Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.Hurled back in ti...

Title:Outlander
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Outlander Reviews

  • Kelly

    Yes! I read this. I admit it! You caught me! Not only that... I loved it. It is a double sin I will likely have to one day repent for by reading piles of Dostoyevsky while I tear out my hair. In any case. Right, once again into the breach to defend myself!

    This book is incredibly long. It's just a fact. All of them are. But they go by so incredibly fast. By the time I got to the third one? I read it in three days. The pages just keep turning. I read at double speed I was so engrossed in the story

    Yes! I read this. I admit it! You caught me! Not only that... I loved it. It is a double sin I will likely have to one day repent for by reading piles of Dostoyevsky while I tear out my hair. In any case. Right, once again into the breach to defend myself!

    This book is incredibly long. It's just a fact. All of them are. But they go by so incredibly fast. By the time I got to the third one? I read it in three days. The pages just keep turning. I read at double speed I was so engrossed in the story. And I must admit that usually I hate time travel romances (... I mean.. not that I have any experience trying them before... never...) but this one is not even about that. Or if it is, it just makes it better.

    Also? There is a pile of historical information in this text. It deals with the Bonnie Prince Charlie uprising, and the rest of the books go on to deal with the American colonies and the Revolution by the time that they're done. It's not just about the romance. It's about medical treatment, what horrid things Scottish people ate, the reality of what people would have suffered through. Which is in some cases I think a direct indictment of the Scottish Highlander bodice-rippers in which everyone is shining and perfect and with awfully clean white teeth. I'd say this is more historical fiction than romance.

    But fine, let's deal with the romance. Yes. There is a lot of sex. However, I found it to also be deeply intimate and true, brutal, and real. Claire and Jamie, while apart, are deeply attractive and sympathetic characters with a good deal of nobilty about them. Throw them together in love? And they are beautifully frail, selfish, angry, flawed. I love that statement. I really find them so incredibly touching.

    So there. It's not just a romance novel. I stick my tongue out oh so maturely at the readers of this review.

  • Lisa

    Contains SPOILERS ---

    I was lying in a hospital bed with my leg broken, and once the library trolley came for a round of 'books, anyone?', my hand was in the air in no time.

    Too late did the librarian notice the foreign literature on my bedside table and with a distraught expression try to recover 'Outlander';I said firmly: 'Oh no, Madam, I'll read that.'. Just enough time left for her to make up with a tome of controversial French literature on the genocide in Ruanda...

    But as I'd said: my first

    Contains SPOILERS ---

    I was lying in a hospital bed with my leg broken, and once the library trolley came for a round of 'books, anyone?', my hand was in the air in no time.

    Too late did the librarian notice the foreign literature on my bedside table and with a distraught expression try to recover 'Outlander';I said firmly: 'Oh no, Madam, I'll read that.'. Just enough time left for her to make up with a tome of controversial French literature on the genocide in Ruanda...

    But as I'd said: my first mission was 'Outlander'.

    Anyway, it could not be that bad, since I'd seen it sold by the local bookclub before.

    Ah yes, it could. After some forty pages, my jaw dropped in disbelief, after some hundred pages the case was as good as closed. But then, to tell the truth, Ms Gabaldon's warped morals kept me going.

    Because this brave woman has achieved what I never thought could be done: she has fabricated some catholically correct porn.

    Let me point that out:

    Claire, pretty much a Mary Jane (on the first few pages her lovely -we know it is, curly and unruly, though she claims it is 'not'- hair is described at length, and - did you know she can heal people? Oh yes, and - Did you know she has a spitfire personality, but everybody likes her in spite of that, well not the women, but then, they're either jealous or uptight or both...?) is by some zing of the time-space continuum catapulted back to the Scotland of yore, without her husband (goodlooking, sensitive, a savant), but never mind, she finds some replacement in her husband's *evil* ancestor (looks just like him), who's just as much into Claire, but unfortunately lacks the morals to please and guts to take it up with Ms. Spitfire.

