The Romance Novel Challenge was designed to broaden my own reading horizions while teasing some of you who have never read a romance novel (or an inspirational romance novel) into giving one a try. I promised to share my impressions of the books I am "forced" to read, so here is the second of my book reports:
Katrina Stonoff promised to read an inspirational romance novel if I would read one of her favorites, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I can't say I've never read a Scottish romance, as Blackwell's Lorna Doone has long been a favorite of mine, but we were talking about novels by contemporary authors, so Katrina assigned me Outlander. She pointed out that in addition to being a Scottish romance, Outlander is a time-travel story. That's yet another romance subgenre I've never read, so I blazed two trails by reading Outlander.
Which seems only fair because that sucker was as long as two books.
Yes, Katrina, I liked it. Quite a lot, actually. Except I didn't buy any of the time-travel hooey. Too many things were left unexplained and went unquestioned by Claire and her Scots husband. Those aspects of the story were just plain awkward for me. I believed in H. G. Wells's time machine, but Diana Gabaldon just couldn't sell me that whole "screaming rock" scenario. For one thing, when Claire is thrust 200 years into the past, she seems to adapt rather quickly and awfully well to the language, conventions, and living conditions. And what was up with that "ghostly" appearance of Jamie outside of Claire's room in the beginning of the novel? Also, did you notice that Claire didn't stop for more than a moment to wonder if, by helping to bring about the death of her husband's ancestor, she had just made poor old Frank (whom she supposedly loved dearly and who was stuck back in 1945 while Claire was falling in love with her dashing Scotsman) cease to exist?
Well, skip all that. The truth is, Katrina, I had a ripping good time. Loved the characters. And just when I was beginning to think Jamie seemed a bit too sensitive for a hard-living Scot in the year 1743, he beat his wife for disobedience and yanked me right back into the story.
I'll confess to having fast-forwarded past some of the sex scenes and the graphic violence, but that isn't going to stop me from recommending the book. I don't know how soon I'll pick up another Diana Gabaldon novel, Katrina, but thanks for making me read this one. I'm going to call it a forgettable time-travel romance and a memorable Scottish historical.
Which seems only fair because that sucker is as long as two books.
Next up is Stephen King's Misery. After that, Joseph Nassise's Riverwatch. My first book report, on Stephen King's Bag of Bones, is here.
Would anyone else like to challenge me?