Sunday, 15 March 2015

Let's Talk: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Let's Talk contains spoilers.

Claire Randall is reunited after WWII with her husband. They embark on their second honeymoon in order to get to know the people that they have become. On this honeymoon, Claire touches an ancient stone in a stone circle, that transports her to 1743. Claire becomes intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two men.

How I felt about it:
You know when Claire is describing how it felt to fall through the stones.
This was how I felt after finishing the book.

I have so many thoughts flowing through my head from this book. After staying up until 2:30am to finish the last 100 pages, I am glad I finished it. But now I am left with this hole because I feel like I have nothing to do. So I figured I'd do a Let's Talk about it to order my thoughts.
While reading this book, I became obsessed and wouldn't stop reading and looked for even the smallest opportunities just for the chance to read one page, or even one line.
I have to hand it to Gabaldon. Very rarely do I become completely consumed with books as I did with this one.
4 and a half days and 550 pages.

When I started the book, it was off the TV series. I was at the store and saw the first half of season one and decided that I would give it a try being as I heard good things.
I loved the first half of the TV show (see my review of the first half on the Let's Talk page). I started the book on March 9th and was just reading to see how close it was to the TV show (being as most of the reception I heard was that they were very similar). I was very busy for the next week, but constantly trying to find time to read, and ended up reading all 550 pages in 5 days.
Reading the book, for about 85% I was certain that I was going to give it 5 stars, but then some things started to occur in the book that I was very surprised about.

Some TV pictures:

The Beginning:
Starting with the beginning we meet Claire and Frank. They are married and just reunited after WWII. They visit Scotland in 1945 because Frank, very interested in genealogy, wants to see his family lineage. During this, we see that Frank wants Claire to obey him and behave when she is meeting people that are helping him find his heritage. Claire doesn't always listen, and we can tell that she is a free spirit. She does as she wishes and doesn't let anyone tie her down.
Frank and Claire visit Craigh na Dun, once again for Frank's genealogy, and Claire becomes obsessed with figuring out what the flower was that she saw. Claire took up botany because she had nothing else to do when Frank would visit different places for his genealogy. Claire goes back to see if it is a lily of the valley, and ends up touching a stone. She then ends up being transported to 1743. 
When transported to 1743, she ended up in the middle of a fight between the dragoons and Scotsman. She finds a man who looks like her husband, but it really isn't. It it his sixth-great grandfather. Captain Jack Randall. He almost rapes her, but she is taken away from him by a Scot. He then knocks her out. She awakes in a cabin of sorts with many other men.
Some are teasing her and saying that they should rape her, but one man states that they do not rape.
There was a man sitting in the corner drinking, and his shoulder is dislocated. All the men give him more alcohol and then begin trying to set it. Claire stops them immediately, saying that they will do more harm. She then sets it correctly. This man was Jamie.
Jamie is working with clan MacKenzie because he is a wanted man for murder and theft and who knows else. He is actually a Fraser, which we figure out the night that Claire and Jamie wed. He has a sister, Jenny, who ended up raped by Jack Randall because she didn't want him to kill Jamie. Jamie was being flogged, but Jenny wanted it to stop. Rumours spread saying that Jenny is now pregnant with his bastard.

Original Thoughts:
This is the start to this amazing book. I have to admit that I loved it. After finishing it, I looked about Goodreads because I was so lost. I didn't know what to give it because of all the things that occurred in the book. 
Then I found a lot of people comparing this to Fifty Shades of Grey. 
I see absolutely no resemblance. I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey, but after hearing people talk about it and seeing the trailer I see no similarities. This book was written very well, with characters who you know have been thought through in order to give them much dimension.
Below, I will explain why people think they are similar.