    This proves to be helpful in forgetting husband#1, handy, since soon Claire arouses the ardour of a young, proud and good-looking Scotsman, Jamie, who, if a bit on the simple side, is as true as gold, not to mention built like....well yes... and just one twist of fate later, they find themselves exchanging vows.

    Note: The *good* never have extra-marital sex in this book, that's for the evil and sluggish.

    Surprise upon surprise, actually Jamie is a virgin on their wedding night, but with a few leads, quickly gets into his role: 'Matrimony turns into a sacrament what would otherwise be a sin', or so it goes.

    In the following, this sacrament is bestowed upon darling Claire with unnerving frequency, about every two pages, but it only gets really colourful if preceded by conjugal beating - Claire did something bad, Claire has to be punished, yes, she herself aknowledges this in the end, or attempts of strangers (or *evil* husband) to rape her.

    Yes, and of course, after Jamie has de facto been raped and tortured by *evil* husband. He's so desolate. Evil husband forced Jamie into actually enjoying the experience. This is not right, Jamie is straight, Jamie is disgusted by himself. But Claire does some sexual healing and re-enactment and 'pouf'! To top this off, in the end Claire learns from a monk that de facto both her marriages are considered valid by the church, since the one with Jamie precedes the one back in the 20th century.

    Most distasteful because of the 'wifebeating' episode and the fact that homosexuality is shown as an evil trait adherent to the *evil* guy (some young kid with a bible hung himself because of this, strange enough, female victims of rape are not half as suicidal in this book).

    So we repeat:

    -No sex without marriage.

    -Woman has to obey man. Otherwise she gets into trouble, and he has to punish her.

    -Homosexuals among the evil only.

    Any questions? had there been the possibility to bestow 0 stars on this concoction..., ah well.

  • Holly

    A special note to those who say my review stopped them from reading this book: No no no! Read it! I actually reread the whole series last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Just read it for what it is: ludicrous, well-written, humorous, delicious TRASH. Just don't expect it to be the most brilliant novel ever written and you'll be fine.

    How To Commit Adultery Without Being a Cheap Slutty Whore: A Q&A by Diana Gabaldon

    Q: I love my husband but I'm feeling kind of restless. But adultery is wrong.

    A special note to those who say my review stopped them from reading this book: No no no! Read it! I actually reread the whole series last summer and enjoyed it immensely. Just read it for what it is: ludicrous, well-written, humorous, delicious TRASH. Just don't expect it to be the most brilliant novel ever written and you'll be fine.

    How To Commit Adultery Without Being a Cheap Slutty Whore: A Q&A by Diana Gabaldon

    Q: I love my husband but I'm feeling kind of restless. But adultery is wrong. So what do I do?

    A: Easy! Go back in time!

    Q: What do you mean, Ms. Gabaldon?

    A: If you go back in time, your husband hasn't been born yet. So you can have wild and crazy S&M sex with impunity.

    Q: But won't I still be married to him?

    A: Aren't you listening? He hasn't been BORN yet. So you aren't married! But if you are really being such a stickler, then just have someone force you to get married to someone else.

    Q: But, but, no one can force me to get married against my will!

    A: Okay, let me lay it out for you: You're really hot for this sexy warrior barbarian guy, right? I know this, because you stop thinking about your husband about 24 hours after you've been dropped in this guy's arms. So you get in this situation where some obscure tribal law insists you have to get married, make a little protest, sign some papers, and voila!

    Q: But that doesn't mean I have to sleep with him.

    A: Oh but you do, because some random dude insists that you have to. Don't worry, the sex will be great even though he's a 23 year old virgin. So you see, you HAVE to do it, so it's okay.

    Q; But isn't it a sin?

    A: Fine, find a priest at the end of the book to absolve you, whatever. And anyway, it's okay because your husband basically told you it was okay, right before you were whisked back in time. Seriously, go for it. When else will you get the chance? You've been married for years. You deserve a little hot and heavy barbarian action.

    Q: So what's this hot barbarian guy like?

    A: Well, watch out, because he loves to reminisce about how his dad used to beat him and how wonderful that was. And he really gets off on beating you, but it's just the once. Oh, and it seems that he wants you so badly he can't restrain from ramming you repeatedly with his male member while telling you how much he can't restrain himself and that gets seriously annoying after the twentieth time. But otherwise, it's all good.

