Shearles

Outlander/Cross Stitch

11 posts in this topic

In America the first book in this series (still going strong after twenty years of ~700 page novels) is known as Outlander, in the UK/Australia/New Zealand the first book is called Cross Stitch. After that as far as I know the sequels all have the same name. The author has spoken at length of how many different ways these books can be categorised (romance, history science fiction etc) but I would say best to describe them as historical fiction with a pinch of salt.

 

Claire is the main character and she is an English nurse who has just served in WWII when the novel begins with her having a second honeymoon in the highlands. Her husband Frank also served (intelligence). I am not a sci fi reader, not at all, so bear with me here for the next bit. Claire stumbles throw a cleft in the standing stones and finds herself transported about 200 years back in time. As any novel of this length requires, there is a romantic 'complication' (in so far as Claire is already married, 200 years in the future) in the form of Jamie Fraser. Claire attempts to return to Frank and even as she does she is falling in love with Jamie.

 

The story follows Claire's tumultuous life in the Scottish highlands of the 1700s. It's hard to describe the books without destroying the plot, but I'd love to discuss these books if anyone has read them, or provide more information to people who are considering them. I feel that the 'time travel' factor is sort of misleading of what these books are about. When the author began, she has stated that she was just writing for herself for practice, so it did not matter at the time that she has a woman in the 1700s speaking as a 20th century woman. Obviously later when she decided to publish, she needed to explain the character more. And so the time travel factor was a necessity of sorts. Yes, it is used a bit in contrasts between Claire's two lives, but it not a major aspect of the novels, and they are not travelling through time on a regular basis ;)

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I've moved this thread. Whether the book is science fiction or historical/romance; it is not pre-1900 fiction which is for general fiction written before 1900. It's a bit confusing if you are new to the site.

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I've never read Diana Gabaldon, but I have a German friend who's a big fan.

 

I think, from what she's told me, that it sits more naturally in historical and romance than in sci-fi: would you agree, Shearles?

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I think I would yes. The books appear to be popular in Germany, the author and translator has a personal friendship so the books are translated as the author writes them, rather than waiting until they are completed.

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I've read the first two of this series and still can't decide whether I like them or not.  The basic premise appealed and I'm always in the market for a saga so I tried them on a recommendation from a friend.  I'm finding it hard to put my finger on the problem that I have, a lot of it is to do with the length of each book and the padding therein.  The plots and characters are good, you'd just like them to get on with it a bit more quickly sometimes.  Not high art, but not pretending to be.

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I find that once people have read them the first time, if you are a person who re-reads books, you read them when things are either particularly or especially bad in your own life. They are perfect for that because they are so long. They also have some passages which I find very hard to read (you'd have read about Jamie in prison) and some moments of comedic brilliance. But to be honest if you're not convinced about them after the first couple I'm not sure that you will find the later ones more to your liking, although there is more variation as they are not solely told from Claire's point of view anymore. I actually found that a bit hard as she had been our 'eyes' for so long, but now that I am used to it, I do quite enjoy it.

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Do you mean the first in the series CrossStitch? Outlander is the TV series...

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I watched the first few episodes of that on Amazon (Outlander).  It was quite good, but I find I am less and less willing to commit to a 23/4episode season so I stopped watching it.

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I love the Outlander TV series and have got my parents hooked on it too. It is a ridiculous plot line but good lord, it drags you along with it.

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