The Wedding:
When Jamie and Claire were married, it gave them three days to truly get to know one another. They have their awkward sexual encounters, but they truly get to know one another. Whereas, in the TV show, it occurs for one day and then they are together. These three days were very crucial because it shows them become one with one another (not just in a sexual way). 
Jamie and Claire stay with each other, and it shows that Claire stopped being worried about other men. Jamie and Claire ended up having sex surrounded by 20 other men (that were asleep). When Claire saw one awake, she didn't care.

I also wanted to address the thought that everyone believes that this is a rape book. 
I do not believe that. There are several instances where rape almost occurred against Claire, but once she marries Jamie, the attempts stop.
But at one point, after they were wed, Jamie is going to meet with a man who states that he has evidence to clear Jamie's name. Claire saw this as an opportunity to leave and go back to Frank. Claire and Jamie are also married right now, but Claire was desperate to go back to Frank. Once Jamie and all the other Scotsman left she started to go through a river to get to Craigh na Dun. She almost drowned trying to get through and was making big jumps just to get a breath of water. She ended up trying to grab a branch to pull herself up, but ended up catching a hand. This hand was a dragoon. They took her to Jack Randall. She tried to trick him into believing that she also worked for the Duke of Sandringham. He ends up tricking her back and refuses to let her leave.
Claire is frightened and doesn't know what will happen to her now. Jack has her on a table in front of him, seeming ready to rape her. Then, it seems out of nowhere, Jamie is at the window. He then says the famous line:
"I'll thank you to take your hands off of my wife."
Gosh, Jamie is hot...
Anyways, Jack is surprised because he knows Jamie (remember Jamie is wanted and was flogged before by Jack). Jamie has a gun pointed at Jack and Jack has a knife at Claire's throat.
If you are watching the TV show, you know this is where the mid-season finale for season 1 occurred. But, thankfully, I know what happens next:
Jack tells Jamie to hand over the gun or he will kill Claire. Jamie does so and steps into the room. Claire is now terrified. It seems that Jamie has handed over his last weapon.
Then Jamie runs at Jack, and Jack fires the gun.
But it was empty.
Jamie then fights Jack until he can get Claire away. Jamie says that he got the gun from a guard who fired it at him.
When all of this occurred I felt like I was with them. Running away from Jack. It was exciting and scary because I had no idea what was going to happen.
When they finally did return to the inn, all the men are happy to see Claire alright. Jamie takes her upstairs into their room and tells her that he must now punish her. 
This is where I felt awkward reading this because I didn't want this punishment to become some awkward violent sex.
But he ends up telling her that she must because if any of the men had done it, they would have to flog them until they couldn't stand straight.
Jamie then proceeds to take off his belt. Claire is trying to explain to him that he shouldn't have to do this because she will not do that again.
But he insists. 
See, many people believe that this is wrong and that anyone who says that "it's just the time" is wrong. But it truly is the time. She is travelling with a bunch of men, acting like them as well. We see this many times throughout the book when she is with other women and you see her obvious superior level over them.
So as for him punishing her with his belt (across the arse), it was because she disobeyed. And I am not saying that women should be punished by their husbands or that he should be able to do it all the time, but it is the time. 
The next morning Claire is in pain and she refuses to talk to Jamie. She has a hard time riding her horse and states that she will walk for a bit. Jamie decided to walk with her much to her dismay.
They talk about being punished with belts and he talks about the many times that his father did so to him. He also states that she looked very beautiful the night before.
She believes (and tells him) that he is a sadistic man. But of course, he doesn't know what that is. He says that she should thank him for not taking her right after punishing her. He said that it took self control, and that is exactly why he didn't sleep in the bed next to her.
If I were him, I don't think I would have said anything about his self-control, but I guess that's just me.
Anyways, they end up making up (to a certain extent) and they make their way back to Castle Leoch.

