Outlander Read-Along: Week 1

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Welcome to week one of the Outlander Read-Along! If you’re interested in joining, I think sign ups are still open and you can find them here. To find everyone else’s answers and get the new questions for the next section, please visit Shannon and Carrie at Stalking the Bookshelves

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate?

Actually, and this is kind of embarrassing, I remember my mother reading the book back when I was 10 or 11, and she didn’t like it because of the implied adultery. I sort of assumed, being an impressionable youngster, that this was an awful book that promoted doing BAD THINGS, and I should never, ever read it. Of course, then I was fascinated. She had told me a little about the premise and I already really liked the sound of it. Anyway, I never did read it, because I got into other series’ and now here we are :)

2. Claire’s husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one?

There are actually a couple of people on both sides of my family who are, or have been, interested in family trees, so we know back quite a ways. For example, on my dad’s side we can almost trace our line back to the Mayflower (we lose about 3 generations in NYC, but the surname is the same on either end, so it’s a pretty good guess). Another branch of my dad’s family goes back to a Scottish Laird, and even a musician in Queen Victoria’s court! Guess music just runs in my blood! My mom’s side we don’t know quite so far back, but we know a few things – they came through Canada, the majority are from the British Isles somewhere. Pretty sure there’s some Liverpudlian in there lol! As I like to tell my British friends, the reason I fit in so well is because I am British, at least by about 95% of my ancestry. (I like to say the rest came from France and Lancelot du Lac, from last name similarities, but I’m totally making that up!)

3. How did you find Claire’s initial conclusion as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion?

I’m not sure if it’s reasonable or not. I don’t know much about the immediate post-war era in Britain – did they make a lot of historical films? Whether they did or not, the human mind has a way of choosing to rationalize just about anything. Even if it was a stupid first thought, I’d believe it’s the first one she’d have. She’d be desperate for a logical explanation, and at that point, she hadn’t seen much evidence (beyond the clothes anyways) to say that she’d traveled in time.

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she’s traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way?

I think what’s really interesting about Claire is that the author made her an army nurse. Sure, she’s in a situation that’s absolutely awful, and she has no clue how to get out of it. But, she has an incredibly utilitarian view of “Do the job in front of me,” and that seems to go well with the trauma of having worked in those army hospitals. As for me? Well I really don’t know. I tend to do well in stressful situations, but I’ve never been in one quite that stressful!

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?

I don’t have any expectations really based in fact yet. Because I read a lot I can pretty much tell that the author is trying to set them up. The relationship isn’t really strong enough for me to say whether I feel they’d be good as a couple yet though – maybe they’ll just end up as friends! (Yeah, right, cause that’d make a great novel! *rolls eyes sarcastically*)

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about?

Again, going on predictability of literature, the guy in the kilt is totally going to turn out to be Jaimie or somebody from the past time. I mean, hello! Last episode with the tenth Doctor anyone? lol

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21 Responses to “Outlander Read-Along: Week 1”

  1. Lol – your mom’s reaction and your assumption about the book is pretty funny! I remember my mom felt the same way about The Thornbirds…so of course, I had to read it for myself.

    I was also wondering whether the British film industry had a whole lot of filming like that going on then. I mean, in a country so recently devastated by war, was there really a market then for historical films like that? It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the story, but it did give me pause. Hope you like the rest of the book!

  2. Felicia says:

    LOL D.G. is a huge Dr. Who fan so you know it will be something like that!

    I think Claire being an army nurse totally plays into how she deals with every aspect of what happens to her from this point out. She does seem to deal with what she can and kind of put the rest our of her mind. I imagine she was a very good field nurse.

    I think historical movies weren’t big but re-enactments probably were. So I am guessing it was a combo of both :)

    • Anne says:

      She is?! NEW FAVORITE AUTHOR! lol Of course, the episode I’m talking about is only about 2-3 years old so she couldn’t have based it on that, but still :) Kinda cool!

  3. Wish my mom would have handed down reading to me.

    • Anne says:

      No matter where you got it, at least you have a love of reading now, right? Besides, all my mother reads are romances, inspirational books and mysteries, none of which are my main genres, so I’m not entirely sure I *did* get it from her lol!

