Outlander (Outlander #1)
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is 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 stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
My Thoughts: I’m not really sure how I have gone so long without knowing about the Outlander series, but I’m kind of mad at myself for it. I am a huge fan of historical fiction, even more so with romance involved, so I’m not really sure how I missed this one. One of my favourite series is the Earth’s Children series (Clan of the Cave Bear) by Jean M. Auel. So this one was right up my alley. I stumbled across this one because I’m in the Vaginal Fantasy Hangout on GoodReads. It turned out that this ended up being the main read for January and someone posted a link to a Downpour.com, which just so happened to be giving away free audiobooks from a group of selected titles, Outlander being one of them. So how could I really say no? A free copy of an audiobook? Please! I don’t really have many audiobooks that I’ve listened to so far. Only one other than this actually. So my experience with them is limited. But I have found that I am indeed quite capable of following along while listening to a book while I play World of Warcraft (I have a bit of an addiction to video games), so since this is such a long audiobook (something around 40 hours) I got in a lot of WoW time.
So I started listening. The story revolves around Claire, who for some reason is thrust back in time 200 years from her time, 1945. Claire is confused at first and thinks she’s stumbled across a movie set. Right up until she is almost raped, which won’t be the last time this happens, and then is saved by a highlander. Although I wouldn’t say she was saved exactly, since the group of highlanders think she’s an English spy, it is a time of war. So there are a few things that end up helping Claire in the past. First she was a nurse in the war, so knows her way around injuries, which is good because she’s going to be seeing a lot of them. It kind of gives her something to do while she’s a captive. She was learning about plants, so knows the local plants in the area and their uses. This is good because it makes it look like she knows what she’s doing, like she is from this time period, since they don’t have all the medicines obviously. So she can kind of get away with that. Claire also has a bit of a mouth on her, she was hanging around injured soldiers for a few years, so she was bound to pick some of it up. I always got a chuckle out of it when the narrator goes off on a tangent, cursing away. So I liked her character. she had her faults and wasn’t perfect. She was stubborn and sometimes didn’t know when to keep her mouth shut.
I don’t really want to give too much away, but there was a lot of controversy about this book in our group. Not everyone was the biggest fan. As a historical fiction, sometimes there are things that happen that not everyone agreed with, but were historically accurate. They did happen a lot more to Claire that is probable, but there has to be some story. So there is rape, a few experiences with it actually. Kidnappings, apparently Claire doesn’t like to listen to people and stay put. Spankings, this actually got a lot of conversation going. *Spoiler* Claire marries Jamie Mackenzie, she does something after he tells her not to that puts a lot of other’s lives in danger, so he punishes her with a spanking. It’s a harsh one and she swears and fights him the whole time, but she learns her lesson. She can’t just go skipping across the highlands alone, especially knowing that there are people out there looking for her. Basically though, nobody liked that he beats her, even though if she was a man and pulled something like that, she would have been killed for it. They also didn’t like that she forgave him for it, at least as early as she did. I didn’t really find it that offensive myself. I felt it was sort of deserved AND he did tell her that that’s what he would do if she left the spot he told her to stay in!
As for Jamie, he’s quite the character. He is stubborn as all hell, but also very kind and loving (other than when Claire would push him, but couple’s fight, it’s natural). He is a virgin to start out with, so has no idea what Claire, who is a “widow” and experienced will think after they are forced to marry. I kind of liked this because normally when you’re reading any type of romance it’s the woman whose an innocent virgin. So it was a nice change from the norm. When Claire had her first orgasm with him it was hilarious! He thought he was hurting her of course. Some people will lose all love for him as a character after he punishes Claire, but I didn’t. I thought that he was still a good husband. My husband wouldn’t dare hit me because I would be gone so fast with our daughter, he wouldn’t even know what had happened, BUT I’m sure if I lived in this time period, it would be different. Women didn’t have many rights and they were the man’s property. Not that I want to get hit at all, that would just be how it was then.
Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Outlander. There were a lot of times that I would burst out laughing at the dialogue. I enjoyed the narrator, she did a great job bringing the story to life. I will hopefully be continuing on with the series. I think it might be a new favourite for me! It was a bit dry in some places, but they were greatly outnumbered by the rest of the book. I didn’t even find that listening to the sexy times awkward with someone else reading, so that was a bonus! I think that it’s a book that everyone should read, even if you don’t end up liking it, because it’s either one of those books that you love or hate (or so it seems), it will at least make you think and give you something to talk and rant to others about! Or if you love it like me, you get a nice long series of long books! I’m a fan of big books!