Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bookshelf: Diana Gabaldon


About two months ago I decided to begin a long journey with Diana Gabaldon. I know I'm nearly two decades late to joining this bandwagon, but better late than never, right? I had overheard two of my coworkers discussing the drama of a woman named Claire and a Scottish lad named Jamie for a while and though I was intrigued I knew my mother had read that series. The thought of reading something my mother reads was enough of a deterrent and so I forgot about the books. But then recently, while perusing Borders' bookshelves I stumbled upon the series and decided to give it a go. And I am so glad that I did.
I finished "Outlander" in two weeks and began "Dragonfly In Amber" (which I am still making my way through) immediately. What is daunting about the books is the size. In paperback each book is easily 700 pages or more (one is even over a thousand). But the thing is, so much happens in each book and there's no way a chapter could be cut out because everything is integral. I'm only two books in (to a 7 part series) so I can't speak for the remainder of the series, but the first two have left me constantly on edge wondering what will happen next and I've even lost sleep because I can't put the book down and go to bed.
In 1945 Claire Randall is trying to reconfigure life with her husband Frank. The war has ended and after years spent as a nurse with the army she is trying to find her place away from falling bombs and broken soldiers. In Scotland, on vacation with her husband she finds herself in the midst of a circle of stones while out searching for plants to preserve in her press. Claire steps through the stones and finds herself in 1743 Scotland in the midst of clan wars (in a shift no less).
"Outlander" never let up, carrying me through one harrowing adventure after the next until I may or may not have acquired a crush on the tall, ruddy James Fraser. But more than that, I am in awe of the task Diana Gabaldon took on. The research she undertook to make this series plausible is just astounding. I have never been particularly fond of history though I have enjoyed a book or two of historical fiction. If you like intrigue, romance, war, historical fiction, a strong female narrator or men in kilts... this series is for you. Don't let the enormity of the series intimidate you. Instead, think of how much adventure awaits.


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