*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Outlander, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Please do not freak out when I tell you that I just learned about Outlander and Diana Gabaldon this past year. That’s right, I’m extremely late to this game. As in, almost 30 years late. Can anyone believe 1991 was almost 30 years ago??
And, no, I didn’t even discover it because of the fantastic Starz series. I just stumbled clumsily upon it one day. Speaking of the Starz series, who’s been watching it since Netflix picked it up? Happy dance.
Do not discount this book as “just a romance.” It’s not. There’s time-travel, war, family feuds, lots of history and…What I’m saying is, if your book club hasn’t read it, go out and read it.
Yes, it’s 800+ pages, but you won’t notice. Also, the audio book is FABULOUS. And, when you’re done, come back here for book club questions and a recipe to indulge in while your meeting runs well over it’s time limit because there’s SO much to discuss!
But before we dig in, did you know that since Outlander’s publication, an entire genre of books has emerged? It’s called Scottish Time Travel Romance. If you love the premise of Outlander and want to read more in the genre, check out the books here! For Outlander food ideas and more for your book club, keep reading!
Here’s a brief summary of Outlander:
With WWII behind them, Claire Randall and her husband Frank, take a second honeymoon in the Scotland to reconnect. While Frank digs into his genealogy, Claire visits the ancient stone circles of the Highlands and, by accident or something more, finds herself transported to 1743 and a Scotland torn by war and uprising. Her path soon becomes entangled with the Clan Mackenzie and the young warrior, Jamie Fraser, who threatens to test her resolve and fidelity. When a passion between them ignites a love Claire cannot deny, she becomes a woman torn between two different lives and two different men.
For the Outlander recipe:
For an 800-page book, Outlander has very little eating in it. But, don’t worry! If you’re looking for food ideas for Outlander, I’ve got a great recipe for you. I decided to make oatcakes, which are served at Lallybroch when Jamie and Claire return to his home.
The name itself made me curious and I researched to find these lovely things that lie somewhere between a cookie and a biscuit. Meaning, you’ll eat twenty of them if you don’t watch yourself. The recipe below only makes 8 oatcakes, so double or triple it if you have a large group. Don’t forget to buy some tasty jam or soft cheese for the top!
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup salted butter
- ½ cup water
- Stir flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking powder together in a large bowl.
- Cut butter into small pieces and use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix the butter into the dry mixture.
- Next, add in water until the mixture is wet enough to form a ball.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. (This dough is very sticky and refrigeration helps to make it more manageable.)
- On a floured surface roll the dough to 1/4” thickness (flour on the rolling pin helps as well).
- Cut into circles using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass.
- Bake on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Serve warm (if possible) with your favorite preserves or soft cheese.
Outlander Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
1) What did you think about the author’s choice to make the villain an ancestor of Frank who also looks remarkable like him? Did it make you sympathize more with Jamie or did you feel uncomfortable with the choice? How do you think this affected your desire for Claire to stay in the past versus returning to her 1945 life?
2) Claire’s interest and knowledge in herbal and ancient medicine comes into play quite often in the book, what were some of the remedies you thought were interesting that she used? Have you used any of the remedies yourself?
3) At the end of the book, the monk basically absolves Claire by saying that both marriages were consecrated by the church, therefore both are valid, and since her marriage to Jamie predates her marriage to Frank, she has no guilt staying. He also points out that no one can serve two masters and her heart belongs to Jamie. What did you think about this scene? Did you feel, even if you were for Jamie and Claire, that Claire should have gone back to Frank?
4) Were there any readers in the group who were team Frank? Who was for team Jamie? Why? What were the reasons you rooted for either man?
5) This novel centers around the romance between Claire and Jamie. How did you feel about the romantic scenes in the novel? Were they too violent at parts? Did you feel that they were empowering or degrading for women? Were there too many love scenes for you or just enough?
6) During the witch trial, a very pregnant Geillis self-sacrifices so that Claire can escape. How did you feel about this given that Geilie was a somewhat dark character but in the end a true friend to Claire? Also, what were your thoughts when her polio vaccine scar was revealed? Do you think we will see her in future books?
7) Claire eventually rescues Jaime from the hand of Randall, but it’s too late. The damage has been done. Also, Claire ends up killing a young boy in their escape. Both Claire and Jamie are pushed beyond their normal character after these events and struggle to deal with the effects. Has anything pushed you to a breaking point that you could not return from?
8) After the witch trial, Claire confesses to Jamie that she is from another time period. Jamie accepts this news quite rationally. In fact, he goes as far as taking her to the stone circle to return to 1945. In the end, Claire decides to stay with Jaime. Why do you think Jamie took Claire to the circle? Why do you think Claire decided to stay with Jamie and throw away her (possibly) one chance to return?
9) Claire’s sarcasm and strong head often get her into trouble. Was there a point where you wanted her to go against her character for once? How do you think these characteristics end up turning her into the heroine who saves Jamie’s life in the end? Could she have saved him without the same spirit?
10) This is a long book with many scenes and characters. What was your favorite scene? What was your least favorite? Who was your favorite character? Who was your least favorite?
When did you read Outlander? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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