Thursday, November 4, 2010


                The past few weeks, I've been reading a series of books by Diana Gabaldon called Outlander. I'm already on the third book of the series, but haven't written about them yet because I wanted to see how the series progressed. I started Outlander because it was free on the Kindle, I really enjoyed the mix of romance, drama and history the author incorporates into the story. It's about a young woman, a nurse, who travels back in time from World War II era to the year 1745 in Scotland, when the Scots were attempting to overthrow English rule. I hesitate to call it historically accurate fiction because Gabaldon has taken many liberties, particularly with the way that people lived, medical practices-or lack thereof- and other small details. The overall story, dates and major figures seem to be accurate though and I do enjoy having a gap in my knowledge filled while enjoying a good story.
               I was surprised to find, on a recent trip to Joseph Beth, that the books are classified as romance (not fiction) and in a section that I never, ever approach because it makes me physically ill and disturbs my sense of literary morality, amongst books like this:  

His Lady Mistress (Harlequin Historical)

Yuck, yuck, yuck...While the Outlander books do include a number of steamy liaisons (between married people, I might add), I would never have put them in this genre. They deal with so many other ideas as well and focus on the internal struggles of the characters, their relationships with family and friends, personal sacrifice, political intrigue and more. Look at the cover!

That's a pretty serious looking book if you ask me, and they're about 800 pages each. Maybe the Kindle is teaching me not to judge a book by its section...

                Anyway, I do recommend these books, unless lengthy mention of kilts, dialogue in Scottish burr, and a hugely tall, red-haired Scotchman bother you. While the series probably will not enter the ranks of 'classic,' they have more substance than the typical 'chick lit' and in many passages Gabaldon writes really beautifully. Let me know what you think! 

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