In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?
©1991 Diana Gabaldon; (P)1997 Recorded Books, LLC.
"Davina Porter maintains the distinct voices she creates for each character throughout the lengthy narration. Her delivery of 18th-century language sounds authentic and is easily understandable." (AudioFile)
i have 4 things to say about this book:
1. the narration is excellent
2. the romance is...very romantic
3. the history is...fun
4. the "naughty" stuff is...(see below)
it's common for romance novels, especially ones that appeal to medieval European settings, to bring in sexually charged themes of bondage, whipping, and nonconsensual intercourse. this book goes rather SO far in that direction, though, that it distracts from the otherwise dignified plot.
Below is an abbreviated breakdown of the action, just to let you know just how kinky things get.
MH=Male Hero / MF=Female Heroine / MV=Main Villain / V=Villain
1) MV threatens to force himself onto FH
2) random V's threaten to force themselves onto FH
3) MV whips MH and forces himself onto MH's sister
4) 2 V's force themselves on FH in front of MH
5) MV forces himself on FH in front of MH
6) MH whips FH (gives her a "strapping")
7) MV tortures MH
8) MV forces himself on MH (!!!)
9) FH pretends to be MV in (non-psychologist approved) reenactment of #8 designed to "cure" him of his shame (?!)
and all of this in lurid detail, with a great deal of time spent recalling past whippings and beatings and tortures. not sure how all this made it past the editor, but...
at least now you're warned, and there is a good story and some good writing buried in there!
I listen to a lot of audiobooks.
The only science fiction in this novel is the fact that the main character travels back in time. Perhaps there is more, but so far I am 3/4 of the way through and am still waiting. I would call this book a fantasy/romance instead. Classifications aside, I am pretty disappointed in Outlander. The plot is basically non existent, aside from the fact that our main character needs to get back home, and then makes a choice not to. From that point on, the book is a boring fantasy. I do not for one minute believe that life with a Scottish clansman in the 17th century was blissful and as wonderful as the author is having us believe. There is also the fascination with beatings of children and wives - almost as if the author is trying to get us to believe that it wasn't that bad. Sorry...beatings are beatings! The other odd factor is the man on man rape. I find it totally unbelievable that a clansman could endure this without shame (being that he is not gay) and then later tell his entire clan about the incidents, only to have them all say "oh I'm sorry that happened to you". Ha! right..... So much of this novel is "pleasant" and nice that it has become nauseating! YUK
I found this book under the Scifi/fantasy section, and it definitely should not have been there. I've managed to make it to chap. 22 and except for one very brief moment of traveling through time in the beginning, there has been no science fiction in this book. And the only fantasy involved would be the copious amounts of sex with kilt-clad Scotsmen. I suppose that could be someone's idea of a fantasy, but not the kind you expect to find in the Sci-fi/fantasy category. This book is a very, very long romance novel of the trashy paperback sort. If that is what you are buying it for, you will probably love it, but if you were looking for Sci-fi, like me, forget it.
If you are a guy, pass it up. If you don't like soap operas, men in kilts who do nothing but fight, drink, and have sex, or if you blush easily, pass it up.
On the plus side, the narrator does an excellent job. She does well with both the Scot and British accents as well as the male and female characters. She's easy to understand and reads with feeling.
I should have listened to the other reviewers...ugh and I listened to the bitter end...30 hours! Creative plot which drug on and on. Too many "Perils of Pauline" escapes and the repeated, detailed torture of a loved husband let me bewildered and wondering why this is a "romance"!! An abridged version is definitely needed in the worse way
I didn't like it!
I really can't understand the high ratings for this book. The performance was great, but the story drove me crazy.
A time travel book, by means of a witch-craft and a Henge, but that's where the coolness ends. The Heroine of the book, Claire, travels back in time 200 years in Highland Scotland. But when she arrives, there is much too little history and too much of the story revolving around the Claire's emotional turmoil. The Publisher's summary describes a county war-torn by raiding Clans. The only battles here are in the heads of the characters - not enough action and too much syrupy romance.
Guys won't like it. Women wanting a strong Heroine lead might... except that Claire can hardly do a thing to save herself in the many situations she finds herself, or gets herself into.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - Jojen Reed. #ADanceWithDragons
I should have read more reviews before getting this one... I read the description of the book and was preparing myself for a nice amount of fantasy/sci-fi, a decent amount of history and a whole lot of action. What I got though was a tid-bit of fantasy/sci-fi, a slight mention of history, a dash of action, a whole bunch of BDSM and way too much romance...
