Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
1 star.

Warning:the book and the review contains possible triggers.

These last few months, I've been avoiding books labeled as dark or violent because I find what's happening in the world today, horrific enough so, for the sake of sanity, I chose not to expose myself to even more violence while reading.

In this case, the hype surrounding the new TV show got me, and curiosity won over good sense. Before reading Outlander, I should've broken another rule and read reviews with spoilers, like I did with the Summer Garden by Paulina Simmons, another popular book that I did not finish because of similar content.

I had issues with this story since the beginning: while the premise is intriguing, I found the first chapters to be tedious and I didn't particularly enjoy the writing or the humor but, I only decided to DNF the book after reading these two scenes:

“Oh, you won’t?” He raised sandy brows. “Well, I’ll tell ye, lass, I doubt you’ve much to say about it. You’re my wife, like it or not. Did I want to break your arm, or feed ye naught but bread and water, or lock ye in a closet for days—and don’t think ye don’t tempt me, either—I could do that, let alone warm your bum for you.”
“I’ll scream!”
“Likely. If not before, certainly during. I expect they’ll hear ye at the next farm; you’ve got good lungs.” He grinned odiously and came across the bed after me.
He pried my fingers loose with some difficulty, and pulled firmly, hauling me to the side of the bed. I kicked him in the shins, but did no damage, not having shoes on. Grunting slightly, he managed to turn me facedown on the bed, twisting my arm to hold me there.
“I mean to do it, Claire! Now, if you’ll cooperate wi’ me, we’ll call the account square with a dozen strokes.”
“And if not?” I quavered. He picked up the strap and slapped it against his leg with a nasty thwapping sound.
“Then I shall put a knee in your back and beat you ’til my arm tires, and I warn ye, you’ll tire of it long before I do.”
I bounced off the bed and whirled to face him, fists clenched.
“You barbarian! You … you sadist!” I hissed furiously. “You’re doing this for your own pleasure! I’ll never forgive you for this!” Jamie paused, twisting the belt.
He replied levelly, “I dinna know what’s a sadist. And if I forgive you for this afternoon, I reckon you’ll forgive me, too, as soon as ye can sit down again.”
“As for my pleasure …” His lip twitched. “I said I would have to punish you. I did not say I wasna going to enjoy it.” He crooked a finger at me.
“Come here.”


“No!” I gasped. “Stop, please, you’re hurting me!” Beads of sweat ran down his face and dropped on the pillow and on my breasts. Our flesh met now with the smack of a blow that was fast crossing the edge into pain. My thighs were bruising with the repeated impact, and my wrists felt as though they would break, but his grip was inexorable.
“Aye, beg me for mercy, Sassenach. Ye shallna have it, though; not yet.” His breath came hot and fast, but he showed no signs of tiring. My entire body convulsed, legs rising to wrap around him, seeking to contain the sensation.
I could feel the jolt of each stroke deep in my belly, and cringed from it, even as my hips rose traitorously to welcome it. He felt my response, and redoubled his assault, pressing now on my shoulders to keep me pinned under him.


"How romantic!"
said no one ever.

For some romance readers, cheating/adultery or love triangles are "deal-breakers", mine are violence against woman and rape. I've read books with violent scenes, my problem is when the author romanticizes its perpetrators and their actions.

I DNFed the Summer Garden because of a scene of domestic abuse and I'm not finishing Outlander because of both violence and rape. It's impossible for me to find this male MC desirable or redeemable after those violent actions towards the protagonist.

Call me naive but, it would be romantic if, instead of beating, humiliating and raping his wife, this "hero" defied social norms, showing a different kind of behavior towards his wife, I don't find this kind of male protagonist attractive, for me, Jamie Fraser is more like a nightmare in a kilt.

I don't care if this was considered normal behavior for men in the 18th century because IMO, violence is not a romantic behavior in any era so, when I'm reading a romance novel, it is revolting to see domestic and sexual violence being identified as an expression of love.

This is historical fiction but it is also a romance and regardless of the setting or historical context, in romance novels, I find the use of this kind of plot devices, abhorrent.