    Q: Anything else I should be aware of?

    A: Surprise! Buttsex! But not for you, so it's okay.

    Oddly, I'm going to read the next one in the series. Because I'm bizarrely fascinated. It's like a train wreck.

    Edit 1:

    Someone in the comments said I should copy this into the review, so here you go:

    Plot Summary

    Claire: I love my husband! I love sex!

    Frank: But it's okay if you have sex with someone else, in certain circumstances.

    Standing Stones: SUCK! Ha ha, you're in another time!

    The Anti-Frank: Ooooh, I think I will rape you.

    Claire: Eeek!

    Clansmen: Scots to the rescue! Here, meet Jamie and his manly manhood.

    Jamie: Och, aye, I'm a tough laddie. And I'm going to kill the Anti-Frank for beating the shit outta of me and raping my sister.

    Claire: Ooooh, he's cute. Hey, wasn't I married?

    Dougal: Ye have to marry the laddie to get away from the Anti-Frank.

    Claire: Okay.

    Dougal: And ye have to have sex wit' him.

    Claire: Mmmmm.... but.... well, okay.

    Jamie: I'm a virgin. Oooh, but I love sticking my manhood in ye. It's like a sacrament and all.

    Claire: I should get back to Frank, I think I will take this opportunity to run away... I guess... sort of... meh.

    The Anti-Frank: Ha ha! Found you. Now to rape you!

    Jamie: Och, that's my wee lassie. First I'm going to rescue her, then I'm going to beat her for disobeying me. And then I'm going to tell her about how me Da beat me and how much I liked it.

    Jealous wench: The village witch is looking for you.

    Claire: Okay!

    Villagers: She's a witch! Burn her!

    Jamie: Over my dead body!

    Claire: Honey, I have something to tell you. I'm not a witch but...

    Jamie: Ye must go back!

    Claire: I can't. I long for your manhood too much. It's a manhood like no other.

    The Anti-Frank: I too long for your manhood. I think I will bugger you right after I crush your hand with a hammer. But, I love you. You remind me of my dead brother. Here's some grease.

    Jamie: Ouch. Oooh, but that feels sort of good. Och, I'm so ashamed.

    Claire: We must rescue Jamie! Send in the cows!

    Jamie: OCH! Me hand! Just let me die!

    Claire: Never! Let's go to France.

    Jamie: Och, aye lassie, I feel much better now.

    Father Anselm: God says it's okay that you're a bigamist.

    Claire: Awesome. Time to use my foreknowledge of past events for good!

    Diana Gabaldon: The sequel will be 900 pages.

    Finis

  • RandomAnthony

    (Ok, first off, there are going to be minor spoilers/hints in this review…read at your own risk, although I’ll try not to reveal too much.)

    Outlander is a damn good book. Sure, the book has a blue fake leather cover, costs four bucks, and screams “spinning rack at the airport bookstore”. I approached the text with suspicion but found myself invested in the language and storyline within the first hundred pages. Here’s why:

    TEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT OUTLANDER

    1. The characterizations of Jamie and Claire,

    (Ok, first off, there are going to be minor spoilers/hints in this review…read at your own risk, although I’ll try not to reveal too much.)

    Outlander is a damn good book. Sure, the book has a blue fake leather cover, costs four bucks, and screams “spinning rack at the airport bookstore”. I approached the text with suspicion but found myself invested in the language and storyline within the first hundred pages. Here’s why:

    TEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT OUTLANDER

    1. The characterizations of Jamie and Claire, along with a few other less important figures, are stellar. Ms. G. goes out of her way to create rich, deep personalities. If you thought Jamie was only going to be a caricature of romantic manhood, you’d be wrong. If you thought Claire was going to be a plucky damsel in distress, you’re wrong.

    2. As I’ve said before, Ms. G. did her research. Her sense of detail, whether discussing plants or historical elements intrinsic to the plant, is admirable.

