Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon“There’s no place on earth with more of the old superstitions and magic mixed into its daily life than the Scottish Highlands.” – Frank Randall

As the story goes, author Diana Gabaldon’s first editor once said, “These have to be word-of-mouth books because they’re too weird to describe to anybody.” I don’t know that ‘weird’ is quite the right word – I’d prefer ambitious – but there is no question that Outlander is a genre-bending literary trip unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

The book opens in 1945 with former WWII combat nurse Claire Randall and her academic husband, Frank, on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Having been separated for three years by the war, Claire and Frank are quite eager to rediscover each other and begin a family. What Claire discovers, however, is something she could never have imagined.

While out strolling in the countryside one afternoon she comes across an ancient stone circle. As she wanders through it she feels a distinct sense of displacement and unease and, upon regaining her bearings, realizes she’s no longer in 1940s Scotland. She has, in fact, been transported back to the war-torn Scottish Highlands of the mid 1700s.

Taken in by one of the Highland clans, Claire puts her skills as a nurse to use as their new healer. Though she tries her best to adjust to the bizarre circumstances, initially Claire always has one eye on finding a way back to her time and her husband. But when circumstances force her into a marriage of convenience to one of the clan members in order to avoid being arrested by the English, Claire soon finds herself torn between her old loyalties and the dashing young Highlander, Jamie Fraser.

Outlander may sound like a straight-up historical romance, but there is much more going on. The warring between the Scottish clans and English military is depicted in several intense battles, the challenges of daily living are vividly brought to life, and the brutality of the punishments handed out to law breakers is graphically described (English Captain Jonathan Randall is a particularly nasty piece of work). There’s even a good old fashioned witch trial.

Clocking in at 650+ pages it’s safe to call Outlander an epic tale, that’s for sure. Interestingly enough, however, the book ‘reads’ much quicker than that. I’ve read 600+ page books that felt as though they’d never end, but Gabaldon has packed so much action and intrigue into Outlander that by the time I took my first break from reading I was already on page 250 – the entirety of some shorter novels – with no effort at all.

Gabaldon has crafted incredibly engaging central characters in Claire and Jamie, as well as painting a wonderfully descriptive portrait of the 1700s Scottish Highland; it’s hard to imagine anyone who reads Outlander not being drawn into the continuing adventures of the Outlander series.

– CONTEST: Win “An Echo in the Bone” –

An Echo in the Bone by Diana GabaldonSpeaking of which, as part of the celebration of the trade paperback release of An Echo in the Bone, the 7th book in the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon’s publisher has been kind enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win a copy of An Echo in the Bone.

To be entered, just leave a comment below stating whether you are already reading the Outlander series – and if so what book you’re on – or if this is your first introduction to it. Please include your email address or url so I can contact the winner. Contest open to US/Canada (no PO boxes), and runs through August 14, 2010.

*** The contest is now closed.***

Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels – Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, and A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize) – and one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, as well as the bestselling series featuring Lord John Grey, a character she introduced in Voyager. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. To learn more about Diana, visit her website.

Outlander by Diana GabaldonAs part of the celebration of the trade paperback release of An Echo in the Bone, TLC Book Tours is putting the whole Outlander series on tour. Be sure to check out all of Diana’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 2nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves (An Echo in the Bone)
Wednesday, August 4th: The Literate Housewife Review (Voyager)
Monday, August 9th: Musings of an All Purpose Monkey (Outlander)
Wednesday, August 11th: Starting Fresh (An Echo in the Bone)
Thursday, August 12th: Under the Boardwalk (An Echo in the Bone)
Monday, August 16th: Planet Books (Outlander)
Thursday, August 19th: Rundpinne (An Echo in the Bone)
Wednesday, August 25th: MoonCat Farms Meanderings (An Echo in the Bone)
Monday, August 30th: Hey, Lady! Whatcha Readin’? (Outlander)
Tuesday, August 31st: The Brain Lair (Outlander)
Wednesday, September 1st: My Two Blessings (Outlander)
Thursday, September 2nd: Life in the Thumb (An Echo in the Bone)
Tuesday, September 7th: That’s What She Read (Dragonfly in Amber)
Monday, September 13th: Suko’s Notebook (Outlander)
Tuesday, September 14th: Luxury Reading (Outlander)
Wednesday, September 15th: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader (An Echo in the Bone)
Thursday, September 16th: Pop Culture Junkie (Outlander)
Friday, September 17th: Devourer of Books (Outlander)


