Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Title: Outlander

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Published: 1991

Pages: 850

Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure

Format: Book borrowed from the library

My rating: 4/5

Reading Challenge: A book with more than 500 pages

Review: “I distinctly heard the barman at that pub last night refer to us as Sassenachs.”

“Well why not?” Frank said equably. “It only means ‘Englishman,’ after all, or at worst. ‘outlander,’ and we’re all of that.”

So the introduction begins of Claire Beauchamp Randall to the history of the Scottish highlands as she and her reunited husband, Frank, trace back his heritage of English occupation of Scotland two centuries ago. Along their reconnecting second honeymoon in the highlands, Claire is drawn to the stones of Craigh na Dun, an ancient stone circle. Feeling a strong inclination to one in particular, Claire finds herself hurled through time to 1743 – when Scottish clans feud with the English dragoons. We follow Claire through her confusion and determination to return to her husband, but also her conflicting interests in the welfare of the Scots, particularly the young warrior Jamie Fraser. Knowing what history has in store for everyone she encounters, Claire debates where her loyalty lies and when an opportunity arises for her to return to her own time, she must decide what consequences her actions may take.

After watching a few episodes of the Starz series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon, I fell in love with Claire and Jamie’s story. Reading through the novel was difficult at first with how dense and comprehensive the story is, however I felt a part of the characters and raced through several pages and chapters to follow what was in store for them next. Before I knew of this series, I had been told that it synonymous with A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin – another one of my all-time favorite storylines. You have the disputing families/clans, deception, sex, battles, you name it! I do appreciate in Outlander how we focus on Claire’s story in her point of view, hearing her thoughts and internal debates, letting us inside her dilemmas.

I felt as if this novel had every aspect of a good story and can serve a number of readers. No matter what time of day or what was happening in life, I could find solace and what I needed in Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling – laughter, romance, intrigue, beauty, suspense – always keeping me guessing. Claire is the epitome heroine, utilizing her knowledge of what is to come along with her strong desire to protect those she loves, never thinking twice about her own well-being – the ultimate sacrifice.

With how Outlander ended, I am hesitant to continue with the series (8 more books) for fear of what is to come, yet anxious to know where Claire is taken next. Until the next one – Dragonfly in Amber.

“For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.”

Read Outlander if you like the themes of:

  • Loyalty
  • Love
  • Patriotism/Pride
  • Sacrifice

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