Book Reviews · Fantasy · Historical Fiction · POPSUGAR Reading Challenge · Romance

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2021 Update: Week Fifteen

Good morning, everyone! I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend, and that you are continuing to stay healthy.

I was able to get my first COVID-19 vaccination earlier this week, and I’m doing fine. My arm started feeling a little sore a few hours after getting the shot (similar to the way I typically feel after getting a flu shot), but I didn’t experience any other side effects. The clinic that I went to in order to get my first shot was fantastic, and I really appreciate the work that the staff is doing.

I’ll be able to get the second shot in a few weeks, and I’m really looking forward to being fully vaccinated!

This week for the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge, I decided to read Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

Outlander tells the story of Claire Randall, a WWII-era combat nurse, who has recently reunited with her husband after the end of the war. Claire and her husband, Frank, have decided to take a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands before he begins his new university job.

When Claire explores an ancient stone circle at Craigh na Dun, she is somehow transported back in time to 1743. Trapped in the past, the nurse quickly finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between several members of the MacKenzie clan, and her husband’s ancestor, Black Jack Randall.

Claire is taken back to the MacKenzie clan’s home, Castle Leoch, where she is forced to conceal the fact that she is from the future. Although she is suspected of being an English spy, the clan’s laird does welcome her to the castle as his guest.

But while Claire is able to find a place for herself as the clan’s healer, she is determined to find a way to return home. Her plans to escape the castle and return to the ancient stones are put on hold, however, when Black Jack Randall begins to take an interest in her origins as well. In order to avoid handing Claire over to the Redcoat, Dougal MacKenzie comes up with a plan to marry Claire to his nephew, a Scottish warrior named Jaime Fraser.

It’s not an ideal solution in Claire’s mind, but Jamie vows that he will protect her with his life, offering her a love that promises to grow stronger with time.

Outlander is one of those books that I’ve owned for years (along with the rest of the series), but just haven’t gotten around to reading before now. I had the opportunity to hear Gabaldon speak at a library event shortly after buying the book, and the talk she gave was fantastic.

The event was so big that the audience actually filled the gymnasium at one of the local high schools. I ended up sitting with a group of older ladies who had been fans of the series since it was first published. They were all talking about how much they loved Jamie Fraser, and how wonderful the casting of the television show was…and I had no clue what they were talking about because I hadn’t had time to even start reading the book before the event.

I have never BS-ed a conversation so hard in my entire life!

Now, having finally read the first book in the series, I totally understand their enthusiasm. Outlander is a fantastic novel, and one that I found very difficult to put down! Gabaldon created an amazing story, with wonderful characters and a lot of attention to detail. Claire’s adventure is both fascinating and exciting, and I really enjoyed how Gabaldon chose to develop her character.

I don’t know if I would claim to have fallen in love with Jamie Fraser while reading Outlander, but I certainly fell in love with the book itself. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I do think it is important to mention that Outlander is definitely written for an adult audience. There are a lot of very steamy moments between Claire and Jaime. The book also includes some content that may cause emotional distress for some readers, including: physical punishment, unwanted sexual attention and advances, rape, torture, references to suicide, and a few scenes involving post-traumatic stress. There are also a few graphic descriptions of injuries and medical procedures that may bother some readers.

Whether you enjoy historical fiction with a fantasy twist, or you just like the idea of men wearing kilts, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Outlander. It’s a wonderfully written book, and I’m so glad that I finally read it!

Next week’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update will be posted on April 17th. In the meantime, I hope you will visit The Unapologetic Bookworm next week for new book reviews, including a review of another great book from last month’s March Mystery Madness readathon.

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