    3. There are a few truly funny passages in the book. Claire’s interactions with men who try to tell her what to do, and her sharp tongue, are often quite entertaining.

    4. There are a few very, um, stimulating parts in Outlander. You know what I mean, those of you who have the reached the cave scene and a few others earlier in the book.

    5. Ms. G. displays strong insight in trust and relationships. The fights between Claire and Jamie seem real and at times harrowing. Jamie’s recovery near the end of the book and his description of his trials are nothing short of terrifying. She doesn’t spare her reader or the characters tough questions and emotional pain. Outlander is not an easy read.

    6. The plot moves quickly. I found myself wanting to cheat and page ahead to find out what was going to happen. This book screams screenplay. Why is it not a movie?

    7. Ms. G. writes well. I know that sounds trite, but she structures her sentences intelligently and reading rarely dragged. I knocked out 850 pages in three busy weeks but looked forward to picking up the book after the house grew quiet.

    8. John Randall and the witch (can’t remember her name, Ginnie or something) were both well-drawn. Randall in particular fascinated me. Villains are usually less complicated than Mr. Randall.

    9. The “time travel” facet of the book, as Kirk pointed out, is handled very well and not overused in a sensationalistic manner.

    10. Outlander raises some fascinating ethical questions. I could see it as a good book club book. Should Claire get married? Did she put herself in unreasonable danger and some of her friends in danger in turn? What’s up with Randall? Those types of questions.

    THREE THINGS I THOUGHT OUTLANDER COULD DO BETTER

    1. There were times when I felt Ms. G. was setting up the sequel a bit too much. You know when you’re watching a movie and you can tell some plot points aren’t going to get resolved until the next one? That feeling? I could feel that a couple times.

    2. The prison and Lollybrook (sp?) scenes dragged a bit. Outlander really could have been two books.

    3. I wasn’t comfortable with some of the religious discussion during Jamie’s recovery. I’m not sure why Ms. G. put the priest in and the conversation in which Claire’s actions are rationalized. I didn’t think that was necessary.

    Ok, I have a question. Why is the quality of Outlander so controversial? It’s a flat-out good book. Is it because Outlander is aimed, it seems, primarily at women? Is it the huge, smelly pile of Fabio-covered romance novels tainting Ms. G.’s work? I swear, and I think I’ve said this before, market this book differently and you’ve got a respected hit on your hands rather than a less-respected novel that sold a zillion copies but appears to be of lesser quality than it is (thanks, fake leather cover!). Don’t be afraid of Outlander. It’s a solid adventure story with decent psychological insight and some good sex scenes. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Take the risk. Don’t be a wuss.

  • Duchess Nicole

    Please, people. If you enjoy a book, click "like" on the good reviews as well. That's what people see first when they look for reviews on Goodreads...the one

    Please, people. If you enjoy a book, click "like" on the good reviews as well. That's what people see first when they look for reviews on Goodreads...the ones with the most popularity, or "likes". Sad that this amazing book's two most populare (and therefore most visible) reviews are not in keeping with most people's thoughts.

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    Claire is happily married. She and her husband are visiting Scotland and soaking up the history while indulging in some much needed time alone. One morning, they are witness to a group of women performing a ritual at a nearby stone circle.

    (The modern witches at the stone circle...spooky and oh, such a good mood setter!!!)

    Claire returns to the circle later. I wonder if she felt called to that magical place, as if fate had plans for her and she was simply following her destiny.

    Without warning, and for no apparent reason, Claire is whisked back to the year 1743.

    There she meets James Fraser, a man who is as complex as their relationship turns out to be. Claire never stops trying to get back home, but this world of the past and her present is slowly beginning to sink into her. She must now decide between remaining faithful to a man she may never see again, or conceding to the realization that she will forever remain in this time, with this fascinating man who has become her fiercest protector.

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    It's pure craziness to me how this book can be summed up in a couple of paragraphs. And it's both detrimental and beneficial that a summary simply cannot encompass the sheer scope of

    that is in these pages. I was absolutely unprepared.

