If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I finally decided to tackle this much-talked-about tome. I've had a copy on my shelf longer than I've been married (9 years this year, woop!). I think there were two things that kept me from picking it up right away: the length (800+ pages, in a series of books that are ALL 800+ pages, feels like a huge commitment) and the genre (historical fiction is OK by me, but romance is not my forte). However, the time had come. I had to see for myself if the hype was warranted.
(A quick synopsis for those unfamiliar with the novel, from Goodreads: 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.)
As the novel opened, I was off to a slow start. Getting to know Claire and her husband Frank was interesting, but not particularly captivating. Then the time travel thing happened, and I was kind of ehhhhhhhhh about that whole piece of it. Don't get me wrong, time travel done well is a cool plot element (The Time Traveler's Wife is still one my favorite novels), but I didn't know if I really loved how Gabaldon worked it into the story here. Plus, I felt like Claire acclimated to her new environment (200ish years in the past) WAY faster than I'd think is normal. (But what do I know, right? When was the last time I traveled to 1700's Highland Scotland?)
ANYWAY. I tried to let all this slide. I was in for the long haul here, and I had to believe there was more in store.
(Okay, there was definitely more in store, there were still 600 pages left.)
After Claire time traveled and settled into her new home at Castle Leoch, that's when things turned over for me. Gabaldon's period details, plus Claire's sassy attitude, AND the ever-so-delightful introduction of Jamie Fraser, turned this into a totally different novel for me. I was totally on board. And, I'm happy to say, completely taken with Claire and Jamie's romance. I love how it has this constant undercurrent of "but what about Frank?!" as you wonder about the husband that Claire left behind. Can't wait to see more of that in the rest of the series.
|The Jamie Fraser memes out there are just hilarious.|
I have a few other books I'm hoping to tackle in the coming weeks, but Dragonfly in Amber (part 2 of this series) is already sitting on my night stand...so the series will continue! :) Much thanks to all of my friends that pushed me to read this one. Now to decide if I want to make time for the TV series as well...