Don't get me wrong, the book was written well... actually not just well... it was written extraordinarily well! This is (to date) one of the most nicely written book I have ever come across (and I have read a lot of books) irrespective of the actual story. If you are a fan of excellent writing, just plain good usage of words, beautiful descriptions and a nicely organized sentences you'll enjoy this book. If the story could only follow with the excellent writing, this would have easily gotten 5 stars for me... that being said however the story itself is just one long, convoluted, some might say even over reaching and glorified romance!
I am not a big fan of romance novels... I am even less a fan of romance novels that kinda over do it in the sex scenes... including and not limited to whipping, multiple attempted rapes, biting, scratching, sado-masochism, impotency (due to latent homosexual desires) and probably the biggest disappointment of all... the rather anti-climactic end of the main antagonist (in my opinion). You would think that after the main antagonist would meet a more disastrous end ESPECIALLY after he gets his ultimate desire of forcing the main protagonist (both of whom are guys fyi) into having sex with him because the main protagonist wants to save his wife who, is from the future AND who, in the future, is also married to the great great great great grandson of the main antagonist. Did I mention that this book is convoluted?
One other thing that irks me... For someone who is propelled back a couple hundred years in the past... Claire (who's vantage point we read from) is VERY calm. After being separated from her husband (poor guy) and being propelled back into the past, she chooses to stay with Jaime (the main protagonist and as close to a Fabio impersonator as I have ever read). I also find the idea that Claire (after being propelled into the past by some sort of buzzing stone... and no I do not jest about the buzzing stone) finds it hard to believe in witches....
Here is the thing: you will truly love this book if you like historical romance novels with the emphasis being the 'romance' and also have a penchant for BDSM you will be utterly floored by this book (in a good way of course).
The narration also is an area where this book SHINES. Davina Porter has always been a favourite of mine where narration is concerned and I can say she did not disappoint. She breathed life in the myriad of characters in the book of which there were a lot. She is one of the reasons I got through this book and for that Davina... I say thank you.
Despite this review I MIGHT actually read the other one... Why? Because I already have it in my library and I hate to give up on a series. The writing is great but the actual story is lacking (to me). The description is exceptional but can be too much at times. The narration is extraordinary!
This book is very violent with details of flogging, attempted rape, brutal beatings, rough sex, and even the child birth is brutal. The Author barely even addresses the fact that Claire has left behind another life. Very little is said about her former life. The narrator is very good with the voices and the accents.
The people who love this book seem to be mostly already addicted to the series. If you are coming to it for the first time, you may want to reconsider.
There are numerous scenes of torture, vividly, graphically and disturbingly described. The sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse and torture is really unsettling. The romantic hero beats his wife "half to death" with a belt and the next day he violently rapes her and all this is romanticized as she comes to accept him as "her master."
The rape, abuse, whippings and beatings are interspersed with "adventures" but there is very little suspense as it quickly becomes apparent that all dangers are escaped within a few pages, and all conflicts are as quickly resolved.
While this is a novel, there really isn't a story arc, there is more of a line. The characters don't develop, and very little, beyond the physical abuse and the escapades, actually happens.
That said, I listened to all 32 hours, so there is at least a modicum of narrative drive. And Davina Porter does a marvelous job. But I'm certainly not going on to the others.
Obviously, many people are enthralled with this series, but had I known how gruesome and boring it was, I wouldn't have wasted a credit.
This is my first review after being a member of Audible for about two years. I do so to warn any guys out there about purchasing this title as it is interminably long and boring. It is filled with ad nauseam descriptions of the female narrator describing her feelings and conversations with her Scottish lover. One keeps hoping for a plot to develop but that never transpires. Heed my warning and save your money.
I'm sorry the rating is no reflection on the author, I just don't like romance novels. I wouldn't have bought it had I realized that. I wish Audible would give the genre of books in the description.
A page turning bodice ripper with added pornography. The book started off ok but I found the increasing dominance of the sex scenes became boring. Definitely written to appeal to women rather than men - my husband couldn't stand it and gave up on the first book.
"First book of a series"
This series is a mixture of science fiction, history, medicine and romance. Forget historical or geographic accuracy. This is escape and should be taken as fiction based on fact. Diana Gabaldon wrote this as an exercise and did it extremely well, even though she had never visited Scotland before writing Outlander. It is thought provoking, funny, sad, erotic and dramatic.
There are, to date, six books in the series following the Frasers from Culloden (and the lead up to it) to the beginning of the War of Independence in America. There is one or possibly two more books to come.
Ever wondered where certain ideas came from? Who thought of putting phosphate on bits of wood with an air proof covering? Could have been someone who had already seen the idea in action.