Minor Characters:
Laoghaire: A young girl who has wanted Jamie for quite some time. When she finds out that Claire is now with Jamie, she is frustrated and angry. Claire originally thought that she was pregnant with Dougal's child (but she isn't). Jamie has kissed Laoghaire before, and Claire caught them. She then proceeded to tease Jamie about it until Murtagh made her stop. She ends up giving Claire an ill-wish that she bought form Geillis. Laoghaire also tells Claire that Geillis wanted to see her, so as Claire went to Geillis, they were both (Geillis and Claire) locked in her house because people believed that they were witches.

Geillis Duncan: She is known as a witch throughout the town and many people come to her for herbs or other things. When Claire would see her often, Jamie asked Claire to stop seeing her. Claire didn't know why, but when she found the ill-wish that Geillis knew about, she went to see her. They were trapped in Geillis' house under suspicion of being witches.

Murtagh: Jamie's godfather. He will do anything to protect Jamie as well as Claire. He helps them when they eventually have to leave the town (after the witch trials). He stays with them throughout the rest of the book.

Dougal: Jamie's uncle. He has tried to get Claire to sleep with him on numerous occasions, but he is overall a person who cares about his men. I didn't really care what happened to him.

Colum: He seemed to be a good person in the beginning of the book. He was being very hospitable to Claire, but then (when he and the other men leave) he causes witch trials against Claire and Geillis.

Ned: He documents a lot of the paper for Castle Leoch. He befriends Claire when they are on the road.

Rupert: He follows Claire around in order to help Dougal. He does end up helping Claire and teaches her how to use a knife. I ended up liking this character very much.

The Witch-Trials:
Geillis was married to a man, whom she didn't sleep with or converse with either. She usually only helped with his bowel issues. One day, he walked in on her changing and Claire heard screaming and yelling, then he left dazed.
Later that night, her husband died. We later figure out from poisoning because Geillis was actually the one pregnant with Dougal's child.
When Jamie and other men left town, Colum set up Geillis and Claire. Laoghaire sent Claire an ill-wish that she bought from Geillis (Claire doesn't know this yet). When Laoghaire sends Claire to Geillis (stating that Geillis asked for her) the townspeople lock them in Geillis' house. Right before they lock them in, Geillis told Claire that the ill-wish could be forced back to Laoghaire. 
They are locked up and they wait until the trials. At the trials, the only person who defended Claire was Ned.
When the trials continued, they started whipping Claire. At this point, I was so worried. But excited, because I knew that once Jamie saw this everything was going to be alright.
Jamie did show up and saved Claire. He threw the cross on her neck to prove that if she was a witch it would have burned.
Geillis then makes all hell break loose. 
She starts screaming and yelling. She starts spinning around and cursing everyone. She takes a split second to tell Claire to run. She was distracting the town in order for Jamie and Claire to run. And in that time Claire saw something she knew: a smallpox vaccination.
What?!!!! I was so shocked! Geillis was in the same predicament as Claire! She must have travelled through the stones! I was so shocked when I read this I stood up and started walking just to calm myself down.
We later figure out Geillis was from the 1960s.

The Heart-Warming Moments:
  • When Jamie slept outside Claire's door to protect her from the men in case one became drunk and tried to rape her.
  • The wedding night. Everything was somewhat awkward, but it was still so beautifully written. And, hello? Jamie is a virgin! I was so surprised when he said that. I thought it was going to be awfully awkward, but turns out that Jamie is a quick learner.
  • When Jamie told Claire to return to Frank. He was willing to sacrifice his happiness for Claire to be happy and in her own time. Claire returned to Jamie and told him that she didn't want to be with Frank. But hot baths almost won (jokingly).
  • When Claire risked herself to help Jamie overcome Jack Randall.
  • The very last chapter of the book. When Jamie gave Claire a hot bath (awwwww) and Claire gave him the gift of child.
  • Any time Jamie calls Claire mo duinne or Sassenach.
Why People Think it is like Fifty Shades of Grey:
People think this book is like FSOG because of a few particular scenes. The main one being when Jamie seems to force himself on Claire. 
This was the first time they had sex after Jamie had punished Claire. We have already figured out that Jamie was in fact turned on from punishing Claire. So this encounter was very... violent if you will.
Jamie starts kissing Claire and is going to start having sex with her, but she says no. Then Jamie said something along the lines of: You are my wife and if I want to have sex with you I will. He then starts to thrust forcefully. Claire begins to respond and scratches his back. Claire does end up responding to Jamie and being pleased with this.
This is most likely why people think it is like FSOG. I personally don't think that the two should even be in the same sentence. Sure, Jamie can be a bit alpha male sometimes, but he gives Claire freedom and every single time they have sex it isn't rough and violent.
But come on, look at the two guys. Who would you chose?

