Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Review of Outlander

As soon as I read a few synopses from Outlander, I knew I had to read it. From almost the first page, I found myself delightfully transported to places in Scotland I've visited like the Highlands, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and the site of the Battle of Culloden. I could easily hear the Scottish brogue in the characters' dialogue as well. 

One thing is certain, Gabaldon knows how to write romance! The graphically intense love scenes require some acclimation at first but the author's fantastic descriptions pull the reader right in. There are times when the scenes are so vivid and steamy, I felt I was watching more than I was reading. Because of that and the sheer frequency of those scenes, it would be easy to assign it to the genre of gothic romance, but Gabaldon's well-layered period plot and intricate web of characters puts it, in my library anyway, decidedly in historical fiction. 

Some early parts of the story seem less than plausible. Despite her primitive-like experiences as an army nurse on the front lines of WW2, Claire adjusts more quickly to the rough and tumultuous way of life in the 18th c. than seems likely. Also, the comfort level that Claire and Jamie share so early on seems dubious as well, given the circumstances.

One of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking aspects of the novel is the idea of time travel as it links generations from past to present. Who hasn't ever wondered what it would be like to live among their own ancestors or other people they've learned about from history? It is, of course, the rock upon what poor Claire's fate rests, quite literally. 

The novel has a bit of everything, including action, suspense and mystery. I highly recommend and very much looking forward to reading (and watching!) the rest of the series.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Walls Family Holiday Riddle 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Enjoy this year's riddle!

I am the shape of Captain Hook's arm
And a nostalgic Christmas charm.
In duplicity, I make a heart.
I'm a kitschy medium for art,
But to performers, I might cause alarm.

I sometimes have a wooden spine.
I resemble a barber's sign.
Jimmy Smits was heir to me.
I'm a cactus and a tree
And a servant for those who are blind.

I can be read, played, shot and licked.
I'd make a festive swizzle stick.
I'm an extra leg with a rubber foot
And a common bit of stocking loot
Dropped in by jolly old St. Nick.

I go up, then I come down.
I was made to curb sound.
I'm an alternative source of fuel.
You'll see me 'round at the tide of Yule,
But a game is my hometown.

I was the second known man on earth.
I conjure up rivalry and mirth.
I vary in color, species and size.
I'm a toothsome gem a small child espies.
Who else would appreciate my worth?

I alternate between hot and cold.
I am more than 300 years old.
A prop for tap,
I'm hard to snap.
An Aussie barkeep was once my role.

I'm the theme of a prosaic prayer.
I have a certain musical flair.
I'm the suffix of a violent storm,
But hang around in places that are warm,
Where I masquerade as a basket-chair.

I'm the crook of sheep-herding men,
And a renowned cinematic citizen,
Who just longed for his sled.
I'm an incomplete zed,
And hint at the blood shed for sin.

Unpublished Work © Heather K. Walls

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