Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fiction | Lost in Love, Lost in Time

Last spring, I was giving a historical fiction-loving friend the hard sell for Rosamunde Pilcher books when she recommended I try Diana Gabaldon's infamous Outlander series. Somewhere in the discussion we discerned that while Pilcher books look romance-y and are not, Outlander looks more historical but is very romance-y. If that makes any kind of sense.

Regardless, a chunkster time travel historical fiction romance-or-not saga seemed promising. And after, no joke, a year-long wait on the library's eBook hold list, I finally read it earlier this summer.

Outlander is old news at this point, thanks to both its recent TV adaptation and the fact that it's actually over two decades old. In the story, it's 1945 in England, and the war has just ended. Claire was a combat nurse during the way and has just been reunited with her husband Frank, a history professor. They are taking a sort of second honeymoon up in the Highlands—a spot to relax and research family history—when Claire unwittingly strolls through a circle of ancient standing stones and wakes up in the 18th century.

Thrown into the past for reasons she can't understand, Claire is met (naturally) with suspicion in an environment already plagued with conflict and deceit; the Highlands are on the cusp of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, when "Bonnie Prince Charles" tried to regain the British throne after the Stuarts' exile during the Glorious Revolution. (Whew, that took a lot of Googling to refresh my memories from AP European History.) Claire immediately encounters the story's "bad guys"—which unfortunately happen to be her present-day husband's ancestors—and is soon saved by the "good guys," a clan of proud Scottish warriors. In particular, there's the young and handsome Jamie Fraser, who is of course going to be an inconvenient love interest. (What about Frank??)

So this is the setup for a nearly-900 page saga of both historical and romantic conflict. My thoughts are going to be as brief as my summary because this book is so well-known, I don't feel it warrants an in-depth synopsis nor complicated opinions. I felt that a lot of the drama just kept repeating...many many times. There's an issue, there's some action, it gets resolved; wash, rinse, repeat.

And what my friend about its romance status is true—hellooooo steamy/explicit love scenes! I also can't really say it's the good kind, because it's pretty far in the direction of "powerless woman, conquering man" at times.

While I enjoyed the details of history, and especially the time travel component, I didn't love it. While it was an action-filled easy read, I haven't been super motivated to continue on in the series.

And also, I may or may not have Googled summaries of the sequels to save myself 8000 more pages. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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