TV Netflix Series Outlander vs #Audiobook by Diana Gabaldon (Author) and Davina Porter (Narrator) – Time Travel Romances

“This romantic odyssey earned three Golden Globe nods and won “Most Bingeworthy Show” at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards.”

TV Netflix Series Outlander vs Audiobook

Once again, trust the CE to find a series we carefully parceled out (depending on the last episode watched) to make this series last longer and still burned through it quickly. I never was really able to see the sparks between Jamie and Claire (always viewing her as so much more mature than he), but the stories were riveting and kept us glued. Those who have followed me for some time know I’m not a big fan of romance—but these stories—getting past the romance part—put you back in time, the beauty and barbarism, the daily struggle of life. And I do so enjoy that historical aspect. 

Netflix Series

Currently, there are five seasons (67 episodes) on Netflix. Season six possibly May of 2022 and strong hope of a seventh season—some time. It was developed by Ronald D Moore.

It’s a historical drama, so you know it got my attention. Basically, a married WWII nurse is transported back to 1743 during the Jacobite rising. There she meets Jamie Fraser, a Highland warrior. But Jamie is just the start of a roster of stellar characters, manly men in kilts. They set the scene of the people, the time, the country, and their fierce loyalty to the clan they belong. First the clan—then the country—and they have a common enemy, the English.

There are eight books in the Outlander series with Outlander: Book 1, kicking it off. Many of the seasons storylines can be traced directly back to the original books:

  1. Outlander
  2. Dragonfly in Amber
  3. Voyager
  4. The Drums of Autumn
  5. The Fiery Cross
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  7. An Echo in the Bone\Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

The Making of Outlander

I listened to Audiobook 1 in its entirety and then couldn’t find either Book 2 or 3 and started Audiobook 4, The Drums of Autumn. Within Season 1 are sixteen episodes.

The male lead, Sam Roland Heughan was born April 30, 1980 in Balmaclellan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. He’s 6’2” and owns that Highlander part right now to his tricorn. He is a co-founder of My Peak Challenge, a charitable community-based organization.

The female lead, Caitriona Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in County Monaghan. She worked as a model (she is 5’9”) and was studying drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology hoping to become an actress when she was scouted.

 

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved the swoon-worthy Jamie and still not sure Claire “fits” him, although looking at Hepburn and Bogie you’d not think they’d fit any better. I feel she’s a little light on chemistry, but, hey, that’s just me. Otherwise, these storylines move so fast, appear so authentic you’d swear you took that stone journey right along with Claire, a delightful fantasy in itself. I appreciate the inclusion of the Scottish Gaelic, the speech patterns, from sassenach to bhalaich and glimpses of the countryside. It’s a series that bombards the senses with sight and sound and teleports the imagination. Escapism when we truly needed it. 5 stars

Audiobook

This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.

In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?

My Thoughts

Oh, ouch! Here I go again! Watched a G-rated Netflix series thinking I’d get the same rating from the audiobook. Nope. Reminds me a great deal of the experience I had with another well received and popular Netflix series only to find out that the author wrote a sexually laden series—not the toned down small town fiction series we got on the home screen.

While much of the action-adventure, spirit of the eighteenth century works a strong background, the romance between the two main characters take front and center stage, sometimes getting more graphic than I’m comfortable with. Claire, not a nurse but a practiced surgeon, falls for a warring Highlander with little romantic experience. She becomes the teacher.

Otherwise, it would appear most of the support characters echo those presented in the TV version with various degrees of debauchery. Claire becomes a strong presence among the men, owing to her medical prowess, while still clinging to the secret of having been plunked into their midst from another time. Wincing narrative scenes are easier to read (or listen to) than broadcast in full sight to a general audience? Torn between 3 ½ and 4 stars, perhaps I’ll settle at 3 ¾ stars.

Overall Impression

Hazzah to those who created and went with a romantic time-travel adventure! More about the people, the time, the culture than the two love interests. I loved the costumes, the authentic touches of the Netflix series and the plot that continually builds into another period journey and I didn’t have to hide my eyes or block my ears once. This is one VERY long series and in either printed or audiobook form may constitute an epoch undertaking. I found my own quota after completing Book 1 and sampling Book 4. Probably no different for those who follow long running series well into the double digits. Some never get old and some just wear you out. I’ll happily watch another season on Netflix, but think I’ll move on to other audiobooks now.

Book Details

Outlander: Book 1

Genre: Time Travel Romances, Scottish Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B000GW8NVA
Listening Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
Narrator: Davina Porter
Audible Release: July 13, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Outlander: Book 1 [Amazon]

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Diana Gabaldon - author
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Author: Diana Gabaldon is the internationally bestselling author of many historical novels including Cross Stitch, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow Ashes. She lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a New York Time bestselling author.

