I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.
Oh, and I love chocolate.
So, a gal in my book club started reading Outlander. She then started watching the Starz series. Another in the club also started watching the series. They went on and on until the rest of us decided to just make Outlander our next book.
My initial thoughts in approaching this book was that it was incredibly long. It's not that I don't like reading long books, but I tend to think they are too drawn out in many places. But I was willing to read - because I was curious to see what the hype was all about.
At first I didn't really like Claire all that much. I suppose I think she adjusted to the situation of being 200 years in the past a little too well. Sure she was a field nurse and she lived a rustic life with her uncle growing up, but not even one breakdown over missing a toilet on a daily basis? More than that, I think she gave up on her husband a bit quickly. There didn't seem to be many moments early on where she missed him.
As the book went on, more of her struggle came forward. In the end, I did like Claire. I think she did the best she could given the circumstances. Maybe she had to shut down those feelings for her husband to survive. I also understand that she and her husband had been apart for 6 years, so she was used to missing him. I can also understand how Randall looking so much like her husband would mess with her brain.
Jamie... yes I thought as many others do that he's the perfect hero. I believed in the chemistry between the two.
There were times when I felt the book was a bit long. I get that maybe it was necessary to really immerse the reader into this unknown world. Many of the events during this time were barbaric and hard to read. Ironically, these were not the parts that bothered me so much.
I've read some reviews that are furious about a particular part where Jamie punishes Claire. I think this was a key part of the book - this happened back in those times. Hell, it still happens now. The only difference is that most women today know that this is not acceptable. Claire fought Jamie and after she explained to him it was not okay and he never did it again. To me that shows the depth of their love for each other - he didn't know anything different and fully believed his methods were appropriate, yet he trusted and loved Claire enough to believe what she said. I don't think the author was trying to condone or glorify this type of behavior. I think it was a way to highlight just how different their worlds were and what they were willing to do for each other.
The parts that bothered me most when reading? I really feared she was going to go back to her own time. Someone told me she bounced back and forth and that's was I had been expecting - well, really dreading. But she doesn't. I don't think this is a spoiler, but I will say that the description of book two in this series also had me believing she bounced back and forth. It wasn't that I wanted her to pick Jamie over Frank, but rather that I just wanted her to commit to someone and stick with it. I'm glad she did.
I suppose I'll have to read the second book in the series. And the other 6 six well. That's a lot of pages....