This book came highly recommended by many bloggers, reviewers and readers. But whenever I read the blurb or the summary about a time traveling nurse and a Scottish warrior, I was kind of put off. I thought it would be yet another book about a clueless heroine until I saw this trailer of the series made from this book. And I was hooked. So here is my review of the first book in these series.
Claire and Frank Randall are on their honeymoon in Scotland right after World War II. Claire a combat nurse interested in natural healing is taking the time off to get to know her husband again after a long separation. Frank is a historian who is tracing out his roots and genealogy. At the outset they appear to be an ordinary couple who would live in a suburban house, have children and carry on with their life as any other normal couple would. Except they don’t.
Claire goes off exploring near Craigh Na Dun (a make-believe stone circle) near Inverness and falls through time. She is still in Inverness but in the 18th century (200 years in the past). Claire doesn’t realize at first that she is in the 18th century. When she is rescued by Murtagh Fraser from her husband’s great great grandfather (who looks remarkably like him) she thinks that the kilted scotsmen were a part of a movie project. But it slowly dawns on her…
Her rescuer takes her along to a hut where a bunch of scotsmen are arguing in gaelic and they are trying to help a young man set his arm (which is fractured). Claire intervenes and helps young Jaimie and the leader of the clan Dougal takes her along with them. The tentative friendship formed between Jaimie and Claire is an absolute pleasure to read (and who wouldn’t want to ride with a ruggedly handsome kilted scotsman).
Claire adapts to the time travel factor much better than anybody else I think. Claire’s childhood is spent with an uncle who is an archeologist so she has no trouble adapting to a life without plumbing (indoor or otherwise). But she does miss other modern things like motor car, medicines, penicillin and her husband.
Claire is taken to Castle Leoch the stronghold of Clan Mackenzie and there she meets the real clan leader Callum Mackenzie and gets to know that Jaimie is his nephew on the run from the British soldiers. Claire gives a story about she was mugged and relieved of her clothes and belongings and the Mackenzies decide to keep her in the castle as they do not have a medicine man anymore.
Right from the time she comes to the castle, there is a steady increase in regard and a sizzling chemistry between Jaimie and Claire. Jaimie is not only attractive but very honorable and charming and though Claire is busy plotting her escape from the scots she is charmed by this grubby soldier.
Until I read this book, I didn’t really know about the Battle of Culloden or the Jacobite rising and it makes a very interesting read to see how the things proceeded to pave way for the most devastating episode in the Scots history. Thankfully Claire is aware of that and she tries to warn Dougal and Jaimie about it but they don’t take her seriously.
Dougal takes Claire along with him on the road to collect taxes and also to collect money for the Jacobite rising. Jaimie too is a part of this group as Dougal uses him as a poster boy to highlight the English atrocities. Claire’s encounter with Jack Randall and Jaimie’s past story about him makes her wary of him and when she meets him for the second time, she is physically hurt and abused by him. To save her from Randall, Jaimie marries her. I loved the chapters that lead up to this event. It’s my favourite part of the novel.
“You are safe,” he said firmly. “You have my name and my family, my clan, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well. The man willna lay hands on ye again, while I live.” Jaimie Fraser
And I went ‘oh man! If only someone could say this to me :)’
Claire Randall and Jaimie Fraser suffer through many highs and lows in this book. I don’t want to reveal any more than this but I doubt if one would find a hero as passionate as Jaimie. He is truly one-of-a-kind and Claire is incredibly lucky to have him.
Diana Gabaldon has a very lucid style of writing and she manages to suck us right into the plot and keep us there. I should also thank the makers of the Outlander series for their casting coup. Jaimie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp might just have walked right out of the book. If I hadn’t seen this trailer I would never have stumbled on these wonderful books and would have missed the whole series!
Verdict – A must read. If you truly love romance, this is the book for you.