Ugh, Jamie is so hot. Not even a competition.

Jenny is Jamie's sister. When they finally were reunited, Jamie sees that she is pregnant. She has already had one child whom she named after her brother. Jamie is disgusted with this and doesn't know why she would shame him. But it turns out that Jack didn't actually rape Jenny. He couldn't get it up. Jenny actually started laughing at him.
Jack is, in fact, attracted to men. He has wanted Jamie for quite some time.
Jenny married Ian, Jamie's best friend when he was younger. Ian now only has one leg and a peg leg for the other.
Jenny loves Ian and they are happy together.
Seeing Jenny and Jamie reunite was so happy. I felt like it was so beautiful for them to reunite and seeing how normal they are with each other. They fell into the routine siblings know so well: fighting. But it was good to see them reunite (I wasn't sure if they would or not).

The Heartbreaking Moment:
Claire and Murtagh came up with a plan to save Jamie. This involved sneaking in and getting the keys to free Jamie. It backfired a little bit.
Claire is now stuck with Jack Randall and Jamie in the same room. Jack has broken one of Jamie's hands and Jamie is exhausted.
Claire now has a knife to her throat and Jamie is desperate to help her. But he is also exhausted. He is so tired, in fact, that he is using his damaged hand to keep him awake.
So far, in the book, we know that Jack is truly gay and can't be with a woman. He believes he loves men and violence really turns him on.
Jamie offers himself to Jack. In order to save Claire. If Jack let's Claire go, Jack can do whatever he wants with Jamie or his body. As long as Claire is left alone.
My heart broke in two.

Sorry, give me two seconds...

This part made me so sad. I actually had to stop reading to collect myself because I felt so helpless because I couldn't help him.

He is giving his own body away for Claire. Claire doesn't want this, but she has to go. She refuses to accept just that. She is going to save him. She is determined.
She ends up being thrown into a trench. She is next to dead bodies, and has to collect herself. She sees dead bodies all the time, she tells herself.
She then ends up in front of a wolf. A wolf! She has to fight it in order to leave with her life. She ends up staring at it right in the eye in order to keep it in one spot. She starts throwing stuff at it. But the wolf comes at her in the end. She does end up killing it, but more show up.
But she ends up being saved at the last minute by Murtagh. She then explains that they have to save Jamie. 
They end up getting help from many other people at the inn. Jamie was supposed to be hanged the next day, so their time was limited.
All the men (not Claire) left to get Jamie. When they came back, Jamie was in terrible shape.
But there was one good part to this: Jack Randall had been trampled with cattle.
He is dead. I seriously hope he is dead.
Claire then had to set Jamie's hand. She did alright for the first few fingers, but the middle and ring didn't end up so well.

I know it sounds like I skipped a lot, jumping from him in prison to suddenly being home.
But the most heartbreaking thing is when he tells Claire what happened to him.
It kills me to hear it. It is so sad. 
Jamie explains that when Claire was there (right before she left), Jamie thought of her. And he allowed himself to think of her until she left. When he was with Jack, he refused to think of Claire. And then he told himself that when he was going to be hanged he would think of Claire again. But not with Jack.
But Jamie ended up responding to Jack. This is because Jack would bring up Claire over and over again.
Jamie then tells Claire that he can't be with her anymore. He can't, because it only reminds him of Jack now.
Jamie says that he wants to die.

