Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Gabaldon, Diana "Outlander"

Gabaldon, Diana "Outlander" (UK: Cross Stich) - 1991

So many of my friends have told me I should read this, it has been suggested in my book club, yet, it never really caught my attention, I didn't think it was me.

So, when I saw this was read in an online book club, I jumped at the opportunity to discuss this with some other people and read it.

What can I say? I was right all along? Yes, I was right all along. This is not my kind of read. Granted, the story itself is not too bad, Claire, a nurse who has been in World War II, all of sudden finds herself in the 18th century. Well, I don't believe in time travel but I am willing to overlook that part. She then has to start living in that time and does pretty well integrating with her medical knowledge and all.

The story about the people in the 18th century is also not completely uninteresting. It's just, the whole style of writing is so chick lit, so simple, there is way too much importance on sex and, even in the 1700s, clothing. The whole story seems to turn around those subjects. And everything is totally predictable. Not really any surprising facts. "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily.  That is what Fiction means." As Miss Prism says in Oscar Wilde's fantastic play "The Importance of Being Earnest".

Not my cup of tea. This will have been my one and only "Outlander" novel, I know there are plenty more to read. If you are interested in them, here is the list of the sequels:

Outlander - 1991 (UK edition: Cross Stitch)
Dragonfly in Amber - 1992
Voyager - 1994
Drums of Autumn - 1997
The Fiery Cross - 2001
A Breath of Snow and Ashes - 2005
An Echo in the Bone - 2009
The Exile – An Outlander Graphic Novel - 2010
Written in My Own Heart's Blood - 2014

What have I learned from this? I often do know whether I would like a novel or not. It doesn't happen often that I am pleasantly surprised even if I pick up a book I think might not be me. That should count for something, right?

From the back cover: "The year is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a former British combat nurse, is on holiday in Scotland with her husband, looking forward to becoming reacquainted after the wars long separation. Like most practical women, Claire hardly expects her curiosity to get the better of her. But an ancient stone circle near her lodgings holds an eerie fascination, and when she innocently touches a corner of one of the giant boulders, she's hurtled backward in time more than two hundred years, to 1743.
The past is a very different country, boiling with rumors of the Jacobite Pretender's Rising, beset with ignorance and superstition, ravaged by pestilence and disease. Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire's usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless English garrison captain so feared by others bears a disturbing resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd appearance and even odder behavior expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn't understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn.

Determined to make the best of things, Claire uses her nurses training to help heal the sick, her wits to foil those who would brand her a spy and her humor and courage to disarm any would-be captors. Struggling to keep the all-too-present past at bay, she plots to return to the stone circle, and home. but of all the perils Claire's new life holds, none is more disquieting than her growing feelings for James Fraser, the gallant young soldier she is forced to marry for her own protection. Sworn by his wedding vows to keep her from harm, Jamie's passion for Claire goes beyond duty. The emotions between them are stronger, and far more real, than anything she has ever known. As she struggles with the memory of another life - indeed, another husband - Claire is forced to choose between the future she has left and the past she now inhibits. And, having been plunged into an adventure that is at once unimaginably bizarre and unmistakably real, she learns an unforgettable lesson: that a man's instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time."

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