Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and-butter to journalists.

Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars.

Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations.

Usually.

outlander_original_cover
Outlander—Quite possibly the BEST book find of my life.

Ah, Outlander.  This is the one that started it all… my introduction to Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser and James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.

claire_jamie
Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser, as portrayed by Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander (a Starz Original Series).

I haven’t been a fan from the beginning, as others… such as the Ladies of Lallybroch… have been.  I didn’t discover Outlander until 2009.  I was at my local used bookstore and, as usual, spent some time browsing the stacks of books in the freebie pile, because really… who can resist a free book?  I was about halfway through the pile when I found a somewhat worn copy of Outlander.

Two things got my attention right away.  The size (850 pages) and the broken clock on the cover.  I LOVE time travel stories, so I skimmed the back cover just enough to read “In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse…” then my eyes jumped to “Suddenly, she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord… 1743.”  Well, that was all I needed to know this was definitely a book I wanted to read.  I gathered my purchases and my freebies and happily headed home.

At the time, I had NO idea how popular it was, or that it was part of a series, until I googled Diana Gabaldon after I finished reading it.  I’ve never understood how it ended up in the freebie pile (copies of Diana’s books sell pretty much as soon as they hit the shelf), or how it worked out that I was the lucky one who found it.  Furthermore, I’d like to know how such a fantastic book managed to escape my notice for 18 years!

I think I’ll just say it was my lucky day.  🙂

When I started this post, I meant to do a proper review of the book I love so well, and have re-read more times than my Goodreads not-quite-a-review is credited for, but it’s been a while since I last read it, and I don’t think a review based on distant memories that have likely been tainted by watching the Outlander TV series will do it justice.  So I’ll let that keep for another day.  Instead, I’ll share some of my favorite quotes from the book instead.

“All right you bloody Scottish bastard, lets see how stubborn you really are.” —Claire

“A hedgehog? And just how does a hedgehog make love?” he demanded.

No, I thought. I won’t. I will not. But I did. “Very carefully,” I replied, giggling helplessly. So now we know just how old that one is, I thought. ” —Claire

“I swore an oath before the altar of God to protect this woman. And if you’re tellin’ me that ye consider your own authority to be greater than that of the Almighty, then I must inform ye that I’m not of that opinion, myself.” —Jamie

“Aye, I believe ye, Sassenach. But it would ha’ been a good deal easier if you’d only been a witch.” —Jamie

“I don’t know how long it went on,” he continued. “Not that long, likely, but it seemed like a long time to me. At last he stopped a moment and shouted at me. He was beside himself wi’ fury, and I was so furious myself I could barely make out what he said at first but then I could. He roared ‘Damn you, Jamie! Can ye no cry out? You’re grown now, and I dinna mean to beat you ever again, but I want one good yelp out of ye, lad, before I quit, just so I’ll think I’ve made some impression on ye at last!'” Jamie laughed, disturbing the even movement of his pulsebeat.

“I was so upset at that, I straightened up and whirled round and yelled at him, ‘Weel why did ye no say so in the first place, ye auld fool! OUCH!!” —Jamie

 

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