The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
This book is . . . interesting. I feel extremely conflicted about it, so bear with me. Let’s start with what I did like. Scotland is such a gorgeous setting and I never got tired of the descriptions of it. The plot was perfectly paced and the characterization of Claire and Jaime was great. Kind of, but I’ll get to that. I felt totally immersed in this world, on late nights curled up with this book. Now on to the stuff that’s both like great and cool but at times WHAT THE F***!?Namely, Claire and Jaime’s romance. In the beginning, I was totally infatuated with Jaime and their romance was cute and really hot (because romance can be both cute and hot). Until Jaime beat Claire. As mentioned before, WHAT THE F***!? He falsely accused her of the motives of her attempted escape, which the real reason was because she wanted to GO BACK HOME. The feminist in me was all kinds of freaked out and angry while cringing during this scene. She wanted me to throw this book into the corner while cursing Jaime the hell out.
Then, all the other parts of me were like, hmm. . . this is really disturbing. Yet it depicts relationships between a heterosexual married couple during that time period accurately.
“Without one word of direct explanation or apology, he had given me the message he intended. I gave you justice, it said, as I was taught it. And I gave you mercy, too, so far as I could. While I could not spare you pain and humiliation, I make you a gift of my own pains and humiliations, that yours might be easier to bear.Without one word of direct explanation or apology, he had given me the message he intended. I gave you justice, it said, as I was taught it. And I gave you mercy, too, so far as I could. While I could not spare you pain and humiliation, I make you a gift of my own pains and humiliations, that yours might be easier to bear.”
Justice as you were taught it, Jaime? Your punishment as you received as a son from your father is vastly different, oceans apart from the “punishment” you doled out on Claire because these two relationships are vastly different. As you can see, deeply conflicted. Turns out the review section of this wasn’t lighter.
To add even more to my oh-so deep struggle, Jaime will experience more bad stuff than he has revealed that he has already suffered through. This book is definitely NOT a light read, there are themes of sadism, abuse, and assault prevalent throughout the whole book. If you’re ok with reading about this, than I do recommend this book. If not, don’t come near within 10 feet of it. I have started reading the second book in the series, which I will probably write about as well.