including a wife-beating scene, so this book may not suitable for very young teenagers. However, this was all in keeping with the historical setting of the story, and did not spoil my own enjoyment of this excellent novel. It's very well researched and I found very little to criticize in its authenticity; Diana Gabaldon has even tried to include British slang words and names for things, Gaelic expressions etc - which other US authors often haven't bothered to do. So there were no really "jarring" bits of dialogue where you're thinking "Huh? -what's this?" I didn't really want the novel to end and found myself dreading the arrival of the last page - always in my experience, the sign of an excellent read. I can't recommend this book too highly. Don't miss it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2014
don't know what all the fuss is about, very ordinary writing and story
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2014
This is one of the worst and most ridiculous books I have ever read! According to the BBC, this seven-book series has sold more than 20 million copies in the US. Plus of course, the series is being filmed - as a TV series - at the moment in Scotland. As a Scottish tourist guide and Scottish travel website writer, I realise the benefit this will have for Scottish tourism, but I am shocked at how bad this book is. I have tried to read it but it is laughable. Ms Gabaldon's attempt at a Scottish accent is ridiculous. ("Quartered Safe Out Here" by the excellent writer George Macdonald Fraser is a superb book that captures the Cumbrian accent brilliantly!) I find it ironic that members of the TV cast have learned Gaelic for some of their lines.. Ms Gabaldon also seems to think that everyone in Inverness ate herring morning, noon and night in 1945 and that respectable ladies rushed off to practice pagan rites at dawn. She dwells on the most insignificant - her plot is a total drag and her style over-wrought. How can you care about these unbelievable characters?! I can't go on reading it - it is a waste of my life. It just goes to show - you can write the most appalling book and it gets rave reviews and a TV series - oh well, we certainly don't live in a meritocracy - she sure got lucky.
112 of 132 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2014
Let me start by making one thing perfectly clear - if the TV series is anything like the books, do yourself a favour: book a root canal, paint the wall and watch it dry; anything but waste your time on this tripe.
I shall try to summarise the main issues. Be aware - spoilers abound.
1. I'm only 44% into the first book on kindle and already I can feel my life getting longer because it feels like I've been reading the blasted thing forever! But there is one thing I've learned - only nurses or otherwise medically trained people are vulnerable to timeslips. It must be some strange kind of occupational hazard of the medical profession, falling through timeslips into mediaeval Scotland; it only seems to happen to them. Gives them a handy way of worming their way into some people's good books, of course - and leaves them blatantly wide open for the utterly predictable charges of witchcraft.
2. The heroine is annoying. It's hard to imagine anyone more in need of a slap. She spends a few chapters in 1946 trying to rekindle her marriage after 6 years of war blah blah blah... Insomnia cure..... THEN she is mysteriously transported back 200 years to 1743. For some reason, this is not the nice, neat 200 years she keep referring to as being the usual time slip in these matters. Within six weeks, she's married to the Highlander every female near and about (or possibly aboot) is swooning over - and he's younger than her, and a virgin to boot - supposedly against her will, but damn me she's a game bird and improvises wonderfully in the face of such a terrible fate.
3. The hero - the strapping 6 foot something 23 year old red haired brawny Adonis - is called Jamie. Of course he is. All Highland heroes are called Jamie. It's in the rules. If Scotland gain Independence, I fully expect it to be in the Constitution.
4. Leave her alone for 5 minutes and someone will try to rape her. It doesn't matter who - Scots Highlander or Redcoat, they're all hiding behind every blade of heather just waiting for the opportunity of exposing one heaving bosom or the other and grabbing her creamy white thighs.... Give it enough time, I fully expect the Aberdeen Angus to try to rape her. In fact, when the Loch Ness Monster makes an appearance (I kid you not. I wish I did, but I'm serious) I thought he would be next to jump on board ...Zzzzzzz....
And don't get me started on the Gaelic.
Where was I? Oh yes - 5
5. Despite being a magnet for ever priapic male in a 50 mile radius, she still keeps getting it into her head (when she remembers that she supposed to be married to the increasingly dull sounding Frank) to try to get back to the stone circle to get back to her first (or second, chronologically) husband, Frank. Who is the direct descendant of the main Redcoat dubiously described as a possible homosexual who, we subsequently learn, can only get it up if they're screaming.
The Redcoat, that is. Not her 1946 husband.
In fact, he's the slightly less obvious homosexual character than the other one - the Duke - who even rejoices (if possible) in an effeminate voice. Oh joy. Because that's not tiresomely stereotypical at all. And neither one appear to be able to get willing companions, having to force their attentions on staunchly heterosexual youths, preferably underage. It could be insulting - it should be insulting to the intelligence if nothing else - but it could insult if it weren't written quite so badly as to be bordering on pantomime.
6. After rescuing her - yet again - from - yet another - attempted rape, her 1740 something husband decides he has to impose some discipline as she keeps risking the lives of everyone around her, and announces she going to get her backside paddled for not staying put where she was safe and for wandering off again into yet another gang of gangbangers. Not unreasonably, he points out that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. However, she just kicks and screams like a spoiled brat and generally refuses to accept that maybe - just maybe - she really should stop doing what she keeps doing.
It's at this point that you consider that 1946 husband Frank has probably packed his bags and is clapping his hands at having disposed of the original high maintenance pain in the neck.
Of course, she can't stay angry with him for long - his name is Jamie after all, so obviously he's the hero. But she still insists on forcing an apology out of him before grudgingly accepting that maybe - just maybe - when he tells her to stay there because it's safe that - maybe - she should just stay there cus it's safe!
Jamie then somewhat sullies his heroic status by pointing out to her that she can't say no to him, then proceeds to prove the point quite violently, despite her refusal and despite her telling him he's hurting her. But that's okay because it turns out she enjoys it really... Which is quite simply the most terrifying scene I've ever read. Stephen King pales into nursery-rhyme insignificance compared to the sheer horror that is badly written rape mistaken for rough sex.
But that's okay because she heals really really quickly. Even after a flogging.
And despite pining something awful for her beloved Frank for nigh on six years during the War and never so much as giving another man a second look, give her six weeks of Jamie and she probably wouldn't recognise her other husband in a line-up.
As for describing certain intimate areas as slippery as some kind of seaweed - well, that's a mood spoiler if ever there was one.
Poor old Ken is conspicuous by his absence until about 30% in, then all of a sudden, he's everywhere. Everywhere you look people are kenning that they ken what they ken, ye ken?
Oh, and she really likes showing off all her research. Info dumps abound. Shame her research is pretty uninspired surface-only stuff. It makes Braveheart start to look like historical re-enactment. I can't believe there's more than one of these books; I can't believe one got published, never mind a whole series.
Save yourselves. It's too late for me, I'll never get these wasted hours back. Don't look back; don't hesitate; don't blink (oh wait, that's something else). Either way, just don't.
Unless of course there's a really really ridiculously good-looking bloke in it.