Find her at https://www.dianagabaldon.com/

Davina Porter-narrator
Photo by Jo Anna Perrin

The Narrator: Golden Voice narrator Davina Porter has performed not only the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, but also other fantasy classics including many of Marion Zimmer Bradley Avalon audiobooks, and Erika Johansen’s widely praised THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING.  Davina’s audiobook work includes titles ranging from classics to mystery to philosophy, with an enduring thread of splendid fantasy audiobooks.

“I was born and raised in England, my father was English, a true “Londoner” (read Cockney!), and my mother was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. Two accents under my belt! I am married to a Glasgow-born Scot, more diversity. Being a product of my background, I am very familiar with the English and Scottish way of life, and all its foibles!”

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Castilians: A story of the siege of St Andrews Castle by VEH Masters -#BookReview – Historical Scottish Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

1546, and Scotland is bludgeoned by Henry VIII, determined to marry his son to the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. A few among the Scottish nobles, for both political and religious reasons, are eager for this alliance too. They kill Cardinal Beaton, who is Mary’s great protector, and take St Andrews Castle, expecting rescue any day from England.

The Castilians by VEH MastersFor a sister and brother, spirited Bethia and rebellious Will, living in St Andrews and caught up on opposite sides, the siege becomes a fight for survival. As the long blockade unravels, it also becomes a test of their loyalties and what’s more important: to save their family, stay true to their beliefs, or to save themselves.

This debut novel closely follows the tumultuous events of the siege of St Andrews Castle, and its dramatic re-taking

‘A clever blend of fact and fiction, with engaging characters, gripping action, tension and drama galore, and a dash of romance. For lovers of Scotland and Scottish history this is a great read.’ Margaret Skea: winner of the Beryl Bainbridge Award.

‘The setting, the history and the characters all come together in a perfect blend. I highly recommend this intriguing novel.’ Jean M Roberts

‘The darker side of St Andrews Castle’s history, written with such delightful detail I could almost taste and smell the medieval streets of the historic town!’ Lynsey Maxwell

‘This book has everything I like – suspense, romance and humour. Beautifully descriptive and left me thinking about the characters even after I finished reading it.’

Finalist, Wishing Shelf Book Awards

His Review:

The Reformation is in its’ infancy! Martin Luther has started a movement that will separate brother from brother, father from son and countries will wage war as a result. The early years in the 1500’s were not a great time to be alive! The control of the family is ruled by a dictatorial father and a society can turn against a family in an instant. The ruling class is only too happy to seize a families’ property and turn them out into the street penniless.

Thee Castilians by VEH MastersA man is being burned at the stake for preaching the gospel in opposition to the Catholic Church. Elspeth’s brother Will is outraged as are many of the people in the city. Will and a group of reformers calling themselves The Castilians take over the castle of the local Cardinal Beaton who has exacted large “tithes” from the local population. The Cardinal is living in splendor in Castle St. Andrews. The Castle was the former home of a Queen of Scotland. The storehouse is filled with all kinds of excellent foods and drinks while food is scarce for the population.

Occupying the castle is the central theme of the story. I found the accompanying theme of Elspeth trying to save her brother even more compelling. She is a strong lass who often ignores her father in attempts to aid and save her brothers’ life. The description of the castle and its’ surrounds paint a vivid scene of life during that time period.

Unaccompanied young females are looked upon with avarice and wonton lust! Elspeth’s endeavors to get food and other necessities to her brother put her in danger of rape, although she does have some young men in the community who look after and protect her from some of these miscreants. Meanwhile her father is looking for a convenient marriage for his daughter. This will keep him in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. Family alliances are critical to maintaining this good lifestyle.

International trade and pilgrimage are part of the charm of the town. Elspeth becomes very interested in one of these pilgrims who came to pray at the local St. Andrews Cathedral. She is torn between obeying her father, helping her brother, and avoiding being paired with a local fat but affluent man. He is called “Fat Norman.” He is solicitous towards Elspeth and seems a gentle soul. She could do worse!

Overall, the flavor of this narrative is both engaging and enlightening. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in historical environs and strong protagonists. 5 stars-C.E. Williams

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author through direct request. This in no way swayed my opinion and these are my unbiased thoughts. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical British & Irish Literature, Historical Scottish Fiction, Scottish Historical Romance
Publisher: Nydie Books

  • ASIN : B08NYSLN9Z

Print Length: 239 pages
Publication Date: November 26, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Castilians
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VEH Masters - authorThe Author: VEH Masters was born and grew up on a farm just outside of St. Andrews in Scotland. She’s been fascinated by the siege of St Andrews Castle ever since her history teacher took the class on a visit, which included going down the siege tunnel dug out of rock and peering into the bottle dungeon where Cardinal Beaton’s body is said to have been kept, pickled in salt, for over a year.

She’s lived for most of her life nearby and St Andrews is one of her two favourite places in the world. She now lives between Penicuik and Peebles, which are both pretty amazing towns too.

The Castilians is her debut novel and she’s currently working on a sequel. Find her on Twitter and her Website.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams