Historical Fiction with Time Travel - The Outlander Series
Diana Gabaldon THE OUTLANDERS SERIES
My favorite genre is historical fiction, which must have a well-researched basis in order for the history and the characters to come to life on the page. Diana Gabaldon has done just that. She has done extensive research on Scotland, North Carolina, Barbadoes, and Paris during the 1740's through current day. She has woven her characters into a real history without destroying the historical significance of each place and time.
Time travel in historical fiction... I know, maybe I should have said my favorite genre is fantasy or science fiction. The way Gabaldon weaves time travel into the saga she makes it seem so natural. No, it is mainly historical fiction with elements of fantasy, sci-fy, mystery, suspense, and romance.
The Outlander Series
Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander Series
Diana Gabaldon started writing THE OUTLANDER series more than 20 years ago. I will call it historical fiction, but it encompasses so much more: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, military history, Scottish history, Revolutionary War history... The list goes on because she weaves her story through the history of two worlds.
It begins after WWII. Claire Beauchamp Randall and her husband Frank Randall are taking a second honeymoon in Invernes, Scotland, after being separated for six years because of WWII. Claire was a nurse in the army and Frank served in the army during WWII. They go to Scotland to rekindle their young marriage.
Frank is a historian and is extremely interested in researching his sixth great grandfather, Jack Randall, a decorated, heroic British soldier. He talks about his historical ancestor with great admiration, but Claire pays little attention. She is more interested in collecting flowers and herbs.
One day, Claire goes to a stone circle, which are common all over Great Britain. She is not interested in the superstitions surrounding the stones, just a pretty flower that might have medicinal powers. She has a very scientific, logical way of thinking about things.
The Plot Thickens
Frank is off doing genealogical research while Claire is exploring the stones for the flower she wants to add to her collection. Imagine her surprise when she walks between the stones in 1946 and lands in the same spot in 1743. As she gathers her thoughts, the first person she runs into is Jack Randall who looks exactly like Frank with long hair. She wonders if Frank has signed up for some sort of re-enactment for the Scottish battle at Culloden.
She soon finds out that "Black Jack" Randall is a cruel man who would rather kill her than look at her. Realizing she is not dealing with Frank, she escapes her husband's "heroic" ancestor who turns out to be a misogynistic, perverted, bisexual sadist. During her escape, she is found by a group of Highlanders who are also trying to hide from Randall and his troupes. She runs right into Jamie Fraser's arms. Sounds romantic, huh? It is anything but.
She spends much time trying to escape from Jamie, who is trying to protect her from Jack Randall. All Claire wants to do is to get back to Frank. But the Scottish Clansmen don't trust this woman with a refined British accent. She is required to marry one of the clansmen in order to keep her from being turned over to the horrible "Black Jack" Randall for questioning.
The clansman is Jamie Fraser.
The Latest in The Outlander Series
Gabaldon created a story that weaves through history.
I could not put the book down, nor any that were in the series. With great accuracy, we see Claire and Jamie going through Scottish, French, and American history.
We see Claire walk through the Stones from the end of WWII to 18th Century Scotland where the Clans have to decide whether they are going to fight to place Bonny Prince Charles on the British Throne. Saying more would be saying too much.
I hate to reveal too much because the novels are page turners.
But know that you will not only be entertained, but you will learn a great deal about the history of the 18th and 20th Centuries.
Gabaldon's research is impeccable.
Her imagination with her story is genius, which is why this series cannot be placed into one genre, which I love.
Men and women alike love these books.
Gabaldon definitely knew how to create an audience with her first novel and proceeding novels in the series.
Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read If You Want to Be Surprised
Of course, the Outlander Series is compiled of seven, and recently to be eight, books.
During the Battle of Culloden, Jamie fears for Claire's life and sends her back through the stones - an extremely dramatic scene.
Claire is carrying their child and does not want to leave him. They had hoped with her knowledge of Culloden that they could prevent it, but they could not.
None of her knowledge seems to be able to prevent any of the atrocities, either historical or personal, but Gabaldon has a few tricks up her sleeve.
Later in the series, we see Claire in the 1960's as a doctor in Boston. She and Frank stayed married, but it was rough.
She ends up taking her daughter, Brianna, to Scotland. A new generation becomes involved in the story. The twists and turns are magnificent.
At the time I wrote this article, I was anxiously awaiting the next, possibly the last book in the series, WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, due out in fall of 2013. I am thrilled to say it will not be the last book in the series.
Gabaldon has also written many short stories and novellas that are like the "behind the scenes" of the series.
She has also written another great series: THE LORD JOHN Series, which is a branch off of the OUTLANDER SERIES.
The Movie and Novel that Peaked My Interest in Historical Fiction with Time Travel
Movie Cult Classic: Somewhere in Time
As a teenager, I saw the first previews for SOMEWHERE IN TIME starring Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour. I was enchanted and had to see it. I am glad I did. It was only in theaters for 1, maybe 2, weeks. It was a box office bomb. I loved it! Later, it came out on VHS, and I had to have it. Its video sales soared. (It was about time that it was recognized for its quality story line).
The movie is based off of Richard Matheson's BID TIME RETURN. Because the setting in the book, the Coronado Hotel in San Diego, had so many problems as far as the technical side of creating the film, it was moved to Michigan's Grand Hotel. The movie follows the novel closely, but of course, the novel is much richer in plot and description.
Anyway, every since then, I have been overwhelmingly interested in traveling back in time. I also love the Michael J. Fox BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY. Can you imagine going back in time and meeting your parents and ancestors or going into the future to see yourself and your children? These movies capture it all and are extremely entertaining.
THE OUTLANDER Series, BID TIME RETURN, SOMEWHERE IN TIME, and BACK TO THE FUTURE Trilogy all receive 5 stars.
Somewhere In Time
The Somewhere In Time Soundtrack is outstanding. Once you have seen the movie, you will want this beautiful soundtrack with the music that will carry you back to the turn of the 20th Century.