It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.
Cross Stitch (Outlander), Diana Gabaldon (1991)
I don’t even know where to begin. My mother began this series years ago and when I was thirteen, she finally let me read her favourite book. I now own my own paperback copy, her original battered copy, and a beautiful signed 20th anniversary hard back edition.
Oh, how I have tried to accurately describe this book to people so that they will actually read it. Claire Randall visits Scotland to reconnect with her husband in the months following the Second World War, walks through a stone circle and ends up back in the 1700s where she is forced to marry an handsome Scotsman. That’s pretty much it in nutshell, but also, at the same time, not at all. Historical Romance is a vague and not inaccurate beginning, but this book is so much more. There is adventure, and time travel, and violence, and witches, an evil villain who is the spitting image of her beloved husband and did I mention the Loch Ness Monster? Now that’s more like it.
The book is the first in an ongoing series, I believe book 7 is coming out next year, with book 8 being the end of the series. The series is great, though more and more characters are introduced and, I feel, something is taken away from the main story but this book, THIS BOOK, is perfect.
So you’ve got Claire, the strongest female character I’ve ever come across, thrown into this ridiculous situation 200 years before her own time, but she can cope because after the war, she can cope with anything, and you’ve got Jamie, the brave and charismatic exiled nephew of the Chieftain of Clan Mackenzie. They’re friends, and then they’re husband and wife and then their relationship really grows. Jamie promises in their wedding vows that she will have the protection of his body, should she ever need it, and it takes a while before she realises that he really means it and that she might just have to take him up on it. As it turns out she does, more than once, and he very heroically comes to her rescue. The best thing, though, is that before the book is over, she manages to save his life. It’s this equality, their love and respect for each other, that I love so much. There are so many fantastic characters, and complex relationships and rivalries. There is adventure and romance and real dilemmas, like when Jamie takes her back to the stone circle and Claire has to decide whether or not she should stay with her new husband or return to her first.
You’re not going to get an objective review from me because I love this book, I love the characters and I when I read it, it feels like coming home. I hope I have encouraged someone to give this book a go, and if not, the TV show is currently in production and is slated for next year,