Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review and Giveaway for "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser....what's in a name, you might ask. Everything. Honour, passion, strength, intellect, bravery, sex, love, excitement, playfulness, friendship and courage. All of this in one man? Yes...and more! Those of us who are Outlander fans know that there is no other man for any woman other than Jamie.

As soon as I discovered Outlander and the Scottish Highlander named Jamie, there was nothing and no one else for me. I ate, slept, breathed and dreamt only of Jamie. Obsession to the max. I spoke of Jamie to co-workers to the point where they either had to read the book or listen to me. Needless to say, they have joined me in my obsession. I discovered Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of seven books in October and lived with her characters until February. Five months of little... yet so much. I even re-read Outlander 3 times, most recently for this review. Jamie is the standard by which I measure all others. And thus far in my journey, no one can compare. Even Sarah Donati's Nathanial and Paullina Simons' Alexander don't quite fill the shoes of this great highland hunk. Close...but not quite. What is it about him? Is it his wit, his charm, his sensuality or his raw manliness that draws every reader to him. I believe it's all of this and more.

As in many other series I've read, for me, the first book is the best. It is the place where the journey begins for the characters and the reader. In Outlander, it is the place where Claire finds herself drawn to this young Scotsman, two hundred years in the past. It is the place where she fights against that burning inside her, that brewing passion that she knows will be all-encompassing. It is the place where the truth of her love overtakes her and the force of it plunges her into an emotional abyss, one she can't and won't escape.

Diana Gabaldon is an amazing writer whose talent I truly envy. She has made me fall in love with the beauty of Scotland, the heather in the fields and the mountains in the distance. She has taught me about the clans and their castles and the battle and suffering at Culloden. She has made me believe in a love that is more than physical, more than spiritual, one that transcends time and space. She has made me long for a man that can touch a woman with his eyes, his hands, his lips, but most seductively, with his words. With every turn of the page, I am plunged deeper into Scotland, deeper into battle, and deeper into love with a red-headed warrior named James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.My thanks to Cheryl Malandrinos and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for inviting me to participate in this tour and to Random House for the review copy and giveaway copy. I was not compensated for my opinions.


Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels, described by Salon magazine as “the smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting “Scrooge McDuck” comics.”

The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER (“historical fiction with a Moebius twist”), has continued through six more New York Times-bestselling novels–DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, and AN ECHO IN THE BONE, with nineteen million copies in print worldwide

The series is published in 26 countries and 23 languages, and includes a nonfiction (well, relatively) companion volume, THE OUTLANDISH COMPANION, which provides details on the settings, background, characters, research, and writing of the novels. Gabaldon (it’s pronounced “GAA-bull-dohn”—rhymes with “stone”) has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey (a major minor character from the main series): LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER, LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE, and LORD JOHN AND THE HAND OF DEVILS. Another Lord John book, LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, will probably be published in 2011).

Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled THE EXILE (set within the OUTLANDER universe and featuring the main characters from OUTLANDER), but told from the viewpoint of Jamie Fraser and his godfather, Murtagh. The graphic novel is illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, published by Del-Rey.

Gabaldon is presently working on the third Lord John novel (LORD JOHN AND THE SCOTTISH PRISONER), and the eighth book in the OUTLANDER series. In addition, she is working on a contemporary mystery series, set in Phoenix, and has written Highly Scholarly Introductions (with masses of footnotes) to recent Modern Library editions of Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE and Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE.

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, (plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters, which entitles her to be “Diana Gabaldon, Ph.D., D.H.L.” She supposes this is better than “Diana Gabaldon, Phd.X,”) and spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction. She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney. None of this has anything whatever to do with her novels, but there it is.

She and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three adult children and live mostly in Scottsdale, Arizona.

You can visit Diana online at

Thanks to Random House, I have a copy of Outlander to give away! This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. and the only requirement is that you are a follower of this blog. Please leave a comment at the end of this post, including your name and email address so that I can contact the winner as soon as possible. The winner will be randomly chosen. This giveaway will end on March 16. Good Luck!


  1. Mandy:

    It's always nice to meet another OUTLANDER-addict! <g> I agree with most of what you've said, except that for me, my choice for favorite book in the series is a three-way tie between OUTLANDER, VOYAGER, and THE FIERY CROSS.

    If you’re a fan of the OUTLANDER series, please visit my blog, Outlandish Observations, for the latest news and information about Diana Gabaldon’s books. I try to keep it as up to date as possible.

    And for those of you who haven’t yet read any of Diana Gabaldon’s books, I highly recommend them!


  2. P.S. If you have a comment or a question for Diana, please feel free to post on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana hangs out. I'm Section Leader of the Diana Gabaldon folder on Compuserve. We're always happy to see new people there, and Diana likes to hear from her readers.


  3. Oh, you were so sweet to follow my blog and leave a comment. Thank you so much! I loved this review on outlander. The minute I saw the name James ... I knew you were talking about my mom's fave series.I have been meaning to read this blook.

    Can't wait to see what you review next.

    Russo @

  4. Thanks for the fabulous review, Mandy. I feel like I've been living under a rock. How had I not heard of these books before coordinating Diana's tour? She has such a huge following.

    So glad you asked to be part of her tour. I want to read this book to discover what many of you already know.


  5. I know how you feel Mandy - I can't enough of rereading these books :-)

  6. You had convinced me earlier that I must try this series :) You don't need to enter me in the giveaway, tho, as per your earlier suggestion, I already have the book!

  7. I actually have this book in my TBR but after reading this review you have me more excited to read it, thank you for giving me a chance to win this book.

  8. I have been reading this series since the mid-1990s.When a book came out I would actually buy the hardcover!
    Want to take a sec to thank you for following Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    It is most appreciated!

  9. This has got to be the best series ever written. I originally read Outlander many years ago and would love to read it again.

  10. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the previous Diana Gabaldon books about the tales of Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall this was simply a book I had to read. Up until around page 300 I kept wanting to put it down, hoping to come back and find it as enthralling as I found the previous books. And I did, I found myself smiling at the dry sense of humour Jamie possess. I found tears rolling down my cheeks and at other times found I was holding my breath. The attention to detail and Diana's ability to draw you into the story was wonderful.


Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs All Images from MagicalReality Designs