Outlander: Spoiler Free Book Review

Outlander is Diana Gabaldon’s debut historical fiction, romance, adventure, Sci-Fi, fantasy novel published in June 1991. It’s the first book in a series that has also produced novellas, graphic novel, spin-off book series, and a tv show (the first two seasons can be found on Netflix).

“In a remarkable debut – vigorous, eloquent, and wholly original – Diana Gabaldon fuses a wry modern sensibility with the drama and passion of the eighteenth century, and vividly brings to life a heroine whose journey through time forces her to make an agonizing and fateful choice.” (part of the book cover blurb)

 

It’s 1945 in Scotland, and many are celebrating the end of the war. Claire, a royal army nurse, is off on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank, a history professor. They’ve been married for seven years, but have spent the majority of those years apart due to the war.

Claire and Frank witness a strange moonlit dance at a stone circle. The next day Claire returns to the site in order to fetch some flowers she spied the previous day. While doing so she hears a buzzing noise coming from the stone. As she lays her hands on it she is transported two hundred years into the past.

Moonlit stone circle.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The past is a very different country, boiling with rumors of the Jacobite Pretender’s Rising, beset with ignorance and superstition, ravaged by pestilence and disease. Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire’s usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless English garrison captain so feared by others bears a disturbing resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd appearance and even odder behavior expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn’t understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn” (part of the book cover blurb)

Jamie Fraser.jpg

From IMDB

A group of Scottish warriors save her from being raped. In this group of Highlanders is Jamie, a tall, broad, muscular,  fetching young warrior with blazing red hair and sky blue eyes. Believing she may be a spy, the Scots take her with them back to Castle Leoch. When Claire sees a castle that was nothing but remnants the last time she saw it, now at it’s best, she realizes she was most likely in the 18th Century.

Castle-leoch-still-1.jpg

Outlander Wiki page

Claire plots her escape, so she can find the magical stones which can take her back to 1945. As she gathers info, waiting for the perfect moment, she is forced to marry Jamie in order to keep her from harm. Jamie takes to calling her Sassenach – which means “Englishman” or “Outlander”. Their marriage gives them permission to admit to the love they have had for each other since they first met.

Jamie and Claire marriage.jpg

IMDB

“Claire is forced to choose between the future she has left and the past she now inhabits. And, having been plunged into an adventure that is at once unimaginably bizarre and unmistakably real, she learns an unforgettable lesson: that a man’s instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.”

At 627 pages, with small lettering, Outlander is quite a lengthy novel packed with big themes; love, lust, trust, infidelity, sexual harassment, rape, domestic abuse, war, and adventure highlighting the fact that there are always good and evil people, no matter what time period we find ourselves in.

Gabaldon did a fantastic job conveying the Scottish accent in the dialogue. I could clearly picture every character’s appearance and voice. Her writing is positively splendid. I often found myself reading aloud, attempting to imitate accents. The words nicely slip off your tongue. I didn’t notice any awkward sentences (something I am guilty of doing at times and hence notice in other people’s writing). Here is a passage that I found quite striking:

“There was a feeling, not sudden, but complete, as though I had been given a small object to hold unseen in my hands. Precious as opal, smooth as jade, weighty as a river stone, more fragile than a bird’s egg. Infinitely still, live as the root of Creation. Not a gift, but a trust. Fiercely to cherish, softly to guard. The words spoke themselves and disappeared into the groined shadows of the roof.”

hugh munroOne of my favourite characters has quite a small part, and I wish we got to know more of him. Hugh Munro is an interesting man with a “jack-o-lantern” grin, orange-brown leathery skin, and bright blue eyes. His broad shoulders are off balance with one higher than the other, and he speaks sign language because he had his tongue cut out. He can also write Latin, as he was once a school teacher. I mean – doesn’t he just sound fascinating!? I could read an entire novel about his life.