    Why detrimental? Because the details did become tedious, even as they were adding to the story. The downtime...instead of a time of building anticipation, became a time of hurry up and wait. This is the only reason that I can't give this five stars...because, for a couple hundred pages, I was 'a wee bit' bored. And I hope that my saying this won't keep someone from reading it. I wish that I didn't have to mention it, but in order to be fair and honest, I feel like it's necessary, if only to keep someone's expectations from becoming too high.

    And to be totally confusing, it's the details that drag you down into the middle of the eighteenth century, the minor secondary plots that make you live this life for awhile. So I'm not certain that they weren't necessary. I do wish that we got more of Claire dealing with the mundane things, but she just never seems bothered enough with inconveniences to mention them.

    I don't want to do much of a character breakdown except for maybe the three big key players in this story.

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    Oh boy. I had heard that a lot of people didn't like Claire at first. And to be quite honest, for most of the book I really DID like her. She was fairly steadfast to her husband...although circumstances bieng what they were, it would have been nearly impossible for her to stay that way. This was a fascinating look into what it must have been like for a woman back in those times. Not quite the Dark Ages but boy, they were a far cry from modern women's rights. This was a time of witch burnings and mob mentality. Imagine what it would be like to go back to these times, knowing what we know now, remembering what took place in history, and being scared to death to be female. You're completely at the mercy of the men you are with. Thank goodness Claire stumbled upon Jamie.

    Her character did fluctuate for me, for obvious reasons. I had a few minor hiccups with how wishy washy she was at times, and how little she seemed to think about how her actions would affect Jamie. However,

    At some point, she has to think of herself. The time frame in which all of this happens is not exactly conducive to accepting her fate and giving up on her whole life before Scotland. So I felt like I could cut her a break. She has an awful lot to deal with and I feel like she did the best she could. And toward the end...she becomes just as much a hero as Jamie does. You just have to wait for her to build up to this amazing person that she was meant to be.

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    Yes, I swooned, I gushed, I loooooooved Jamie Fraser! Who wouldn't? Who would admit to it if they didn't? However, he is really not at all what I expected. I like the badass boys, the heroes, the heartbreakers, those men who make you wonder if they will ever be tamed. I like men on the edge of good and evil, the ones that you are always unsure of. But there's just something about the nice guy, the man who...as soon as you meet him, you know his heart is pure and good. There are no questions with regards to Jamie about his purity of character. He's the epitome of good. He's a great mix of beta male (somewhat in the background, not horribly outspoken, usually backup for the leaders) and alpha male (leader, loud and proud, tends to be bossy and pushy.) I expected Jamie to be a more stand out guy but honestly, it was all in the “knowing” of Jamie that made me fall for him. He is one of the most honorable, strong minded, tender, loyal and devoted fictional men I've ever, ever read about. As Jamie himself puts it, he

    All of these romance heroes that we read about...the Dukes and Lords and Lairds and such...all of the battles and death and heartache...they're entitled to their place in society, to revel in their own sense of power and self-righteousness. Jamie just wants peace, a home, his wife, and a good life. Simple but so powerful. If only more people felt that way, if only more men were heroes because of the battles they

    fight.

    Claire tending to Jamie's shoulder...

    That is not to say that he was perfect. One big, huge point of contention for me was

    this is one of the more cruel things that I've ever forgiven a hero for. I suppose if I'm going to forgive, it may as well be James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.

    ~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~`*`~

    I truly think that he is not only one of the most vile, heartless, disgusting, noxious, EVIL villains that I've ever met, he is also, oddly, an object of pity. Not to be mistaken for sympathy. He deserves a slow, torturous, endless agonizing death. His singleminded foxhunt of Jamie is confusing at first and later, every time his name is mentioned, I literally became filled with rage. I'm one of those that cried when I'm angry and I can't even tell you how hard I cried. Enough that I couldn't read any more. I had to calm down first.

    Poor Jamie :(

    Here is my reaction, of which I typed in the buddy read I was taking part in after I read the specific part that made me hate...literally hate Randall.