Jack is easily one of my most hated villains in a book.
It isn't that I just wanted them together that way, but that means they will never ever be together (because it will most likely cause problems in their mental relationship). And as for Jamie dying? Not acceptable.

This was tough to swallow. I was so upset and didn't know how to fix it.
Claire and Jamie ended up going on a boat to France, but Jamie tried to explain that he can't because he will be sick. A lot. He actually almost died on that boat. He wouldn't stop being sick.
When they arrived they went to a church type place (I apologize, I can't remember the name). There, Claire helped Jamie return back to normal after the boat. But he still couldn't be with her in any way.
He continued to ask her to kill him.
The he asked her to go back to Frank.
I was so devastated. I didn't know what to make of this. Claire loved him, she didn't want to leave. I certainly didn't want her to leave.

So Claire decided that she was going to help Jamie overcome and get closure of sorts. She told the monk she befriended that she was going to sleep. After he left, she snuck into Jamie's room and poured lavender scented oil all over (Jack smelled like that). She started using her own known sexual experiences with Frank (what he did, what he said mainly) to make Jamie react. Jamie kept crying (he was still asleep) and turning away from her.
She then said one line which came from her own experiences, which was "Now kiss me."
Jamie leaped from the bed and grabbed her around the throat. He was choking her and throwing her around the room. Claire didn't defend herself, but didn't let him take complete action though.
Afterwards, Jamie was lying down on Claire crying. He then asked if she was his Mommy. She said yes and that he can go to sleep.
Jamie was asleep through this whole thing. He needed to get closure and quickly. Claire risked herself to save him.

By the end of the book, they have now been more comfortable with one another and go down to where Jamie has a present for Claire. He gave her a hot bath. This scene was beautifully written. They made love and then just lied down together. Claire then said that she had a present for him. He said: "Do you now?"

Best last line of a book ever (spoken line).

P.S. Did anyone else feel spooked by that Scotsman that appeared and watched Claire? When she was still in 1945?! I mean, this could be a huge twist! Maybe Jamie is in her time now! Maybe that will intertwine with later books! I mean, he was watching her!
Okay, comment and let me know what you think!

So now that all my thoughts are formed, I know that this is my new favourite.

I was so invested with this book, that when I went out I would read it. People would say: It's just a book.

They don't know.

Rating: 10/10
Parental Rating: Depends on the person, but I'd say 17+

Comment below to tell me what you thought of this masterpiece.

Citations: Gabaldon, Diana. Outlander. New York: Bantam Dell. 1991. Print.


  1. Jamie Dornan... so hot <3 but "Jamie" is hot too

    I would choose Christian Grey cause Jamie Dornan is so hot (I haven't read either books)

    1. "Jamie" is so hot! It's not even a competition! :D
      The thing is, Sam Heughan is really hot, but the character Jamie is amazing!

    2. Yeah I've never read the book but I want to so bad, Jamie's (BOTH) are so so so hot!

    3. Yeah, I seriously recommend reading it!

  2. I agree... this shouldn't be compared to 50 shades. Not the same.

    I loved Outlander (the book) and I am really enjoying the show as well. Either way... I LOVE Jamie.

    I do think there are a lot of tough scenes to read about in the book that will only be tougher to watch in the show. Poor Jamie has a hard time.

    I'm glad you are enjoying this series! I just finished Dragonfly in Amber and although it was different I loved it. Now on to book three. Thanks for joining my Outlander Reading Challenge.

    1. I'm on book 3, too. I hope you're enjoying the books!

      Thanks for having the challenge! When I first heard about it, I was so happy that someone made it!

      Glad you're enjoying the show, too! It is going to be tough to watch some scenes, but I still hope that they keep it as close to the book as possible.

      Thanks for checking out my site!