This book was massive and I thought it would take me a long time to get through it, being about 750 pages in a large hardback, but I finished it in about a month. I have a lot of time to read, but also it was exceptional too! I am one of those that saw the show first and then decided I had to read the books, so as I’m reading I can see so clearly what I have already seen in the show. But even if I hadn’t seen it before, I think I would still be able to picture everything crystal clear because of Gabaldon’s attention to detail. She makes sure to hit every sense in her writing as she describes the Scottish Highlands and the streets of Paris.
As much as love the Scottish Highlands and all that went on there during the first book, I was glad there was a change of scenery that also coincided with the story of stopping the Bonnie Prince Charles from coming to Scotland and heading the terrible battle of Culloden. Paris was such a huge contrast to the wilderness of Scotland. The description of the ornate architecture and furnishings, the lavish dresses and suits, the balls and gatherings, Louis XV, all of it was so wonderful to take in. I loved that though Claire was pushed into Paris’s high society, she still wanted to feel useful and help people, finding the filthy hospitals run by nuns of the Catholic church. I also love the little hints of fantasy that Gabaldon hides in each of her novels. There was the Loch Ness monster (I believe that made an appearance in the first novel and not this one. They sometimes seem to blend together because I read one right after the other). In this novel there was the dark side of Paris with its supernatural beliefs and magic.
I can never speak highly enough about Gabaldon’s extensive research I can tell goes into the writing of each of her Outlander novels. I am a writer myself and am just now diving into the research of my first historical fiction novel. She is a great inspiration to me as a writer and I aspire to become a master of historical research as she has.
As much as I loved this book, I do have to say that the first was still my favorite of the two so far. The majority of this book was a page turner, but once the couple returned to Scotland in the last third and they marched with troops and talked politics endlessly, it did get a little boring for me. It’s not that I don’t love the history, it just seemed slow moving at that part. But once the day of Culloden came I finished the rest of the book all in one day because it was so good!
I give this book 5 stars, as I did the first book (even though I liked that one slightly better). And I recommend the series to anyone who loves great scenery, love, history, action, and has plenty of time to commit to it.