    82%

    Yeah, suffice it to say that I really hope we get more of Randall and that Ms. Gabaldon feels the black rage that I felt toward him. I hope, I hope, I hope. Even rereading my reaction makes my blood pressure rise.

    Yes, this is a great historical fiction novel but Jamie and Claire..their love, their devotion to each other is what makes this story epic. You just can't get around that fact. This is a love story. And so much more. I was so conflicted from the position that both Claire and Jaime were put in. What is right and wrong here? Claire loves her husband. But here she is, in this impossible situation, of which she can confide in no one. Not a single person. And so she goes first with her gut. Then with her head, and finally, FINALLY with her heart.

    and later...

    With the gorgeous backdrop of Scotland, the descriptions alone, and the way the dialogue forces you to sink into the setting is worth the entire read.

    I'm beyond happy that I finally started this series. I'm trying to pace myself while reading the next stories, as I feel the greatness in ma bones. This book itself was so amazing, I can't imagine what's in store for me. There were a few hints...very, very tiny hints in this book of some strange happenings with regards to the time travel aspect. Things always get convoluted when it comes to the whole switching time thing. What came first, Claire in real time or Claire in 1743? What will she change by going back and messing around with her ancestors, or more so her husband's ancestors? I can't wait to find out.

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  • HeatherJay

    I remember my friend in college ( 1992ish ) coming out of her room holding a book to her chest and saying " YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK". She said it was a time-travel, romance book set in post world war II Scotland and mid 18th century Scotland.

    Being as I was a 24 year old stoner and a 5th year college student, Lord of the Rings was more up my alley and I told her I'd "put it on my list"!! Fast forward to 2009, I'm on my usual Saturday morning sojourn to Barnes and Noble and I come across "Outl

    I remember my friend in college ( 1992ish ) coming out of her room holding a book to her chest and saying " YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK". She said it was a time-travel, romance book set in post world war II Scotland and mid 18th century Scotland.

    Being as I was a 24 year old stoner and a 5th year college student, Lord of the Rings was more up my alley and I told her I'd "put it on my list"!! Fast forward to 2009, I'm on my usual Saturday morning sojourn to Barnes and Noble and I come across "Outlander" in the fiction section. As I am currently without any books to read and nothing catching my interest, I decide to finally give it a try.......... All I can say is " I cannot believe I wasted almost 20 years of my life without reading this book!"

    I won't go into the plot as it's already been covered, but, Holy Shit, this is one fantastic book! You've got adventure, drama, history, fantasy and romance. Easily the best romantic story line I've ever read and literally the most charismatic, appealing male lead I've seen. I've since read the whole series and love it even more today. If you've ever read a book and literally gotten so sucked in that you can't possibly read fast enough, then you know what I'm talking about.....Oh, and Jamie Fraser is a God!

    I've been an avid reader since I was 8 and Jamie is without a doubt my most beloved. Whomever your favorite male protagonist is I can promise you that no one compares to Jamie, no one! Read on, GR friends, this series is epic and you won't regret it!!!

    P.S. ( circa Fall-2013.....) I usually don't care if someone does not like a book that I love. Everyone's tastes are different. That being said..... I find if someone says something negative about Outlander I have an almost visceral reaction and want to stab them with a fork. So if you're a hater you better watch yourself........and seriously? What's wrong with you?

  • Navessa

    WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. T

    WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK. WHAT. THE. FUCK.

    AS IN, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS RAPEY, ABUSE-APOLOGIST BULLSHITERY? I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M MORE UPSET ABOUT, THAT IT'S IN HERE, THAT I ACTUALLY LIKED THIS FUCKING DOUCHECOPTER AT FIRST, OR THAT I'M SUPPOSED TO JUST "GET OVER IT" LIKE HIS WIFE DOES, VALIDATE HIS ABUSE, LIKE HIS WIFE DOES, AND IMMEDIATELY FORGIVE HIM, LIKE HIS WIFE DOES.

  • Deborah Markus

    I gave up on this book because I was sustaining permanent damage from reading it and I was afraid I'd start hitting back. And it's a borrowed copy, so that wouldn't be cool.

