Sunday, June 15, 2014


In my teen years, the bulk of my pleasure reading was romance novels, but with the notable exception of Jane Austen, I abandoned those after discovering the joys of literary fiction in college. If I had an inkling that Outlander was a bodice ripper, I doubt I would have checked it out. It only came to my attention because I have tickets to see the author at her upcoming and sold-out appearance in my town next month, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Part fantasy (the main character travels through time), part historical fiction, the novel is somewhat atypical of the romance genre, and the writing is better than most. However, it did strain my credulity at times even though I understand the convention in these stories is for the hero to always be rushing to the damsel's rescue at the last possible moment. The numerous narrow escapes from danger might be excessive even in a Hollywood action movie.

I have many nits to pick with this book, but perhaps I would be wise to judge it by its peers and note that the works of Hilary Mantel are not among those peers. This is light, albeit lengthy, entertainment. It is a diversion, if one is not too appalled by the prolific sex and violence, all of which receives absolution from a priest before the story ends. Despite the annoyances, I've already put the sequel on my holds list at the library. It's summer, after all.

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