My modus operandi has always been to read everything that is ever given, recommended, or suggested to me and then to twice read what I have in my library.
When my friend handed me Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ I was delighted, slightly skeptical and er, extremely interested to say the least. The 1000 page saga began interestingly enough, but I put it down after one chapter. It is not that I don’t read 1000 page sagas, I loved the entire ‘Lord Of the Rings’ trilogy, then again who doesn’t love Tolkien, okay maybe a few don’t. Which is why my friend gave it to me, she knew it was (sort of) my kind of book, but I just couldn’t get into it. When I did, a few weeks later, I didn’t know what hit me. Um, I’m all for historical fiction, but time traveling from 20th century Scotland to the Jacobite uprising. Who knew it could be so good? To those of you who know this already, tis nothing new ( I’ve read them all of course… )I am re-reading all the books again, just because, this time. Yes, just because.
This story between Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser is visually stunning, at times raw, cruel and bawdy, filled with visceral descriptions that can either make your toes curl or heart break. You love Claire almost instantly for her pragmatic outlook and for the choice that she eventually makes – when faced with a really difficult decision- although you may not agree with it. What I loved the most about these books is this incredible story woven around one man and his passionate love for one woman, every character has been thought out clearly and introduced to be loved, liked or disliked. Not only do you yearn for more, but each book has a remarkable end, you don’t quite expect. I fell in love with Lallybroch – Jamie’s home – immediately. I also loved his sister Jenny for her strength and heart and her husband Ian, for his quiet grace. There are more characters to love, but I can’t talk about all of them. It would take too much time. You have to find a way to dedicate time your time to all of Diana Gabaldon’s books.
You’ve got to read the last published book Echo In the Bone – not a lot of people liked it, but I did- there’s another book in the making of course. I love that Roger, Brianna and the kids return to modern-day Scotland, loved that they read letters somehow left by Claire and Jamie and more than anything, love the implication that Jamie might appear in the 21st century to help rescue his grandson. There are some revelations Gabaldon could have left out.. I was more than a little disheartened by one storyline in particular. Yet, it is a testament to Gabaldon’s skill as an author. She makes you think when you least expect it and she leaves details that only the keenest eye will pick on, which will then tie into the next book in a way that makes you yearn for more. All her books are just gorgeously written and so detailed that I believe Gabaldon is an artist when it comes to creating historical fiction.
My experience with Diana Gabaldon’s books culminated in an actual book signing/meet and greet with the author and she did not let me down. She was promoting ‘The Outlander’ a graphic novel, which is interestingly presented in Jamie Fraser’s voice and beautifully illustrated by Hoang Nguyen. Diana also read to us some excerpts of the next book ( I can’t wait) and talked to us about the creation of these characters, how she got into writing and where her research has taken her. She has the most beautiful face, (it is porcelain perfect) and the greatest sense of humor. The most fantastic thing to come out of all of this was to actually see the characters come to life in this beautiful book. Although there are no plans for a film yet, Diana seems to have very clear idea of an actor or actress who might bring these characters to life. Whilst I don’t agree with her idea for Jamie ( my friends and I would love to see Henry Cavil play Jamie Fraser – anyone seen ‘The Tudors?’ if not, he will now be hard to miss as the new, soon to be released ‘Superman’ – see below) Claire might be easier to cast however. I’m sure this is going to come up many times, which makes for a very interesting debate of course. If you haven’t already checked out her books, do!! they are just fantastic.
Since I posted this article. We have now learned that a mini-series – The Outlander is about to begin filming in Scotland and her cast appears well selected. Claire and Jamie are gorgeous. Her book ‘Written In My Own Heart’s Blood’ was due this Fall, but will now be released in Spring.