    In fairness, I should say there's a lot of good writing here. I really enjoyed the beginning chapters. They even kind of cracked me up, because I have friends who love genealogy and their husbands always get

    when they start talking about it and that's exactly how I imagined Claire looking when her husband Frank star

    I gave up on this book because I was sustaining permanent damage from reading it and I was afraid I'd start hitting back. And it's a borrowed copy, so that wouldn't be cool.

    In fairness, I should say there's a lot of good writing here. I really enjoyed the beginning chapters. They even kind of cracked me up, because I have friends who love genealogy and their husbands always get

    when they start talking about it and that's exactly how I imagined Claire looking when her husband Frank started droning on and on about his ancestors.

    And Claire is a nurse, which is a really good transportable skill if you're going to be thrown back in time which it turns out Claire is. (Sorry. Spoiler alert.) Can you imagine if you were one of those Nerds On Wheels computer repair people and

    got sent to eighteenth-century Scotland? You'd be totally screwed.

    But Claire's skills come in handy without seeming out of place. A woman who's a dab hand at healing is always welcome in Olden Tymes, so Claire is able to land on her feet and kind of get a job once she figures out what happened to her and comes to terms with it.

    Which is pretty much immediately. Which is when the book started to lose me. There's, like, no culture shock whatsoever. She gets knocked back two hundred years or so. She goes, "WHOA. What the flimminy?" She starts being The Lady To Go To With Your Eighteenth-Century Scottish Boo-Boos. That's it.

    There are a few mentions of things like how shoes fit differently back then and anachronistic language, but there's no sense of the kind of thing a person from the future would be startled by. Not the food, not the weird underwear, nothing. Claire just settles in and starts being the resident nurse at a castle. She keeps half an eye out for a chance to get to the place that can take her back to the future, but it has all the deep emotional urgency that I feel when I really should stop by the grocery store on the way home but it won't kill anybody if I go tomorrow instead. Like, whatevs.

    Still, there was plenty to keep me interested. Like – leeches! The stuff about leeches was cool. And the info about healing herbs. And that kid getting his ear hammered to a board because he was caught stealing.

    Really, this book would have worked fine for me if it hadn't been for what everybody else seems to love about it, which is the Romantic Interest. Which

    would have been fine, even with the whole SHE'S MARRIED ALREADY thingy.

    But, okay – let's say that she

    to marry that guy. They aren't in love when they get married and so the whole point of the book is to watch their relationship develop, while Claire struggles with guilt and fear and thoughts of how her

    husband must be worrying about her and how the heck does time-travel work in this book and WHY IS SHE JUST ASSUMING THAT TIME IS GOING BY IN THE FUTURE AT THE SAME RATE IT IS FOR HER? WHY, I ASK YOU?

    (Sorry. I'm a minor-league nerd, and this part really bugged me.)

    So what I just described would have been a book I could read and enjoy, or at least read and not scream in pain. But apparently someone gave Diana Gabaldon the creepiest piece of writing advice EVER, and it was this:

    "Listen – you know how if you're cooking and you're worried it's not turning out very well, just add bacon if it's savory and chocolate chips if it's sweet and everybody'll love it? Well, if you're working on your first novel and you don't know what to have happen next, just throw in some rape! Or attempted rape! Works like a charm!"

    She follows this advice to the letter, and I'm sorry but I have to go home now.

    I managed to read the "she disobeys him so he beats her with his belt" scene. I almost punched the book right in the face, but as I said, it's a friend's copy so I had to be nice.

    Then I managed to get through the "she forgives him for the beating, like, the next freakin' day" scene. I started fantasizing about this book getting stuck in the elevator of a burning building, but I was able to hold on and keep going.

    there was the scene where Big Kilted Oaf – I mean, Jamie – starts laughing about the whole beating thing and reminiscing about how hot she looked when he was holding her down beating the crap out of her

    Like,

    And I'm all, "WHO AM I AND WHAT AM I DOING HERE?"

    And

    I staggered on. Heaven only knows why.

    And

    did the author reward me for my perseverance? What is this book all about? What's the recurring literary theme?

