Do you want to escape for a while into a really good story? Look no further than the Outlander series. Cross Stitch (Outlander) is the first book in the Outlander series by New York Times best selling author Diana Gabaldon. The first book in the series is now called Outlander, however it was previously published as Cross Stitch in the UK.
Word of warning: stock up the fridge, turn off the phone, you are not going to be able to put the Cross Stitch (Outlander), and possibly the following 7 books down!
The story focuses on 20th Century nurse Claire Randall who time travels to 18th Century Scotland to find romance and adventure with the charismatic Jamie Fraser.
The author creates interesting and quirky characters. Intricate layers to the characters explore different themes including, but not limited too; practice of medicine, family bonds, witch craft, sexual sadism, the unique relationship that exists in every marriage, what it means to be a woman or a man today (refer also to A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman) and in the 18th century.
The Outlander books have a tantalising depth because of the historical detail and character development. In essence I have not felt that this is a pure fantasy story as the author handles this so masterfully. Unfortunately this depth to both the story and characters is not reflected in the TV Series.
In 2014 The Outlander series was adapted to TV. I initially saw the TV series before reading the books. I found the TV adaptation focused on the fantasy time travelling aspect of the story. Generally I am not interested in the whole Fantasy genre, so I didn’t bother watching after the first episode. Many others have enjoyed the TV series, so I expect that it depends on your personal preference. Fortunately a friend mentioned how much she enjoyed the books, otherwise I would of missed out on experiencing the rich tapestry of this historical tale.
I am in awe of first time fiction author Diana Gabaldon. ‘In 1988, Gabaldon decided to write a novel for “practice, just to learn how” and with no intention to show it to anyone'(1). Diana Gabaldon had been working as a university lecturer with degrees in science, zoology and marine biology and a speciality in computational science. Fortunately Diana Gabaldon decided to share her ‘practice’ novel. This is a great story told by a very intelligent woman.
It has been interesting to see the Diana Gabaldon’s writing style develop as she experiments with various dramatic devices in Cross Stitch (Outlander). Furthermore the depth of research, description and attention to every detail of 18th Century life make this series an entertaining lesson in history.
I have found the Outlander series to be highly addictive. Seriously! My house, etc has been badly neglected while I have been immersed in this series. The books are all lengthy tomes that are a true time commitment.
Cross Stitch (Outlander) is recommended to anyone interested in learning about Scotland’s history. If you love a good romance then you will not be able to put this series down. Science fiction lovers will also enjoy the time travelling aspect. Essentially anyone who loves to get lost for a while in a really good story will enjoy Cross Stitch (Outlander).
I give Cross Stitch (Outlander) 5 out of 5 stars. You will not be able to put it down.