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Bodice-ripping Scottish joy . . .

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Posted: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 4:00 pm | Updated: 12:36 pm, Tue Mar 29, 2011.

Remember when I mentioned that I'm behind the curve when it comes to current reading? In this case, that's about a dozen years. Only within the last year did I pick up Diana Gabaldon's first book "Outlander."

I'm not sure why I waited so long. It was given to me years ago along with high marks from a tried and true book buddy. But I waited. Maybe it's because it's a freakishly large book that I assumed would take up too much of my precious time.

I was wrong. It took up time, but that time flew by due to the fast pace and captivating plot of the book. It contains a few of my favorite ingredients in storytelling: Time travel, history, and steamy love scenes with a Scottish Highlander. What's not to like?

The heroine of the book, Claire Randall, is on a vacation with her geneology-minded husband in Scotland shortly after the 2nd World War. While out walking, she slips into 1743 surrounded by warriors, chieftains and a few truly evil characters. One of which turns out to be her husband's ancestor, Black Jack Randall. Understandably, she has a rocky start in this century. She's dressed differently, speaks and acts differently and gets accused of being a spy and a witch. But her skills as an army nurse serve her well in this era of sub-par health care (they'd hadn't learned that washing hands was a good idea). Soon she became a reluctant, if necessary guest of the Clan MacKenzie and her life got a bit easier for a while. (My husband is a MacKenzie and my life's pretty good.)

It was during this time that she nursed to health and began a bodice-ripping relationship with young James Fraser. This puts a fly in the ointment of her conscience since she's married to someone else in another century. But, things being what they are, and with no control over her situation, she embraces her new life and between running for her life, patching up warriors, and wondering if she'll ever return to 1945 - she has a rip roaring good time with Jamie.

Gabaldon weaves enough history into her story that the time travel element almost seems secondary. Although it's a concept that I find endlessly fascinating. By the end of the book, we're coming upon the Scottish Uprising and battle lines are being drawn. Just about this time, Claire has to make the decision to step back into 1945 or to stay with her new burnin' hunk o' love.

Quite the quandary.

Gabaldon has been criticized for dwelling on her sex scenes a bit much. And I have to admit that after the first hundred lust-filled encounters I was ready to get back to the story. It would be fun to believe that they had earth-shattering carnal relations, but they were also a busy lot ... what with wars, famine and shoeing the horses.

Mostly though, a good story. I was spellbound. I have the second book waiting for me and a 3-day weekend coming up so I'm anxious to see where Claire ends up next.

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Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • posted at 8:22 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Posts:

    I personally love time-travel type books. A favorite is 'If I Never Get Back" by Darryl Brock. Its a story of a lost, alcohol fueled guy who, while taking the train to his father's funeral, steps onto a platform in the mid-west and into 1869. He plays for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, meets up with Mark Twin for a scamming romp and then on to San Francisco where he meets up with the younger self of his great-grandmother. So fun! The title? Get it? From the baseball song...?

    My other favorite is Stanley Shapiro's "A Time To Remember". Plot: Man thinks if he can go back in time and prevent the assassination of JFK, the war won't escalate and his brother won't be killed in that war. The trouble is that he has terrible luck with his landings. Case in point, he appears in 1964...in front of a moving car.

     
  • Brandi Poole posted at 5:30 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Brandi Poole Posts: 79

    Gotta love those Scottish barbarians! They will always give ya a bodice-rippin' good time!
    I will be starting Book 3 soon, then yew may have it, lassie!
    I wonder where we will go, and who we shall meet. I wonder how much messing around our Claire, and Jamie will do?!

     

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