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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (original 1991; edition 1998)

by Diana Gabaldon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,753591185 (4.28)2 / 880
Authors:Diana Gabaldon
Info:Delta (1998), Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1991)

  1. 164
    Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati (pollywannabook)
    pollywannabook: The closest thing to Outlander out there. Diana Gabaldon even lent out the character of Claire for a cameo in this book
  2. 81
    The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (Iudita)
  3. 115
    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Anonymous user, SunnySD)
  4. 62
    Timeline by Michael Crichton (leahsimone)
  5. 30
    The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway (redheadedali)
  6. 41
    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (littlebear514)
    littlebear514: Although the stories are COMPLETELY different; the writing is of the same quality and the stories are both deeply involved.
  7. 10
    Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart (LiddyGally)
    LiddyGally: I recommend this book because the writing styles are in a similar vein rather than the stories being the same. Both, however, are set in the wilds of Scotland.
  8. 10
    Overseas by Beatriz Williams (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Romance and time travel.
  9. 10
    Son of the Morning by Linda Howard (amyblue)
  10. 00
    The Legend of Lady MacLaoch by Becky Banks (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Though Banks' novel is set in present day (and is considerably shorter), the love story with the gorgeous backdrop of Scotland was reminiscent of Gabaldon's series.
  11. 00
    Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George (MissBrangwen)
  12. 00
    The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (LAKobow)
    LAKobow: Also involves elements of realism mixed with fantasy, Scotland, romance, and historical fiction.
  13. 00
    The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (aynar)
    aynar: Much better example of time travel.
  14. 11
    Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine (bucketyell)
  15. 00
    Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins (Joles)
  16. 00
    The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll (infiniteletters)
  17. 11
    The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Historical romance, hooray!
  18. 00
    Vrouwe van Llyn by Jane Watt (margarethmiwy)
  19. 11
    In a Wild Wood by Sasha Lord (Jenson_AKA_DL)
    Jenson_AKA_DL: If you enjoyed the romance between Clare and Jamie I think you'll also enjoy this Highlander romance.
  20. 01
    Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank (infiniteletters)

(see all 23 recommendations)


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English (579)  German (6)  Dutch (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Tagalog (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (598)
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Trigger Warning for discussions of child abuse, IPV, and rape.

Claire and Frank Randall head to Scotland to reacquaint themselves with each other after a six year separation, due to Claire's work as a combat nurse during WWII. Frank uses this time to research his family history and though Claire is supportive, she's not necessarily interested in the role that Frank's ancestor played in the Jackobite uprising. Clarie finds herself at the stone circle at Craigh na Dun and when she touches the cleft rock, Claire's life takes a turn she could never have imagined.

When Claire regains consciousness, she finds herself 200 years in the past but before she can make sense of what happened, Claire finds herself in a confrontation is Black Jack Randall, the 6x grandfather of her husband. Thankfully for Claire, a group of highlanders come along and rescue her before she can be raped. The problem is that the highlanders take Claire away from the stones she needs to stay near to, in order to return to her own time. Caught up in the upcoming uprising, clan politics and the tyranny of Black Jack Randall, Claire has only her wits to protect herself with.

Essentially, Outlander is a historical fantasy/romance novel. As much as the novel concerns itself with Claire learning how to live 200 years in the past, it is also about her relationship with Jamie Fraser, the man she is forced into marrying. Claire is a really strong protagonist, who never fears saying exactly what she is thinking or feeling for that matter. This gets her into some trouble at times, as of course, gender dynamics in the 1700's, are extremely patriarchal and rigid. The highlanders are highly suspicious of Claire, who they fear to be an English spy and Claire must spend her time trying to convince them that she is not working for the crown, even as she hides the truth of her identity from them.

