The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just 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 circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Admittedly, I watched the first season of this before I started reading it, usually a rule I am adamantly against. But, I was never all that intrigued by this series. I’ve seen all the hype about it, I know people who’ve enjoyed it, but I still never felt the need to read it. Well it was on super sale for Kindle, and then the first season arrived in the mail from Netflix, and I decided I’d go for it.
These books are long and slow reads. I would read for a few hours, look down at the pages, and realize I’d only covered about 50 pages. And I was never really submerged into the world enough to not be a little put out by how slow of a read it was. There were also a few major events in the book that really put me off. Those were a strange balance between my appreciation of the historical accuracy, and my modern ideas of relationships. With the modernity of the relationships depicted in the book though, I often felt that the more “barbaric” depictions of life in 18th C. Scotland didn’t really work and were just frustrating.
I was also never a huge fan of Claire. She definitely grew on me throughout, but I never felt that deep of a connection to her, and her frivolous attitude to her predicament did not help endear her. Also, I was not a fan of she and Jamie’s relationship largely being a physical one. They claim they love each other so much, but not until towards the end of the book do I start to see moments that make me believe they have true feelings for each other that go beyond lust.
I have to say, this is one of the reasons I like the YA/NA books. I feel like relationships have to be built on other platforms more because of the lack of sex in the genres, and I really appreciate that. I know it’s a very generalizing statement, but a lot of the “adult” books I read have really awkward sex scenes in their context of through graphics, and I just don’t really find it necessary. That’s just me though.
Anyway. There were aspects of this that I enjoyed, the general setting was interesting, especially with the political atmosphere. The colloquial language worked, and that’s usually something I really dislike, and in those moments of political power playing I was quite entertained.
Overall though, there was too much of a romantic focus for me in these. I’ll probably just continue the show, and we’ll see if I feel the need to pick up another book in this series further down the road.