Oh dear. I will forever remember The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as the book that I read while standing up. No really, my phone was dying and the cord didn’t stretch all the way to the bed, I could have just moved to another outlet but no I stood instead because it was so damn good I couldn’t put it down.
It is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall is celebrating the end of the war. She is on a second honeymoon with her husband and one day while exploring a strange formation of rocks in the countryside she finds herself hurtling through time and space back to 1743. The Scottish Highlands are not yet on the precipice of war but there is tension in the air. When Claire appears in the wild foliage of 17th century Scotland she is seen as a Saasenach outlander, a spy and a witch. She meets a man who looks like her husband but is sadistic and evil. She is taken into a castle run by two brothers who regard her with suspicion and she falls in love with a man that makes her question everything she has ever known about love and life. How will she get back home? How can she convince these Scottish wildlings that she is not a threat? How can she convince herself that home is where she belongs?
Diana Gabaldon is magic. When she originally began this book she didn’t write it with any particular person or audience in mind. In fact, she wrote it for practice and so when Claire appeared on paper as a fast talking Englishwoman she took on a life of her own, thus creating the brilliant Outlander series. I’ve said this in a previous post and I’ll say it again, I despise romance novels because they tend to not have a story line. The Outlander was a pleasant surprise, the romance mixed with adventure was not what I was expecting. The book was tender at times, witty and the lightning speed action kept me on my toes. I didn’t expect to like it and I ended up loving it.
There is a scene in the book where I felt like I finally settled into the storyline. Claire, already having traveled back in time, finds herself in the castle infirmary. She rummages through cupboards filled with medieval dittanies, perusing through horse dung and bottles filled with lice. It is when she starts to sort these into piles that she will use and ones she will throw away that I felt myself go “ahh so she’s making a home”. It was like something clicked and I felt myself burrow deeper into my bed and smile. The character was making a home in the castle, in her new life and I was making a home in this book, for the time being atleast.
There are eight books in this series, the first one consumed me to an unhealthy point, I literally read it everywhere and so although I cannot wait to start the second one I am going to force myself to hold off for atleast a week. The books are good, they are in fact great but I want to enjoy the series, relish the taste and feel before I rip through them all.