As the story continues, Claire's marriage of convenience to Jamie, turns into love and is she troubled by the fact that she has a husband - Frank Randall waiting and worrying about her 1945. Many of the other female characters in this novel are very strong and outspoken, particularly Jenny, Jamie's sister. Jenny refuses to be bullied by anyone and stands toe to toe with her older brother when he tries to shame her because he believes that she is a rape victim. Instead, Jenny laughs at her would be rapist and fights back to the best of her ability.
“I laughed. I mean—” Her eyes met her brother’s with some defiance. “I kent well enough how a man’s made. I’d seen you naked often enough, and Willy and Ian as well. But he—” A tiny smile appeared on her lips, despite her apparent efforts to suppress it. He looked so funny, all red in the face, and rubbing himself so frantic, and yet still only half—”

There was a choked sound from Ian, and she bit her lip, but went on bravely.

“He didna like it when I laughed, and I could see it, so I laughed some more. That’s when he lunged at me and tore my dress half off me. I smacked him in the face, and he struck me across the jaw, hard enough to make me see stars. Then he grunted a bit, as though that pleased him, and started to climb onto the bed wi’ me. I had just about sense enough left to laugh again. I struggled up onto my knees, and I—I taunted him. I told him I kent he was no a real man, and couldna manage wi’ a woman. I—”

She bent her head still further, so the dark curls swung down past her flaming cheeks. Her words were very low, almost a whisper.“I…spread the pieces of my gown apart, and I…taunted him wi’ my breasts. I told him I knew he was afraid o’ me, because he wasna fit to touch a woman, but only to sport wi’ beasts and young lads…”

“Jenny,” said Jamie, shaking his head helplessly.

Her head came up to look at him. “Weel, I did then,” she said. “It was all I could think of, and I could see that he was fair off his head, but it was plain too that he…couldn’t. And I stared right at his breeches and I laughed again. And then he got his hands round my throat, throttling me, and I cracked my head against the bedpost, and…and when I woke he’d gone, and you wi’ him.” (pg 540- 541)
When Jamie is kidnapped, even after just giving birth to a baby, Jenny is not afraid to go on a rescue mission to save her brother. Then you have Mrs. Fitz who runs her kitchen with an iron hand and shows Claire the ropes somewhat. Mrs.Fitz is unafraid to stand up to himself (the Laird), when she believes that Claire is in danger after a report of a witch trial in town. The women of Outlander are not above scheming if they must, or even playing on the gender roles that they have been given in order to get their way. Even Geille whose life ends horribly manages to outsmart her husband and murder him.

For a historical fantasy romance, Outlander is filled with violence from start to finish. Yes, violence between the English and the Scottish is to be expected given the time period but Gabaldon takes it so much further. We have Geille, a pregnant woman and yet another traveler from the future, who is set up as a witch by Callum and Dougall and killed. Homicide is the leading cause of death amongst pregnant women and Gabaldon used this as a small additive to her story. The only purpose Geille's death served was to inform the reader that she had also traveled from the future. Surely, such information could have been imparted without her violent death.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Jan 25, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
love the book picked it up after watching the first season of the tv show and looking forward to season 2. i am also heading out to pick up book two in the series to see where it goes. the characters are well developed and she pays good attention to details. just as you see the story going one way a new twist is thrown in. this was a library thing give away
  cbloky | Jan 24, 2015 |
I should know better than to read exceptionally popular books; nine times out of ten I feel like I'm not reading the same book as everyone else. So I'm probably going to offend a lot of people by not giving this book a glowing review. But what the hell; I can only speak from my own perspective. Listen: Gabaldon is a good writer. She knows how to put words together. She draws characters very well, and she seems to be top-notch on her research. But my God. This book is so long! Now, please bear in mind that I adore War and Peace, my paperback of which weighs in at 1455 pages. But, not to put too fine a point on it, a lot of shit goes down in War and Peace. Outlander, on the other hand, is really a very small story, taking place over about a year, told in first person perspective by one woman, the only other main (as opposed to supporting) character being her love interest. You may already know the story, but I'll synopsize: an Englishwoman who recently served as a nurse in WWII is transported back in time to 1700's Scotland, where she falls in love with a handsome young Scot. So. The first half is mostly Claire trying to avoid getting raped. And there's a lot of traveling from place to place on horse. Both of those things are realistic; and I do truly appreciate realism in historical novels. But I also appreciate editing that removes redundancies. For example: we didn't really need ten scenes talking about the hero getting whipped at various times in his life. If something's a theme, three repetitions per novel is good. Maybe four, if you're working with 800 pages. Also, sex and cuddling scenes. One per hundred pages is my limit. I didn't keep track, but I'm pretty sure Outlander is way past that. When you repeat something so many times in the course of a book, it becomes boring. Should I even have to say this? Sex scenes should not be boring. I could go on—about hurt/comfort fetishes and very long passages that really, really could have used some suspense—but I'll stop there. My overarching point? I found this was readable, if frustrating, 850-page book that could have been a fabulous 500-page book. Or, an 850-page book told from multiple perspectives to permit more actual plot. Okay. I'm done. Please don't write and tell me that more stuff happens in the later books in the series: I know it does. But life is too short.

