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From the Archives: Books 32 and 33: "Outlander" and "Dragonfly in Amber" by Diana Gabalon

Books 32 and 33: "Outlander" and "Dragonfly in Amber" by Diana Gabaldon
Verdict: Definitely Read, especially if you're female.

I first learned of "Outlander" while working at Borders Books and Music. My coworkers strongly suggested I read it. Not wanting to get bogged down with such an extensive read, I started recommending the book to customers, but did not read it until after leaving Borders. At my mother's insistence, one of the many I recommended the book to, I finally have read this book. I'm so glad that I did. This book has everything the heart desires: romance, adventure, folklore/history, magic, and, of course, a handsome Scottsman.
I have, so far, read the first two of Gabaldon's ongoing series.
"Outlander" is book one. The story is set just after WWII. You meet Claire, who is vacationing in the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank, hoping to rekindle and enjoy each other's company after years of separation during the war. Frank is working on discovering the history of his family. Claire is studying the local plant-life. One day, while exploring the plant life in a stone circle, much like Stonehenge, she falls through a hole in time, landing in 1700s' Scotland. The first person she encounters is Frank's ancestor, who looks like Frank, but promptly tries to rape her. She is saved by bandits who kidnap her and take her to the Scottish king of the area. As she wonders whether she will ever get home, she puts her knowledge of herbs and plants, along with her nurse training from the war to use and becomes the medic for the county. With the bandits you meet Jamie, who is every girl and woman's dreamboat. Handsome, gentle, caring, but still able to be forceful and a warrior; Jamie is a man who values marriage and the monogomous lifestyle. I assume you realize that he and Claire end up in love. So starts Claire's adventures and conflicts in 1700s Scotland. Truly, this book is hard to put down, so make sure that you have everything you need to do done before you start it. 

Book two, "Dragonfly in Amber" is less enthralling, but still good. It's a slow starter, so give it a chance; but it eventually manages to suck the reader in as much as "Outlander". My only complaint is the overuse of the simile "like a dragonfly in Amber" to represent the capture of a moment in time. It is one phrase that Gabaldon should use sparingly; but doesn't.
So, overall, if you're a female and you have yet to read this

**Present day note**
I have now only read the first 3 of this series before I gave up. Not that they end up being bad; I'm told they continue to be very good, for the most part. It is simply an immense undertaking. While I may read the whole series one day... I feel it more likely I will simply re-read the first book.


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