    Rape. Attempted rape. More attempted rape. Marital rape. A little more marital rape. Conversations about rape. GIGGLING during conversations about rape.

    And I'm all, "I'M OUT OF HERE AND I DON'T CARE HOW MANY OF MY FRIENDS HATE ME."

    I read 444 pages in a row, plus I skimmed a lot of the rest of it including the creepiest, rapiest Chekhov's gun I've

    seen fired. Do NOT tell me I didn't give this book a fair chance. I TOTALLY DID.

    In case you need proof, here's a list of all the things I learned about rape from

    (Assuming you have any emotional response at all, which you won't if you're Claire.)

    Jamie tells Claire about his sister Jenny being raped by a dastardly redcoat. He has a good chuckle talking about how Jenny punches and kicks her attacker. She isn't able to hold him off forever, though. And Jamie gets flogged for trying to defend her.

    Claire's response?

    It

    terrible for Jamie to have his sister "dishonor herself wi' such scum." (Nice.) So terrible that he can't bring himself to go back home to her when he gets out of prison, and "see her again, after what happened." She's impregnated by the rape. Left on her own both emotionally and financially, she is forced to become the mistress of another English soldier. Jamie finally sends her what money he can, but can't bring himself to write to her. Because, you know, "what could I say?"

    Claire's response?

    (Really --

    could I give up on this book when the main character is so sympathetic?)

    After Jamie and Claire consummate their marriage, Jamie confesses that he "didna realize that ye did it face to face. I thought ye must do it the back way, like; like horses, ye know." Claire tries to keep a straight face as she asks him why on earth he thought that.

    So of course Claire flips out and asks him what the heck

    was all about. Who was it? Why was he witness to a rape "out in the open"? Was he able to help the woman? What happened to her?

    Oh. Wait. This is Claire the Emotionless. She doesn't ask him

    and he doesn't say anything else on the subject. Instead, they cuddle and talk about how much fun what they just did was.

    Because a story about rape out in the open is just the kind of pillow talk a woman wants to hear when she's relaxing after a nice bout of bigamy.

    I mentioned I loved this book, right? I didn't? Good.

    Jamie and Claire are off on their own in the woods for a spot of marital bliss when they're set upon by highwaymen. Claire is nearly raped, but manages to kill her assailant. Yes, she was a nurse during World War II, but I think there's a difference between witnessing violence and inflicting it yourself. She kills the guy in the nick of time. He's on top of her, so she undoubtedly gets his blood all over her. Meanwhile, Jamie manages to dispatch the other two guys.

    And then Claire flips out about the fact that she was just attacked, and she had to kill a guy, and she had to kill a guy at close quarters

    .

    Oh. Wait. This is Claire. She has

    , now or later.

    Well, she does have

    response:

    If your marital love life has been a bit blah lately, why not get attacked and then kill the guy? It'll spice things right up!

    (next page):

    I gather it's especially not rape if your husband has an ethnic-slur nickname for you. He should use this at least three times a page. (Yes, "Sassenach" is derogatory. It'd be like if you were white and your husband called you his little gringo. Although that would actually be kind of funny if he's white, too. I think I want to get my husband to start calling me that now. But I digress.)

    Claire is saying no, and no again. She's still in pain from the last time they did it, because he didn't take no for an answer even when she told him quite honestly he was hurting her.

    So how does our romantic lead respond?

    I quoted that last line to my husband, and he got the same look on his face that I had on mine all through a two-day bout with food poisoning.

    If this book works for you, fine. I'm not here to judge. I'm just asking that you understand how completely creeped out I was by all this, and not tell me I didn't give it a fair chance. I did. I really hate not finishing a book once I start it, but I just couldn't stand it any more.

  • Sasha Alsberg

    WHATTTT HOW DID I NOT MARK THIS MAGNIFICENT CREATION OF A NOVEL AS READ BEFORE???

    I read this book 2 years ago and it has captured my heart and is my favorite book of all time <3

  • Sasha Alsberg

    This book is my love, you all know this. It deserves an infinite amount of stars, too bad Goodreads only allows 5!

    Check out my review on YouTube here:


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