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!
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.
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.
on 5 May 2015
Somehow the Outlander phenomenon passed me by until recently. I was aware of the TV show and had been waiting for it to start here in the UK, getting more frustrated that yet another show filmed in the UK hadn't been picked up by one of our networks, when Amazon finally picked it up for their online streaming service which set me on a TV/Reading crash course!
After watching the first 8 episodes in a week, and realising the show had been developed from a book, and of course with the knowledge that the books are always better than the visual adaptations I downloaded the first book onto my Kindle.
The book was as wonderful and emotional as I had hoped it would be. Diana Gabaldon captures the beauty of the Scottish Highlands and true unabiding love with words alone. You are transported into the world of Outlander when you are reading and into the world of Claire and Jamie.
But this is much more than just a romance novel. This is true epic fiction, which covers the fear of the English invasion of Scotland prior to the wars of independence, the witch trials, and general day to day living in the harsh terrain and weather climates of the highlands.
The discussion of religion and Claire's struggles with her own religion having been an agnostic in her own time but it's relevance in Jamie's is beautifully discussed and covered towards the end of the book and actually proves to explain the things this couple are willing to do and sacrifice for each other time and time again.
Despite all this there is a touch of the fantasy and sci-fi with this novel, which is probably what I love the most about it. The fact that you never quite know what will happen at any given point. The fact that someone from the twentieth century can be transported back 200 years to the eighteenth century is fascinating and the fact she could be transported back at any moment leaves you constantly on edge.
As I've said, I don't know how this series has passed me by before, but I cannot wait to read the next book in the series and have already downloaded it.
on 1 January 2016
A well written novel in its literary context, though I had expected better from a top ranked best selling author. IMHO Outlander is far from a tightly honed page-turning plot, nor is there a beauty to the weaving of the canvas in the descriptive sense. Unlike the TV movie version, Scotland never really emerged from the mists of the book, and the overriding Hollywood style of "Bash the English and all hail the Scots" killed the book on its biased slant. As for the female protagonist, she was so self-centred she lost my vote early on in the book. As for the supposed hero. No thanks. He became less of a man the minute he bashed the lack lustre heroine in the manner of a drunkard woman abuser. Besides, vast tracks of the book meander through page after page of padded waffle, and while I love tomes, never before have I skim read passages to move forward rather than abandon the book as a lost cause. To say it was disappointing read, is putting it mildly.
on 15 April 2016
This review is of the first three books in the Outlander series. Why only three? Well...herein lies the problem. The first two and three quarter books (more of the last quarter of Voyager later) proved to be excellent reads. The first, 'Cross Stitch' was a fantastic story with some memorable characters and a central story that was both fresh and compelling. In Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall we get a hero who is truly heroic and a heroine with backbone and spirit. The Scottish characters (Dougal Mackenzie, Colum Mackenzie, Murtagh,Mrs Fitz, Ned Gowan et al) are well drawn and the book is set wholly in Scotland,a setting that the writer seems very comfortable with and which helps her writing considerably. The second book Dragonfly in Amber, while starting off rather slowly picks up once the plot returns to Scotland, and Voyager, Book three, picking up they story from the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, culminating with the main protagonists finding one another again, was very entertaining. BUT.....Here we come to the final quarter of Voyager. The author makes the decision to continue the series, seemingly interminably, so Jamie and Claire end up at sea-both in the book and as characters. The security of writing when the plot was firmly placed in Scotland vanishes as Jamie and Claire take a voyage across the Atlantic, facing all manner of baddies, goodies, zombies and pirates as they seek their missing nephew. By this time I hate to admit that I was pretty underwhelmed by it all and longing for it to end.
So, 'Outlander/Cross Stitch' a resounding 5 stars, absloutely love it.
'Dragonfly in Amber' 4 and a half stars, moves story on well and still retains enough of the minor characters to keep the interest.
'Voyager' a reluctant 4 stars for a great story that tails off into a vaguely silly ending.
How I wish that Diana Gabaldon had left the story in Scotland. As soon as the lovers were shipwrecked in the USA my interest plummeted to zero.
