Book Discussion – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’m excited to introduce a new series of posts that will appear on my blog…book discussions! I’ll feature books that I’m dying to talk about with other readers and write up a bit of background info and questions/answers that came to me while I was reading. Head on over to the Book Discussion page for all of my selections. This week I’ll post three books to get the ball rolling, starting below with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I hope you’ll join in on the discussion!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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About the Author – Diana Gabaldon is an American author who started her career as a university professor of science before trying her hand at writing. Outlander was the first book she ever wrote and it became a NY Times bestseller. She has since written seven additional novels for the Outlander series and is working on an eighth. In addition, she has taken on the role of co-producer and advisor for the Starz TV show based on her books. The show is about to start its second season, based on the second book in the series, A Dragonfly in Amber. Believe it or not, there is also a musical adaptation of Outlander (weird, I know).

About the Book – A young wife and her husband are taking a second honeymoon in Scotland after they were finally reunited at the end of World War II. Her husband, a history professor, takes pride in his knowledge of the Scottish highlands and the clans that ruled the land in the 1700’s. He’s eager to share his passion with his wife. Little does she know that much of this historical information will become useful after an encounter with a supernatural rock formation just outside of town. When she comes to her senses, she finds she is stuck in the world of 1740’s Scotland. She is taken in by one of the clans and forced to acclimate to the lifestyle while trying to find a way back to her time and her husband.

Spoilers Ahead!!

Let’s Discuss:

1.What aspects of life in the 1740’s would you most enjoy or dislike?

  • I’ve always found it incredibly appealing to live in a distant time period, particularly around the 17th or 18th century, but I can’t say I’d prefer it to our current life of luxury. I can guarantee I’d complain about not having hot showers, being forced to wear tight dresses, and dealing with primitive attitudes toward women. If I were to live back then though, I’m sure I’d prefer the simpler life of a country farmer / small manor owner over the glitz, glamor, backstabbing, and politics of the royal courts.

2.Do you think Claire is betraying her husband by marrying Jamie and falling in love with him? How did you react to this plot development?

  • I never felt a strong attachment to Frank, so it wasn’t hard for me to root for Jamie from almost the moment Claire met him. Her connection with him seems genuine and deep, but it would be incredibly conflicting to know you love two men in different ways. I’ll admit I was thrilled when Jamie gave her the option of returning to 1945 and she chose a life with him instead.

3.Did you pick up on the fact that Geillis had also traveled through the stones and was originally from a different time period? What clues gave it away?

  • I had literally no idea until Claire noticed the mark on her arm…that revelation blew me away haha. It does seem a bit obvious in hindsight though, based on her knowledge of healing/medicine and her conversations with Claire. For those who have seen the TV series, I thought the producers tried to make it much more obvious that Geillis was a fellow stone traveler (is there a different/better word for these women??)

4.What obligation does Claire have to warn the clansmen about the result of the upcoming Jacobite rebellion? Is history set in stone or can the outcome be changed?

  • This question pops up toward the end of the book, so I’m curious how it will be answered as the series progresses. It seems obvious that she should try to convince the people she has grown to care about to give up their rebellious ideas. However, it also seems impossible that history can be changed so easily. Ironically, I’m watching the miniseries 11/22/63 based on Stephen King’s novel about a man who travels back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination. The main character finds that time is a villain itself and does not want to be changed. I can’t help but make connections to Outlander and guess that no matter what Jamie and Claire do, they won’t be able to change the end result of the Jacobite revolution.

Answer the questions or add your own thoughts about Outlander in the comments!


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