Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publication Date: June 1st 1991
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
First of all let me start this review by saying that the characterisation and world-building by Gabaldon is stunningly beautiful. Your mind runs away with you imagining a dangerous but flawless highland countryside. It’s always a time I’ve wanted to have a peek at. Being a very proud patriot member of this wee country, it brought a sense of pride where we have come from.
For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary.
Claire Randall…Can stand toe to toe with any Highlander
We first meet English nurse, Claire in 1945 in the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank. This is a second honeymoon for them after the spoils of war had kept them apart for the best part of seven years. Whilst collecting flowers for her keen interest in botany, she discovers a humming noise coming from the standing stones. She is transported back in time via a cleft stone to 1743. It is here that she comes face-to-face with her husband Frank’s evil ancestor, Captain Jack Randall (Black Jack). During their confrontation she is rescued/captured by a rival clan. Claire first meets a dashing, James Fraser whilst resetting his shoulder and nursing him back to health. The two are inexoribly intertwined when Claire is forced to marry young Mr Fraser to keep her out of the hands of Black Jack. Her strength of character is tested time and time again through perilous situations, witch trials and standing up for her own voice and concerns. She has the scottish strength of spirit instilled in her and she’s as fiery as the rest of us. She adapted well to the time and place, but better than I think I would and she brought incredible knowledge with her and used it for the greater good whilst she was in that time.
“You are safe,” he said firmly. “You have my name and my family, my clan, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well. The man willna lay hands on ye again, while I live.”
Diana Gabaldon is an incredible writer and although I haven’t read any historical fiction before, this has given me the gusto to try the rest of the series and possibly dip into the historical fiction genre more. The details pertaining to the 18th century and more particularly the events leading upto the Jacobite rising of 1745 were incredibly authentic. The character development was rich and fulfilling and each character had multi faceted elements which had me relating to the characters all in different ways. I was over the moon at Diana’s magical descriptions of the world she was building. I used to live in the highlands, about an hours drive from Inverness and everything was very realistic. I was very happy that she stuck to the true nature of the highlands.
There is so much to love about this story. Claire and Jamie, in my opinion, are the ultimate power couple to have ever graced the pages of a novel. They are the couple that the word Soul Mate were made for. Soul mates transcend time, they both just had to wait a long time for each other. This book evoked an emotional reaction in me with one particular scene upsetting me so profoundly. Jamie has to endure the worst kind of attack in order to protect Claire. I fully understand why he took this action but it was heartbreaking none the less. The retelling of what exactly went on and the mental and physical effect of this was just crushing for all involved.
Attention to detail – AMAZING
Meticulously Researched – ABSOLUTELY.