Outlander by Diana Gabaldon was a book that hovered around the edges of my To Be Read list for several years. Many friends of mine had read it - and the following books in the series - and with their recommendations and other positive press, the title had a certain amount of buzz about it so that I became interested enough to finally pick up a copy and read it.

I went into the book not knowing too much about the plot besides that it was a historical epic set in Scotland. That was enough to whet my interest, but the subject that really piqued my curiosity was time travel. The story begins with nurse Claire Randall reunited with her husband after World War II. Though this setting would have made for enough of an adventuresome plot, the fantasy element of the story is brought in when Claire is inexplicably transported back in time to the Scottish highlands in the 1700's. Claire's husband's ancestor is the villain of the time and the out of place heroine finds refuge with a Scottish clan - and a young man named Jamie who soon wins her heart. Claire is torn between the exciting adventure of the times she finds herself in and the desire to find her way back home and as the book progresses, the reader is drawn fully into her dilemma.

With vivid scenery and plenty of characters to love and hate, there are numerous reasons to be enamored with this book. My favorite aspect, though, is that it is a novel that defies genre classifications. It is historical fiction, action, fantasy, romance, and adventure seamlessly wrapped up into an epic story. I didn't know what to expect when I first began Outlander but I find myself eager to discover where Gabaldon will take this intriguing series in future books!
One thing that I found especially interesting about Outlander, is that in the UK, the book is called Cross Stitch.   I'm not certain which version was marketed first or why the change in title for audiences across the Atlantic.  For those that have read the book, which title did you encounter first?  Which title do you prefer?

7 Response to "Outlander"

  1. Melissa says:
    August 9, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Sounds interesting. I actually met Diana Gabaldon several years ago when she spoke at a writer's seminar in Phoenix. Somewhere in my many books I have an autographed copy of Dragonfly in Amber.

  2. Bailey says:
    August 9, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    I'm not familiar with this author - will have to do some research! The premise sounds very interesting, and I love European settings.

  3. DFrank2 says:
    August 9, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    I am glad you liked it. I have read the entire series! They are all good, but the first one is the best. I never knew there was a different title in the UK. Interesting. -Compski

  4. Anonymous Says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    I love this series, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I was in Scotland years ago and remember seeing Cross Stitch everywhere. I was curious what they'd think of the book there but it seemed very popular. This book actually inspired me to visit Scotland and it was absolutely wonderful. I also liked how non-traditional Claire and Jamie's relationship was. Claire is such a strong character and she stays that way throughout.

  5. lisa :) says:
    August 19, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    @Melissa - I'm a little jealous that you've met Gabaldon! I'm so impressed by her storytelling and world building and I would guess she's a very interesting speaker too!

    @Bailey - If you read it, let me know what you think!

    @Compski - I think you were one of several that told me about the series, and I'm sure I'll get to reading them all eventually!

    @thebookstop - That's so cool that you went to Scotland after reading this! It was such a picturesque book that it definitely made me long to go there, too! And you're very right about Claire, I loved her character. At first I thought she was a little too modern for her time but the more I thought about her having experiences as a war nurse, it made sense for her to be strong and decisive.

  6. Us says:
    August 25, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I've only read Outlander, and I liked it. I also like the story on how Diana became a writer. Ahhhh young Jaimie!

  7. Angiegirl says:
    September 13, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    I have come so close to reading this several times and just never followed through. I think I'm a bit intimidated by its popularity and not sure if I'll love it. Your review encourages me, though. I really do need to commit and give it a go.

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