With a bow to the judges and another, no less formal, to myself, Mr. Gowan drew himself still straughter than his normal upright posture, braced both thumbs in the waist of his breeks, and prepared with all the romanticism of his aged, gallant heart to do battle, fighting with the law's chosen weapon of excruciating boredom.


This review originally appeared on my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank. ( )
  emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
The book came highly recommended and as I'm not a TV watcher, I was not familiar with the series. The main character is transported through time and encounters members of the same families along the way. The book contains romance, war, female rivalry, religion and other topics that make a good read. I would recommend getting the hardback because it is hard to read a paperback this thick without breaking the spine and losing pages. ( )
  nmaners | Jan 17, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I loved this book. Fantasy, time travel, romance, historical fiction—what more could you ask for. The book starts in 1945 in Scotland. The war has ended. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, has reunited with her husband and is now on a second honeymoon (with her husband Frank researching some relatives of the past). Claire walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot Britain. Hurled back in time, 1743 to be exact, by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war. Soon she meets Jamie Frasier, and becomes involved with him in a way she never imagined, despite she has a husband in her time that she cares for deeply. I found this book a great read, fast paced, interesting insights into the lives of those (particularly women) in both the 18th and 20th centuries. I didn’t want to finish this book, because I didn’t want to leave these characters behind. Lucky for me there are books to read in this series. 5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jan 12, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diana Gabaldonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anastassatos, MariettaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carbain, JeanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sallamo-Lavi, AnuirmeliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and-butter to journalists.
Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars.
Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.
To the Memory of My Mother,
Who Taught Me to Read —
Jacqueline Sykes Gabaldon
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It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.
Prologue ------ People disappear all the time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'Outlander' was published in the UK as 'Cross Stitch'.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385319959, Paperback)

In Outlander, a 600-page time-travel romance, strong-willed and sensual Claire Randall leads a double life with a husband in one century, and a lover in another. Torn between fidelity and desire, she struggles to understand the pure intent of her heart. But don't let the number of pages and the Scottish dialect scare you. It's one of the fastest reads you'll have in your library.

While on her second honeymoon in the British Isles, Claire touches a boulder that hurls her back in time to the forbidden Castle Leoch with the MacKenzie clan. Not understanding the forces that brought her there, she becomes ensnared in life-threatening situations with a Scots warrior named James Fraser. But it isn't all spies and drudgery that she must endure. For amid her new surroundings and the terrors she faces, she is lured into love and passion like she's never known before.

I was lame and sore in every muscle when I woke next morning. I shuffled to the privy closet, then to the wash basin. My innards felt like churned butter. It felt as though I had been beaten with a blunt object, I reflected, then thought that that was very near the truth. The blunt object in question was visible as I came back to bed, looking now relatively harmless. Its possessor [Jamie] woke as I sat next to him, and examined me with something that looked very much like male smugness."
Gabaldon creates characters that you'll remember, laugh with, cry with, and cheer for long after you've finished the book. --Candy Paape

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:38 -0400)

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Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to Scotland in 1743, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for James Fraser, a young soldier.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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