A novel and new idea that was a great read has been drawn out to meaningless page filling. I no longer care much about Jamie or Claire ( who even by book 3 is becoming a bit shrewish and irritating) I'm sure many will read on to the bitter end...but I prefer to leave it as it stands and remember the wonderful first book and the sense of place the author imbues the books with while the story remains in Scotland.
on 20 January 2013
THE OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
The Romance Reader, Listopia and Amazon ALL list THE OUTLANDER as their number one romance novel of all time. Because I apparently had nothing to read one night *rolls eyes*, I ordered THE OUTLANDER from KOBO and set my mind on everything love and romance. By the time I was finished (2 nights later) 896 `real' pages, I had to agree: The Outlander is probably the number one romance novel *sigh*.
First published in 1991, The Outlander is a novel of love, romance and betrayal set in both the 18th and 20th centuries. So hold on, grab a coffee or glass of wine, read my review. It is almost as long as the book. : )
The Outlander is the first book in Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander series. The Romance Reader, Listopia and Amazon ALL list The Outlander as the number one romance book of all time. So, I dug in my heels, and forged ahead. Almost 900 pages later, I am exhausted. The premise involves the history between Scotland and England, romance, sex, love, betrayal, violence, medicine, witchcraft, spirituality, torture, rape, time travel and family. But above all else, this is a love story that crosses the centuries: an accidental relationship that was forced between two people, to save their lives and the lives of many more.
The Outlander is a long novel. The many different storylines of romance, love and torture at the hands of someone claiming to love, is reminiscent of many abusive relationships. But the true relationship between Jamie and Claire, evolves into a love match, that anyone would hold close to their heart. The Outlander is one story,that I will never forget. As the first book in The Outlander series, I can only surmise, that my heart will be heavy, my eyes will be red, and I will not like the idea that Claire will return to her own time. The lists and top tens may have it correct-this is one of the best romance stories I have read.
see all of my reviews at : thereadingcafe(dot)com
on 31 July 1999
Was that not enough sex or not enough love? No-one could have loved more than Claire and Jamie! As a Scot lving in Scotland, I found this one of the most fantastic romances I have ever read (generally I steer clear of them). In my opinion no other romance writer that I have read comes close to Diana Gabaldon. And as for the violence - what exactly do you think happened in Scotland in during the times of the clearances? Do you think the English politely asked the Scots if they would all like a little trip to America/Canada? That's if they lived that long. (Sorry, a bit of my nationalistic streak coming out). Yes, this book did have parts which were violent, Jamie's rape being one of the more memorable scenes in it. But my very 'straight-laced' mother read it and loved it as much as anyone else I know. And as for the 'not enough romance' complaint this is the only book that has made me weep at the intensity of the love between the characters (I'm normally a bit more cynical than to cry reading a book) - how much more romance do you need? Also, romance needn't be between people - the Highlands of Scotland are the most romantic place I have ever been. But I'm probably wasting my time here - if you weren't touched by this novel you're probably past saving. Safer to stick to Mills and Boon perhaps.....
Anyone else considering buying this book, ignore Sean and put it in your shopping basket now!
on 6 July 2014
This is the third time I am re-reading this series, and I NEVER usually re-read books! Diana Gabaldon has managed to create characters that you fall in love with, and writes in such a way that you never want the story to end. Cross Stitch is not my favourite out of the collection, but manages to set the scene and introduce you to key characters that play important roles along the way. Anyone that loves history and wants to read something that they find themselves totally immersed in should definitely give this series a go. These are my most favourite books of all time and I cannot speak highly enough about them!
Wow! Just Wow!
I hadn't heard of this series of books until I started watching it on Amazon TV. I am well and truly hooked.
I couldn't put this book down and to be honest, its the best book I have read in years.
I actually feel as though I am in the story! I am in love with Jamie Fraser the dashing hero of the story and although I am a celt being Welsh have found myself wishing I was Scottish.
I would say that the TV drama is very similar to the book but the book.