Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

SPOILER ALERT!  If you intend to read this novel or watch the series, please stop reading.

I really wanted to love this novel, because I am a big fan of the series on STARZ, but about 2/3 of the way through the novel I fell out of love with the story.

The story begins with the tale of a time traveling nurse from the 1950s who finds herself in 18th century Scotland.  Through a series of adventures and bad luck Claire finds herself married to a Scottish outlaw with a stubborn disposition who is laird of some well placed lands.  Although the marriage started out rocky, love grows between the two, but the price on Jamie’s head, the skepticism of Claire’s arrival, and the hatred of Black Jack Randall stand in their way of happiness.  Claire is forced to rescue Jamie from a prison and near death, a near impossible feat.  With this accomplished, the death of Black Jack Randall, and their escape to France, Jamie and Claire finally have a chance at safety and happiness.

The story is exciting and you feel bad for the star-crossed lovers that life just isn’t going their way, but following the epic rescue of Jamie, Diana Gabaldon spends most of the end of the novel rehashing a very uncomfortable rape scene between Jamie and Randall.  I understand needing to go back to the scene to understand the mindset of Jamie at the end of the novel, but the lengthy and dramatic discussion of it are un-nessacary and the recovery of Jamie at the monastery seems to drag out the end of the book.  In my opinion it should have end with the excitement of the rescue and a glimpse at happiness for the couple instead of dragging down the end of the novel.  Not to say I won’t in the future, but I will not be reaching for the second book in the series at this time.

So far, I prefer the TV series to the book (a rare occurrence for me).  In the TV series, Claire’s character is more strong and independent thinking and less whiny and “damsel in distress,” which is how she is portrayed in the book.  The series also condenses the book and makes the series of events flow more naturally.  I am hoping this trend continues, as the series has yet to catch up to my perceived downturn in the book.

Note on the STARZ Series: There is currently only one episode left in the miniseries, but if you have STARZ you can catch up here.

Have you read Outlander?  Will you read the next one?  What do you think of the Mini-Series?

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