Sunday, September 7, 2014

Outlander: a love story set in the Scottish Highlands

Recently, I saw the advertising for Starz’ new series, Outlander. I was interested because I love Scotland and its history, its culture, its people, even the language. I discovered that it is based on the series by Diana Gabaldon and I decided to pick up the first book in the series.

Outlander is about Claire Randall who is in the Scotland Highlands on a second honeymoon with her husband after the end of World War II. While there, she discovers a set of mysterious standing stones. While at the standing stones early one morning, she accidentally touches one and she is whisked back in time to 1743. This year is very important because it is before the Battle of Culloden when Bonny Prince Charlie and Jacobite followers fail to overthrown the House of Hanover for the British crown. The political tensions between friends and family as the Jacobite rising is gaining followers and support. What will Claire do? Can she get back home? Or does she make a life in the beautiful land where she meets the handsome Jamie Fraser? 

I am torn about this book. I love Ms. Gabaldon’s descriptions of the time and place. I love her in depth historical references which helps the reader understand the political unrest in the country. I loved the descriptions of life in the 18th century Scottish Highlands. I loved the love story between Clair and Jamie. The journey that two people take as they join their lives together and learn how to live as one. I enjoyed the villain of the story, Captain Randall, well as least for the most part. I enjoyed seeing him as the sadistic British officer who has no love or trust of the Scottish people. However, I did not like the fact that his character has a sexual attraction to Jamie and I felt it took away from the story. There is one scene toward the end of the book that made it very hard to finish. With this one scene, I am unsure if I want to finish the series. So I’m torn about recommending this series or even the series. On one hand it has a great love story but on the other hand, some scenes are very graphic and disturbing. I may give it some time before I pick up the next book in the series.