🎧 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon @Writer_DG #DavinaPorter @RecordedBooks #LoveAudiobooks

Posted January 28, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 8 Comments

🎧 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon @Writer_DG #DavinaPorter @RecordedBooks #LoveAudiobooksOutlander by Diana Gabaldon
Narrator: Davina Porter
Series: Outlander #1
Published by Recorded Books on July 13, 2006
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Length: 32 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.
In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?

There is no better way to say it, but Outlander is EPIC.  Och Aye, it is one of my favorite books/series of all time.  Its sheer size makes reading it a bit of a commitment; however, for lovers of historical fiction and romance, it is worth every minute of the investment.  The recent release of the ninth book in the Outlander series and a serious case of ‘droughtlander’ (the wait time between seasons of the TV show), inspired me to re-start from the beginning.   Outlander by Diana Gabaldon embodies what I love most in a book; romance, history, and a fantastical reality.  It sets up a multi-generational saga which begins at the end of one war and the beginning of another, and follows the intersecting, branching lives of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser.  I want to detail all of the beloved supporting characters, conflict, and gritty details about life in 1700’s Scottish Highlands, but in the interest of time and word count, I’ll be circumspect and focus on the outstanding main characters.

Claire is a heroine worthy of the title.  She’s smart and strong and her pragmatic approach to life resonated with me.  She takes every circumstance in stride; even being flung back in time.  I’d like to imagine that is how I’d respond if it happened to me (who’s to say it won’t?).  Claire provides much of the narrative exposition, putting the motivations and actions of the 18th century players into perspective for the modern reader.  Raised all over the world by an archaeologist uncle, she has a wealth of cultural and historical knowledge.  This is augmented by her practical training as a WW2 nurse.  She is cool in a crisis and thinks strategically.  She doesn’t let the cultural norms of the time hold her back and uses nuanced tactics to achieve her goals.  While she manages to face the physical and environmental challenges of her new surroundings head-on, I found her greatest challenge was internal; understanding love and family, and discovering how to be the truest version of herself.

Jamie is no less deserving of Hero status. “A tall, straight-bodied, and by no means ill-favored young Highlander at close range is breath-taking.”  He’s remarkably enlightened, traveled, and educated for an 18th century Highlander, and seems about able to do anything.  He is fierce and loyal and it is evident in his actions, as well as his words how much he loves Claire, his family, and friends.  This is not to say he is without fault.  He makes some serious mistakes, behaves like a brute, and is notoriously stubborn.  It is interesting to see how the influence of Claire, time, and events shape him; how parts of his personality remain uncompromised no matter the circumstance.  While Claire’s emotional journey takes more time, Jamie’s love for her is almost immediate and unwavering.  He doesn’t hesitate to say what she means to him and is the source of many swoon-worthy quotes. “My heart has been yours since first I saw ye, and you’ve held my soul and body between your two hands here, and kept them safe.”

I held out for a long time on reading Outlander because of how I felt about two details that appeared to be tenets in the story arc; marital infidelity and time travel.  Claire is married to Frank when she is tossed back in time.  I couldn’t imagine a scenario where I’d be OK with her falling for Jamie.  Ms. Gabaldon spins a tale where the black and white of married/not married is suffused in grey and allowed me to get past that moral stumbling block.

As for time travel, I dislike this plot device in any genre of fiction.  I prefer my worlds to operate in a linear function.  I worry about the science behind it, paradoxes, and inconsistencies, but mostly, I just see it as ‘cheating.’   I don’t think it is spoiling the book to say Ms. Gabaldon successfully uses time travel in Outlander to not only set up a compelling historical romance, but to establish element of mystery with series arcing implications.  I felt that Claire’s time travel was simply a piece of super-natural element that can (or does) exist in the real world.

The three hundred and five thousand words of Outlander tell a fascinating, eloquent story of love and sacrifice.  But dinna fash!  Its elegant writing, compelling characters, and amazing landscapes will make you wish the book was even longer!

 

Narration:

If reading a book of this length is holding you back from Outlander, it is the perfect reason to try the audio.  Davina Porter is a master narrator and does justice to every character in the novel.  She seamlessly slips between the British and Scottish accents, and does a phenomenal job with the Gaelic.  I listened for the first time at normal speed, where I wanted to make it last as long as possible.  I listened at 1.25x this last time, and was easily able to follow.

Listen to a clip: HERE

 

About Davina Porter

Davina Porter is known for the sheer beauty of her voice and her always-intelligent renditions of both classic and popular literature. A founding narrator with Recorded Books, Davina has an impressive list of classics in her audiography, including Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary. Few female narrators have the fluid capacity to capture grand historical figures and the more subtle, introspective portraits.

Talking with AudioFile, Davina admires authors who do their homework, like Diana Gabaldon. Davina’s celebrated readings of Gabaldon’s Outlander series have many fans. She won the 2006 Audie Award for Best Female Narrator with A Breath of Snow and Ashes.

At home with the Scottish accents of Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series, Davina gives us Friends, Lovers, Chocolate and The Right Attitude to Rain. She’s also recorded the Stonewycke trilogy and The Treasure of Stonewycke won another Audie Award in the Inspirational Fiction category.

Davina’s success with a range of mysteries is a testament to her perceptive approach to seeking the author’s intent. The Victorian setting of Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries are delightfully presented, including recent titles Bluegate Fields and Highgate Rise. Davina introduced listeners to Cynthia Riggs’s series with The Cemetery Yew and Deadly Nightshade, both set on Martha’s Vineyard.

Davina brings each voice off the page and at the same time maintain a natural sense. She attends to every detail–word, phrase, and emotion come alive with her narrative style.

About Diana Gabaldon

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 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).

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.

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.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
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Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
KC
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Posted January 28, 2022 by KC in Book Review / 8 Comments


8 responses to “🎧 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

  1. Davina Porter IS the voice for this series! I read the first book but then switched to audio and never looked back.

    Funny how I shared the exact same reasons as yours for delaying my start of this book and I felt strongly about it. Amazing how Gabaldon was able to make me forget all about those misgivings.

    Excellent review, KC💜

  2. Anne

    I’ve had an ebook of this for years, I am so over romance at this point I can’t see myself starting it anytime soon despite the series and tv shows’ popularity. Maybe one day I’ll crack and start it.

  3. I LOVE the show. I read the first book and liked it. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of book 2. I liked the part of that season where they were in France, but was a little more bored and can skip quickly through the rest of that tv series season in rewatches. I kind of just want to get to book 3 because I liked that season so much! But I won’t let myself till I finish book 2 because everyone says I have to.

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