Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Narrated by Davina Porter
Series: Outlander #1
Publication: July 14th 2017 by Recorded Books
Format: Audiobook Length: 32 hrs 43 mins
‘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?’ – Audible.co.uk
I finished listening to the Outlander audiobook by Diana Gabaldon recently. The one I have is narrated by Davina Porter who I thought was absolutely excellent. The story itself was gripping, I loved the storyline and how historically rich it was (it’s set in Scotland). For those who have never heard of Outlander before (it’s also a TV series!), it’s a book about Claire Randall, a nurse, from 1945 being thrown back in time to 1743 whilst she’s visiting Scotland with her husband, Frank.
I’m not too sure about historical accuracies as I haven’t looked them up but I was satisfied with everything and didn’t think “hold up, that doesn’t add up.” I was fully immersed in the story. Despite it being a monster length of a novel, I didn’t feel like it took long at all, but I did think a lot of the descriptions could have been cut out as they didn’t add to the novel in any way. I would have also preferred for there to have been less ‘intimate’ scenes because I always wanted to speed past those to get back to the story.
The character development in Outlander was brilliant. I was impressed and rather surprised by how well thought out and multi-dimensional Gabaldon’s characters were. I did initially think that, for someone who has been thrown back in time, Claire was oddly calm, but I put that down to narration and her inability to grasp that everything around her was real. It was like she was in a dream-like state, sort of in denial that the events around her were really taking place. I thought Jamie’s character development was most excellent, his growth and change by the end of the novel was not only believable but it also took the novel from being okay to being great.
There are a lot of thrilling scenes in Outlander and plenty of twists and turns to keep you coming back. It was certainly a page-turner for me (can you even use that phrase for an audiobook??). Gabaldon’s action scenes were intense and attention-grabbing, they were SO rich with detail but I didn’t mind at all in that case because the detail made them better. I’d recommend this book to historical fiction fans.
I can’t stress how much I loved the narration. I kept myself busy with crochet whilst listening to the audiobook and I always looked forward to popping my headphones on to listen to Porter narrate. She was especially good at dialogues, each character had their own style, accent and so on, it was easy to differentiate one from the other based on narration alone. My only issue was that sometimes the quality of the audiobook wavered; I could hear someone in the background coughing and sounds of people murmuring. These distractions were very far away and muffled but for someone paying for the audiobook, it may be irritating as the quality is negatively affected.
As this book does take a character from 1945 to 1743, it’s best to keep in mind that there will be unacceptable behaviour from characters. In terms of triggers, there is rape, domestic abuse and further (brutally) explicit descriptions of torture in this book.