  • […] August 9th:  Musings of an All Purpose Monkey […]

  • Ellie W

    August 15, 2010 - 9:41 PM

    I haven’t started the series yet but have Outlander requested at the library. I’m looking forward to diving in.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    eswright18 at gmail.com

  • Elizabeth A. White

    August 15, 2010 - 10:06 AM

    Rachel Jacobs has been selected (by Random.org) as the contest winner. Congratulations to Rachel, and thank you to everyone who participated by leaving a comment. 🙂

  • Alycia J

    August 14, 2010 - 1:39 AM

    I started Outlander in December. I have read the series through Drums of Autumn. I am anxious to start The Fiery Cross soon and recommend this series to all my book loving friends. Wonderful review! 🙂

  • Charlotte Cecilia

    August 13, 2010 - 10:53 AM

    The Outlander is my favorite book of all time. I absolutely love it and give it as gifts to my friends. I am now at A Breath Of Snow And Ashes.
    Please enter me to the giveaway. Thank you!

  • Nancy S

    August 12, 2010 - 8:54 AM

    Just finished Dragonfly in Amber and immediately picked up Voyager – love it!

  • Ellen Sobel

    August 10, 2010 - 9:46 AM

    Just finished reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes and am listening to Voyager on my ipod. Love these books!

  • Oregon Kimm

    August 9, 2010 - 9:36 PM

    I just read Outlander for the first time last month. It took me by surprise! Didn’t know what to think of it, but I enjoyed it and fell in love with Jamie. 🙂

  • kim burrow

    August 9, 2010 - 6:39 PM

    i love this series. i am waiting for the newest to be released in trade paperback size. i collect these.

  • Gina S.

    August 9, 2010 - 5:42 PM

    I haven’t read this series yet, but it seems really interesting! I’d love to give it a try.

  • Rachel Jacobs

    August 9, 2010 - 4:40 PM

    i just finished “The Fiery Cross” and I have “A Breath of Snow and Ashes”on my shelf waiting for a nice lazy summer afternoon. I would love to have “An Echo in the Bone” so I can go right into it!

  • Charles Wingfield

    August 9, 2010 - 4:39 PM

    I will have to check out this series. Please put me in the drawing too! thanks!

  • Kelleigh Broyles-Reiner

    August 9, 2010 - 4:33 PM

    I would love a copy of this book! Please count me in for the drawing!

    Thank you so much


  • Liz

    August 9, 2010 - 4:33 PM

    I absolutely LOVE the Outlander series and highly recommend it!

  • Dolly Sullivan

    August 9, 2010 - 4:06 PM

    I stumbled on this series by accident and it turned out to be such a blessing. These books are by far the best thing that I’ve ever read.

  • Lucious Lamour

    August 9, 2010 - 4:06 PM

    Sounds like a very interesting premise for a book though I am not sure about how she can be torn between the two guys. I guess I have to check this book out to find out.

  • Carolyn F

    August 9, 2010 - 3:33 PM

    Great review, please enter me in An Echo in the Bone 🙂

  • Monika

    August 9, 2010 - 3:30 PM

    Ever since picking up Outlander years ago I’ve been hooked. Fantastic series that I will recommend to anybody

  • Nise'

    August 9, 2010 - 2:10 PM

    I believe that this series has become so popular by “word of mouth”. I have recommended it over and over again (still do) and now recommend the audio books too! Great review. I just finished An Echo in the Bone. (Don’t enter me).

  • Lisa Munley

    August 9, 2010 - 1:21 PM

    Wow, great review!! I’m so glad you enjoyed Outlander! I’m glad you mentioned that although it’s long, it doesn’t feel like a long book with all the action and intrigue. Thank you so much for being on the tour.. we really appreciate it!