Outlander is one of those books I picked up about a dozen times in various bookstores and then put down without actually buying it. It has a lot of elements I go for–WWII! Britain! Conspicuously well-groomed and progressive men-of-the-past! Time travel!–but for whatever reason, the back of the book never grabbed me. And I heard rumblings that the book had some problems, which I will get to later.
Outlander is the story of Claire Randall, an English woman freshly back from WWII where she served as a nurse in France. She is married to a man named Frank Randall, who is descended from a man who was in the English military in Scotland in the 1740s. Claire ends up travelling through time and getting stuck in 1743, where she is not just out of her time, her very accent (Oxfordshire) places her in danger. She falls in love and has various adventures all while debating a way of getting back to the 1940s. This book is long. Really long. Extended sequence where Claire delivers a foal long.
That scene stands out to me for some reason. It is needlessly, excessively long, and mostly exists to foreshadow another rough delivery later in the book. Both of the births are mostly used to show how amazing Claire is. And while I’m in no way against pumping the tires of a female protagonist, this was already hundreds of pages into the book. If the reader doesn’t get that the protagonist is supposed to be the bee’s knees by then, there are larger issues.