Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

IMG_3250SPOILER 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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The Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter

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I am a fan of Madeline Hunter’s books for a quick easy read, my favorite is By Arrangement.  She has a great ability to create romantic tension between her hero and heroine and usually includes a unique twist or plot line addition that always makes me smile.

The Accidental Duchess was no exception.  I recommend this book if you are looking for a quick read, it would be great for pool side or beach reading this summer!

SPOILER ALERTS…if you intend to read this novel, stop reading here. 

This novel tells the story of a headstrong Lady of the ton, Lydia, in 18th century England.  Lydia has recently discovered a love for gambling and a talent for winning.  To her brother the Earl, her gambling is a nuisance and risk to their family’s reputation, to Lydia her gambling allows her a semblance of happiness in her secret grief and a way to give back to those less fortunate.

Lydia’s luck has run out when she is blackmailed by a ladder climber who a series of unfortunate events lures her into a compromising situation that only one man can save her from, the Duke of Penthurst, the one man she would never want to be saved by.  The compromise forced a marriage between the two, only fueling the blackmailer further now that Lydia can provide more that he originally bargained for.

The mystery of Lydia’s grief and her hatred for her new husband uncover revelations she is not prepared to face disillusioning the young girl she was and allowing the woman she has become to push forward with her life.  Penthurst is vindicated through this disillusionment and their marriage stands a chance to create happiness for them both, despite its rocky beginning.

Have you read any of Madeline Hunter’s books?  If so which was your favorite?  If not, what is your favorite easy beach read for the summer?

The King’s Daughter by Barbara Kyle

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Every once in a while, I swing by my local used book store and browse the shelves for things I might find interesting. Used books stores are GREAT if you are an avid reader, as you can often trade your books for store credit. One of the books I picked up in the last drop by was “The King’s Daughter “ by Barbara Kyle.

I had never heard of the author or the book, but the back synopsis peeked my interest. Turns out this book is the second in a series of 6 books about the Thornleigh family. (I have a real knack for picking out series.) The novel is set during a rebellion happening during the rule of Queen Mary following the death of Henry VIII, and it tells the story of Isabel Thornleigh whose perfect world is thrown into a tail spin when she needs to decide between loyalty to her family and loyalty to her country. With the help of a Spanish Mercenary with a secret, she discovers more about her family’s past then she wanted to know. When faced with a life nation-changing decision, which life will she choose? Who will die because of her choice? Her loving fiancé? Her father? Her wounded mother? Her unlikely friend? Queen Mary?

The novel started off slow, and flips between Queen Mary’s story and Isabel’s story. I will admit I caught myself trying to skim past bits of the story focused on Queen Mary, but the storyline overall is really creative. If you like the Tudor time period (let’s face it who doesn’t), then this is a good read for you. The characters are complex, and the writing style of the novel flows easily.

All in all it was a good read, but I am not rushing out to get the next book in the series. I will put these books on my “to-read” list on Goodreads, but they may be on there for a while.

Have you read one of the Thornleigh books by Barbara Kyle? If so, did you enjoy it? What other Tudor time period novels do you recommend?

If you would like to see other books I recommend, visit mygoodreads account.

Do you have a goodreads account? If so, let me know, I would love to see what you are reading.