There were some strange fantastical moments thrown in to this story which I feel weren’t necessary such as Claire seeing the Loch Ness “waterhorse”. I also had a really hard time getting over the fact that Jamie beat Claire and somehow she’s to blame. The fact that he hit her violates the oath he took at their wedding that he would protect her until his last drop of blood. I could write an entire blog post on this topic…in fact, in University I wrote an entire research report for an Anthropology class about domestic violence in Medieval England. But that discussion is for another place, another time. 😉

The TV show follows the novel pretty closely, with some liberties taken from parts of the plot, and the ending was slightly altered. The casting director chose quite well for Jamie’s part, he is exactly as I had imagined in my mind. I had imagined Claire to look and speak differently, and at first I didn’t like the Claire in the TV show, but within a few episodes she grew on me.

I recommend both the book and the TV show to anyone who enjoys an adventurous story, filled with love, war, and sex (at times graphic).  ***warning*** There are many scenes of graphic violence, including flogging, injuries, and rape.

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Things I watched on Netflix: May 2017 #BeyondTheBooks

The Loft

The Loft

“Five married guys conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city–a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1850397/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I watched this one with my husband and we both agree it was….MEH. There is an unpredictable twist that we guessed before the reveal.

Chelsea Season 2

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea is a hilarious show with great guests, and surprisingly thought-provoking. She interviews guests, asking out-of-the-box questions about important topics. There are also funny skits. It’s a seriously intelligent show with a bunch of laughter thrown in. Definitely recommend this one!

 

 

 

 

Bill Nye Saves the World

Bill Nye Saves The World

“Acclaimed TV host, educator and bow tie fan Bill Nye is back with a new show that looks at topics from a scientific point of view, refuting myths and claims that rebuke science.”

“It’s not magic – it’s science!”

My kids, husband, and I enjoy watching Bill Nye Saves the World. There are some parts that weren’t kid-appropriate in our opinion, but we just paused and watched those parts when the kids weren’t around. It’s precipitated some fantastic conversations about how we can do our part to save our world.

Infinitely Polar Bear

infinitely polar bear

“In Boston, a bipolar individual (Mark Ruffalo) takes over sole responsibility for his two spirited daughters while his wife (Zoe Saldana) attends graduate school in New York.”

https://g.co/kgs/sT7gNn

I enjoyed Infinitely Polar Bear one evening when my husband was working an overnight shift. Touching. Sad. Happy. Many emotions watching this story unfold. I recommend this one!

 

Marcella

Marcella

“Marcella Backland left the Metropolitan Police for the sake of her family, only to have her husband leave her. She returns to her job on the murder squad, investigating a case that seems disturbingly familiar to her.  ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5269594/

If you liked The Fall, then you’ll probably like Marcella.

 

 

The 100

The 100

“Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth in hopes of possibly re-populating the planet.  ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2661044/

My husband and I have been watching this one since it first released. We finished up Season 4 in May, and I’m happy to say it was MUCH better than Season 3. So if you were a fan, but stopped watching – pick it back up. It’s worth it.

 

Denial

Denial.jpg

 

“Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4645330/

I had no idea that there could ever be anyone who tried to say the Holocaust was a myth. Eye-opening emotional film.

Forks Over Knives

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“Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1567233/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Interesting! I’ve been cutting back on meat for years now, but had no idea just how much you can alter your health by eliminating meat and animal products.

Call the Midwife

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“Chronicles the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s to early 1960s.  ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1983079/?ref_=nv_sr_1

I started re-watching this one from the first episode after putting it aside a couple years ago. If you liked Downtown Abbey then give this one a try.

 

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King

Hasan Minhaj.jpg

“In his first stand-up special, Hasan Minhaj weaves humorous and heartbreaking anecdotes to tell his life story as an Indian-American Muslim. Topics include racism, bullying and meeting the demanding expectations of his immigrant parents.  ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6900644/?ref_=nv_sr_2

Hilarious! My husband and I absolutely LOVED this special! Knowledgeable, original, perceptive, and entertaining!