CHAVIS’ CLASSIC CORNER
How many times have you read a book that creates a world that is so vivid, so real, and so alive that you would do almost anything to live in that world? One of my very favorite books does precisely that. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander,the start of an amazing literary experience!
If you’re not familiar with Diana Gabaldon, she came to writing after earning degrees in Marine Biology, Ecology, and Zoology, which is great for us because it means she loves details in her writing. She wrote the first Outlander book about 20 years ago, and it has gained a cult following.
Our central character is Claire Beauchamp Randall who moves to Scotland after WWII in 1946. While walking one day, Claire strolls through a “circle of standing stones” (much like a mini-Stonehenge), and gets sucked back in time to 1743 Scotland. She lands smackdab into a clan full of lusty lads, redcoats, blunt weaponry, and the like. In order to survive, Claire needs to be married off to one of the men in the Scottish clan she’s joined. Enter our hero James Fraser.
James (aka Jamie) is one of those heroes who literally leaps off the page with every passing chapter. If you thought Mel Gibson’s William Wallace was a hot, tough, chivalrous guy, believe me, you’ll love Jamie Fraser. He makes Wallace look like the playground punching bag. Jamie is the right mix of ruggedness, tenderness, and that “X” factor that will grab any reader’s attention, and it’s so much fun watching the growth of his relationship with Claire.
Despite the fantastical setting, Gabaldon incorporates a lot of actual historical content and detail in her books. In fact, she fought for years to get Outlander moved out of the “romance” section of the bookstores because her books are more than simple love stories. They are historical fiction. Gabaldon writes her two main characters with so much real-life details and behaviors that you will probably talk about Jamie and Claire as if they’re real people.
So be forewarned, you WILL get hooked, and hooked hard. While it’s not necessarily a “fast” read, it is one that is well worth the time. If you enjoy romance, Scottish swordsmen, chivalry, and history, I can strongly bet that Outlander will be a gem to treasure in your book collection. Face it, who doesn’t love a man in a kilt?