Good morning, all! Well, it’s that time. At 1am, I finally finished the latest book in my incredible journey with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I have no words. Let’s just say I fell asleep with tears in my eyes.
Until book nine is released (which is awhile off yet, I’m sure), I have to part with these characters, and it’s absolutely bittersweet. I adored my journey with Claire and Jamie and I can’t even begin to explain how much Diana’s work has impacted my life. I’m so thankful that an ancient episode of Doctor Who inspired her to write a novel. Although she saw it as practice to learn how to write, what she created was something astounding. Twenty plus years after the release of book one, it has grown into such a phenomenon and it knocks me off my feet to know how many people have been touched by this series.
In the beginning, I was wary of taking these books on. They were daunting to tackle, (the shortest being the first book at about 600ish pages) and not every review I read before I picked up a copy was one of praise. People talked of cheesy love-making, poor one-liners, and an abusive husband, blah blah. With all do respect, what book were you reading? Were you paying attention to the plot and the story on a larger scale? The love scenes were gorgeous and the relationship Claire and Jamie have is one of the greatest love stories I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a LOT of them). There is one scene alllllllllll the way back in book one that people saw as controversial between the couple (a spanking punishment.. or “tan the hide” as they’d say) after Jamie rescues Claire from the claws of the relentless Black Jack Randall. For the time, and for the situation they were in, what Jamie did was absolutely acceptable. That was the norm for the time, and, let’s keep in mind that he’s 23 at the time, and a newlywed. He’s not the most keen when it comes to handling a female. Her actions put her life as well as Jamie and the rest of the Mackenzie clan at great risk. He had no choice but to discipline her in the only way he knew how.
I digress.. and will end my mini-rant there. Outlander haters don’t know what they’re missing. Let’s move on and discuss book eight. WrittenInMy Own Heart’sBlood finds us back in America in the middle of a Revolution. Jamie is gone, drowned in a shipwreck, and Claire is grief-stricken and finding herself suddenly married to one of Jamie’s most trusted friends. When Jamie returns from the grave, will things be the same? Do he and Claire have obstacles to overcome? Of course they do, and that’s what makes this book so real. Their lives and their story doesn’t consist of constant fluff and perfection. It’s raw, gritty, and immensely powerful. I can’t properly put into words what it has meant to me to meet these two. Claire in 1945, then again in 1743 where her and Jamie meet for the first time. They were only in their twenties when I began with them, so to then follow them through 1778/9 and beyond into the golden years makes me quite emotional. They’ve become aunt and uncle, grandmere and grandpere, da, grannie Claire, etc. Witnessing them with an expanding extended family is a moving thing. I honestly did feel like a member of the family, silently witnessing everything from close by.
War brings on its share of issues. The family is constantly on the move and have their eyes wide open at all times. Claire is caught in a crossfire during battle, Fergus and his family have to escape a fire in their print shop that will forever altar them, Ian has to protect his aging companion, Rollo, and his new wife, Rachel, and Brianna and Roger have to navigate Jem and Mandy between the 1700s and 1980 with threats on their family’s future.
It astounds me the places this book has brought me. I learned more about world and American history than I thought I would, I took lessons from Jamie and Claire about life and love, I got a taste of battle, and the thrill of parallel universes and time-travel. It truly is a symphony of events that wind up making this story utter magic. Hats off to Mrs. Gabaldon for her thorough and extensive research in order to bring this world to life. I am forever grateful.
I’m devastated that my time with this amazing family is done (for a little while). I’m almost scared to move onto another book or series because Outlander has become such a part of my day-to-day life, and they made my life just a bit more thrilling. I think at some point, I’ll be visiting the Lord John Grey spin-off series in order to cure my Droughtlander. I’m sure I’ll be in a mild state of depression until season two picks up on Starz and book nine is released.
Please do yourselves a favor, and do not let this series slip through the cracks of your ever-expanding TBR. Go as soon as you can to your local bookshop and pick up this whole series. If you have tried to read this series and couldn’t get through it, give it another chance. You will not regret it, I promise you.