It is 1945 and former combat nurse Claire Randall has been reunited with her husband Frank whom she hasn't seen in six years. They decide to rekindle their marriage with a second honeymoon to Scotland. While Frank is busy researching his ancestry, Claire decides to go for a walk and comes upon an ancient stone circle. She places her hand on what appears to be an ordinary stone and is transported backward in time to Scotland in the year 1745.
While trying to escape the skirmish she somehow landed in the middle of, she falls into the hands of one Captain John Randall who as it turns out is her husband Frank's ancestor. Fortunately Claire is rescued from the clutches of the creepy CPT Randall by a Scottish warrior named Murtagh. She is taken to where the rest of his clansmen are gathered and discovered an injured Scot named Jamie among them and treats his injuries. Impressed by her healing skills and unsure if she is a spy for the English the clansmen take her back with them to the seat of the MacKenzie clan. The English demand Claire be handed over for questioning as they also believe she is a spy and the Scots tell her the only way to avoid falling back into the clutches of CPT Randall is to become a Scot herself. Claire reluctantly marries Jamie, the man whose wounds she treated. Claire and Jamie are soon caught up in several adventures: the politics of the clans, Jamie an outlaw on the run from the English, Claire accused of witchcraft. Amid all the action Claire is caught between the desire to return to the stone circle and try to make her way back to Frank or to stay with Jamie, the man she has grown to love in 1745.
I guarantee my little synopsis there did not even remotely do the book justice. I spent the entire weekend ignoring the existence of everyone around me as I sped through this 600+ page monster of a book. Claire is a kick ass woman who doesn't take crap from anyone and Jamie is so loyal, handsome and brave you can't help but fall in love with him. I found myself asking why it is all the good ones are taken or FICTIONAL, or already married to me but in 8 years has never once put the toilet seat down? ;-)
Gabaldon transports you into the time period with her writing in such a way that you can completely tune in to the emotions of her fascinating and dynamic characters (and not just Claire and Jamie either-all of her characters are well developed and interesting). Now as I have stated in previous reviews, I am quite a prude when it comes to the romance aspect of books. I must have spent the whole weekend with my face a lovely shade of crimson because I don't think a chapter went by without Claire and Jamie getting busy in a field or stable or underground spring of some kind. Ok, I get it. I was a newlywed once upon a time but sheesh! After that initial encounter, it felt like Claire was thinking "Frank who?" any time Jamie came within a five mile radius of her. Also CPT Randall is one evil man. I will not give away exactly how much of a sadist he is but one scene toward the end of the book was so brutal and cringe worthy I felt like I needed a shower after reading it. Still, despite these two areas of the book that had me alternately blushing and shuddering, this was a fantastic read. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series (all of which I conveniently already own).