Claire Beauchamp is finally spending some time alone with her husband Frank after the end of World War II. It is 1945. They are vacationing at a bed and breakfast in the Highlands of Scotland. Frank is also immersed in the history of the countryside, his passion. When he is following that, she is collecting flowers and herbs. They are very happy, in love, and rediscovering each other after the separation of the war.
Then Claire returns to a small ring of stones, set in the hillside like a small Stonehenge. She gets the plant she had seen when she accompanied Frank earlier. Then she walks by the cleft stones, gets dizzy and disoriented and feels like she is in a huge rift. When the sensations stop she is still at the stones. What she quickly learns, though, is she is not where, or more precisely when, she was when she first touched the stone. Claire has traveled in time to 1743 Scotland. The English and the Scots are constantly skirmishing, not quite at outright war. It is only two years before Prince Charles mistakenly returns to reclaim his throne.
Claire meets a red haired giant, Jamie. She tends his wounds. She is forcibly taken by the men with Jamie to the clan MacKenzie stronghold. Here she is regarded as an English spy. She stays with them a few months. This gives her a chance to acclimatize herself to the new time period. She gets to know the people and earn their trust. She becomes the healer for them. Jamie is always around.
When the clansmen take Claire to the nearby English garrison, the vicious captain wants to question her for being a Highlander spy. In order to keep her freedom from the English, Claire is forced into marriage with a Scots man - Jaimie. She knows she cannot return to the English garrison. How can she marry when she is already married? How can she return to the stones while always under close guard?
Outlander is an outstanding novel. It is long (over 800 pages in paperback), yet an enthralling, easy read. Ms. Gabaldon brings eighteenth century Scotland to vivid life. She describes the pleasures and problems, the attitudes, the personalities, the hardships, and the countryside in rich detail. She leaves Claire in a quandary when Claire finds herself loving both her husbands. Both men and time periods have their attraction, tearing at the protagonist's emotions. Romantics will not want to miss this novel.
Notice: Explicit sexual content, Graphic violence
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