The “Outlander Series” by Diana Gabaldon

by Fingal Libraries
by Fingal Libraries on September 15, 2016 in Libraries

Confession: I’ve never read any of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books – but as soon as it was recommended to me by colleagues, I was hooked. I wish I had more time to read it which I don’t, but I tend to make as much time as possible by delaying dinner for the family.  A bit […]

Confession: I’ve never read any of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” books – but as soon as it was recommended to me by colleagues, I was hooked. I wish I had more time to read it which I don’t, but I tend to make as much time as possible by delaying dinner for the family. A bit of starvation never killed anyone.

Some of the staff in Fingal Libraries drifted into a “Outlander book club”. One or two of my colleagues have finished reading the series, while others have either just started or are on the second or third book. The excitement and enthusiasm for the books is just so contagious.

And of course the greatest time traveling story of all time and space played a part in the creation of Diana’s series. The character of Jamie Fraser was inspired by the Classic Doctor Who character James Robert “Jamie” McCrimmon played by actor Frazer Hines. Jamie Fraser is possibly the most interesting character I have ever read in a novel. He is all kinds of wonderful in every way. He may seem like a wild barbarian to those who don’t know him, but Jamie Fraser has the kindest heart.

Time travel, adventure, history, love…the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is an epic story about an ex-British WWII army nurse who accidentally steps through an ancient standing stone and finds herself trapped in 1743 Scotland.

Before realization begins to settle in Claire Randall’s mind, she is kidnapped by a band of Highlanders who take her to the stronghold of Clan MacKenzie. Unable to escape, Claire adapts to her new life at Castle Leoch and begins a friendship with a sweet, young brute of a man, Jamie Fraser, who in his own way is also trapped in a place he doesn’t want to be. Their relationship changes when Claire is in danger of becoming a prisoner to an English soldier who believes her to be a spy.

She is forced to marry Jamie in order to protect herself. Having no desire to marry Jamie, because she already has a husband back in 1945 whom she loves, Claire finds herself falling for this charming Highlander. Though she still wishes to go back to her first husband, Frank, she doesn’t want to hurt Jamie by abandoning him.

From the beginning of the story, Claire Randall is a dominant character who holds her own. She is unwillingly removed from her home and thrown back 200 years in time, but she still remains herself. Being a woman in the seventeenth century was not easy in general; being an independent twentieth century woman in the seventeenth century is not any easier. Claire constantly struggles with people of the time who don’t understand her because of her obvious outlandish manner. But she holds firmly to her beliefs and morals and tries to use what she knows to help the people she meets.

Outlander is not only a story about time travel and romance; it’s also a work of historical fiction. The first two books take place during the second Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which Charles Stuart attempts to take back the throne of Scotland and England from King George. To say more will give away spoilery information, but I will say that in the first two series you will read about the French court and the Battle of Culloden.

I loved Claire from the beginning of Outlander. I like that she is knowledgeable, determined, and formidable. I mean you would have to be to live in Scotland in the 1700s. I know a few people had complaints about Claire because she “forgot” about Frank, her husband, but I didn’t see it that way at all. She went back in time and her husband didn’t exist in the 1700s. What is she supposed to do? Become a hermit in the woods and consequently die? Anyway, I didn’t have a problem with her at all and was a big fan.

Jamie Fraser. Oh, man. He’s the kind of book boyfriend I will always fall for. Although I didn’t always agree with his actions, I was a fan of him the moment readers meet him in Outlander. He’s loyal, tough, good looking, and deep down, he’s a good guy. I really felt for him during various parts of Outlander, especially the cringe worthy ones towards the end. Poor Jamie.

When I first encountered Outlander, I thought to myself, “this will take forever to read, but OMG once I started, Kilts, 18th century Scotland, romance, wars, castles, accents, and time travel, I flew through the first and second books. I knew it had all the ingredients to be my favourite kind of bookish cocktail. And I was completely smitten with the books, despite the fact that it is one lengthy tome.

Have I started book three of the series, Voyager? Most definitely. It’s another very long read, but hopefully I will find the time sooner than later. I can’t wait to revisit Jamie and Claire’s captivating world.

If you also want to be captivated by Jamie and Claire’s world, visit your local branch of Fingal County Libraries, and a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series will be on the book shelves.

By Yinka Parm, Balbriggan Library