  4. Come on! “Claire travels back in time, only to find her one true … friend, Jamie.”

    Makes for a great story, no?

    But in all serious, they HAVE to hook up! I mean, it’s fiction! My mom just read these books this year and never mentioned anything about finding the adultery appalling or anything. Though, when you think about it, The Hunger Games is a wildly popular book that has kids killing one another … surely that can’t be healthy! (But I still love it … )

    I agree that the guy in the kilt HAS to be Jamie, coming from another past or something … I don’t know. I just have to keep reading to find out!

    That’s pretty awesome about your family tree … you were able to go back pretty far! I wish I could find out that much information …

    • Anne says:

      Yep, I just came up with the next big thing – forget romance, it’ll all be friendship triangles, and true friends all over the place =P

      I enjoy that I have family interested enough in the family to do the research – I enjoy the stories, but I don’t care enough to go hunting them down myself lol.

  5. Ann says:

    I stumbled on this book at B&N on an endcap. After the first 50 pages, I was hooked and continue to be. DG can’t write those books fast enough for me. Claire being a nurse is what draws Jamie to her. She took care of his dislocated shoulder and then rode w/him to Castle Leoch. Claire is very much a do the work kind of woman. She makes the best of a situation and does want to “get back” to Frank.

  6. Have you told your mom you are reading it now and what your thoughts are?

    I’m kind of jealous of your family tree knowledge :(

    I love it that Claire is a nurse… :)

    Yes, friends, we are all reading a 6xx page book so they can be friends *snort* 😉

    • Anne says:

      Nope, haven’t said a word to Mom. In fact, I’ve gone so far as to “inadvertantly” hide the cover if she happens to walk in while I’m reading it. My mom’s a prude, and she doesn’t want to think I even *know* that kind of stuff…

      Just start asking around, you never know what you’ll find! Of course, it helps that I have extended family members that did a majority of the research for me, but you can always do at least a little bit!

  7. I love that Claire is a nurse because I’m a nurse too and have LOVED reading about all the nursing stuff in the book so far. I didn’t realize her nursing would play such a large part in the story. It may not the entire time, but I’ve loved it thus far. And I agree that it helped her keep her head about her and remain calm.

    Also, I love your answer for the first question!

    • Anne says:

      You know, I know next to nothing about nursing – I had a few friends in it in college, but it is SO not my thing. But I think it’s such an integral part of who Claire is that it doesn’t bother me. Plus it gives an excuse to not have her be a fainting damsel in distress lol.

  8. Yes, Claire is definitely utilitarian in her world view. It makes her a perfect candidate for dealing with this time and the realities of her situation. It’s way better than watching someone react like I would – screaming my fool head off. :)

    • Anne says:

      Yeaaaah, I probably would too. And then we’d end up burned at the stake or something. But hey, that doesn’t make for a good story does it?

  9. Heidi says:

    Ack, it’s Friday already? Sorry it’s taken me so long to get here, but I’m here!

    I think it’s funny that this book had stuck in your mind as it did because of your mom’s reaction to it, I can imagine something similar happening to me! The adultery aspect makes me uncomfortable, but it’s not as strict as it would be without the time travel in play, so I’m keeping an open mind and trying to relax since I enjoy Jamie so much.

    I think it’s fantastic that your family can trace their history so far! And yes, a musician in Queen Victoria’s court is incredibly unique and interesting. =)

    • Anne says:

      Don’t feel bad! Look at me, it’s Monday morning a week later and I’m *still* trying to get to replies lol (some of that is epic internet slowness from last night, but that was still Sunday – SHAME ON ME!)

      I love knowing all those tidbits of my family, but I love even more that someone ELSE did all the work to track them down. I feel like I would get frustrated the first time I hit a wall and just give up.

  10. […] I participated in the Outlander Read-along (week 1) […]

  11. hahah, Yeah, we’re all rooting for them to end up as friends. 😀 lol I’m sad your mom didn’t like the book much, but I’m happy you’re still giving it a chance!!

  12. […] participated in the Outlander Read-along (week 1, week […]

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