I thoroughly enjoyed the books and Davina Porter is an excellent narrator. She manages to capture a 1940's English female accent but still does a very good Scottish male voice. Quite an achievement and well worth listening to.
"Get out of bed and get on with the story!"
The story gets the narration it deserves. Both are tedious and more Mills and Boon (I imagine as I haven't read any) than serious historical novel. A possibly good idea is interrupted by so much sex and "oooohhhhh Jaaaammmmieeee" that it never really gets a chance. I did listen right through to the end, even though I wanted to stop half way, and have masochistically even gone part way through the second book, thinking it may improve, which it didn't. If anything it got worse. Unfortunately I bought three of this series at the same time on the basis of other reviews, but just couldn't face any more of this tedious drivel.
About 60% of it.
I can honestly say that nothing I have read has annoyed me more than this series.
"Outlander (Cross Stitch)"
Having read the books many years ago as they were written, I thought it would be interesting to listen to the first one being told. It was very quickly addictive and many things went by the wayside until I finished listening to the story. Davina Porter was very good, however, I agree with the reviewer who commented on her Scottish voices. I am Scottish, and the accents did grate slightly. However I appreciate the difficulties in being female and trying to narrate in an 18th century male Highlander voice. Overall, very entertaining, and very enjoyable. I look forward to listening to the others.
"Lose yourself in a gripping story."
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Being a bloke I was looking for a nice time travel adventure but I soon got caught up in the thrills and spills of highland life without missing the real reason for choosing the book. The first couple of chapters drag a bit but keep close attention as they make historic references picked up later on. I was fascinated and enthralled!
"Eat your heart out Barbara Cartland!"
Some degree of historical reality/accuracy is useful in a historical novel,.
Lacked any depth, just a bodice ripper using a historic setting - the Scottish highlands. No conception or the era or realistic characterization.
No. Heroine, "oh gosh, I've time travelled, never mind."
No redeeming features for me. A big error. Thought it may be interesting and a little different. It was certainly different to anything I would spend time listening to.
My mistake, but perhaps it should have been made clearer in the blurp that this was a shallow bodice ripper in Mills and Boon gendre and should be avoided by all but those of a certain gender and age.
I found this painful to listen to. Firstly the reader speaks as though she is the Queen, which I found really off-putting at times. Secondly, the chapters before the time travel drag on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.... and they go into so much boring detail about things that no-one could possibly be interested in. It also included some of the most excrutiatingly embarrassing and unsexy sex scenes.
I thought once the time travel happened, I would be embarking on a thrilling historical romp. I was sorely disappointed. It was more of the interminable detailed descriptions of the most boring events and more of the awful sex scenes.
"Slow and boring"
The time travel concept made the book sound promising. However, the lack of knowledge of the geography of Scotland and other Scottish themes made some of the listening laughable. So much extraneous detail made for extremely long listening, resulting in impatience "to get on with it!" Less sex, less words and more actual story could have saved this novel...perhaps!
"well worth listening to"
I was never sure about reading audiobooks until an injury meant that I couldn't hold a book to read. So I bought Outlander a historical novel - has wrongly been labelled a romantic fiction - should be relabelled as a historical fiction, I enjoyed in paper form but listening to it on Audiobook really really makes a difference, Davina Porter (the narrator) has a natural gift at bringing the various characters to life. I absolutely love this book, so much so that I rave about it to all my friends and I have listened to the book on more than one occassion. I would definitely recommend it.
I actually fell for the 5* reviews on this book and feel like a bit of a fool for doing so. This really is "chick lit" and quite poor at that. The story is historically very weak indeed and is really aimed at female titillation because every other scene revolves around sex and, to be honest, it's so damned boring! What's more it has the clichéd goody v baddy storyline that has been done to death since time immemorial.
It took so long to get going that I almost gave up on it on three or four occasions. It's a shame really because when it did get going it was actually quite good but for 70% of the time it wasn't. If it wasn't for Davina Porter's amazing narration I don't think I'd have stuck it out til the end. Without her wonderful voice the whole thing would've ground to a halt rapidly.
To put it in the sci-fi/fantasy section is a bit misleading because the only thing that is faintly related to this genre is the initial time slip. With a bit of imagination from the author we could've really been put into the excitement and terror of a 20th century woman suddenly finding herself in the 18th century but instead we have a main character that knew exactly how to behave and speak from the start and was all too accepting of her situation.
Because the times where the story got moving were quite good I give it 3*s but for the most part it was a load of tosh and I certainly shall not be listening to any more of the series!
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