Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Before I get to the actual book, let me just tell you how excited I was when I found out there was a book called Finding Fraser (by KC Dyer) based on a woman traveling Scotland to find her own Jamie Fraser.
It sounded awesome.
However, you know what happens when you hype something up in your head. It needs to be perfect and exactly what you want in order to be great even though your own personal emotional state has nothing to do with the actual quality of the book.
That’s where I was when I started this, so to be honest, I was slightly more disappointed than I would have liked. It also meant I ended up walking away from the book for a while before going back to it instead of reading it all in one go. When I was done, I wrote a little snippet for Goodreads (add me!), but I knew I had to come back and write something longer for the blog. So here I am!
There were three things that bothered me about the book, and then I’m going to tell you why I loved it anyway.
So, the first thing I wasn’t super fond of was the portrayal of the Outlander fan. It was often a bit crazy, and definitely made it seem like fans of the show lose all sense of self when someone whispers “James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.”
On the other hand, I haven’t exactly spent any time at Outlander fan groups to be able to say what’s accurate or not. I also perk up any time I hear someone talking about the books or show, use JAMMF as a method of motivation, listen to the Outlander podcast, and have been recorded talking about Outlander on a boat on a river in the rainforest for twenty minutes, and to top it all off, I straight-up entered a Masters program (and possibly will enter a PhD) because of these books, so who am I to judge?
Also, the idea of a stripper dressing up as Jamie Fraser makes me smile, so why the Outlander fan portrayal bothered me can’t be explained by anything more than my own quirks. I imagine there are others that were bothered, but I know just as well that there were people thinking ‘That’s totally true!’
So I guess that one only half counts.
Anyway, bothersome thing number two was how convenient the plot was. Like, of course he’s there, of course she’s able to stay, of course they caught her…. That’s not to say there aren’t any obstacles and she doesn’t have problems (she does), but I wasn’t surprised when anything happened. Also, her ways around Scotland were certainly for convenience sake, considering it’s a bit clear that adherence to Scottish topography was not a top priority.
Third bothersome thing: Emma, the main character, is so clueless and fixated. It reminded me of Harry Potter, where Harry is so clueless but all the characters around him are lovely. I did like Emma most of the time, but some of the moments of cluelessness and holding on were dragged out and thoughts repeated to the point I had to walk away from the book. This was probably amplified by the amount of medieval Irish literature and modern Gaelic folklore I’ve been reading, which gets right to the point and moves on, but I’m also pretty sure some of it could have been removed and the story would have lost nothing.
So, that’s what bothered me. Now let’s talk about the reasons I loved it anyway, because that’s really important.
- It’s a book about going to Scotland to find a modern Jamie Fraser. I mean come on. What’s not to love?
- The successful romantic interest (who I was pulling for) is definitely within my realm of dream guy and I found him endlessly entertaining. By the end of the book, I smiled whenever he arrived. Modern Jamie Fraser? Maybe not, but certainly a lovely man.
- It’s sweet. I can feel the love in the words.
- The addition of the blog posts was delightful. They added humor, gave chances for reflection, and helped the pacing of the book.
- The fictional adventures through Scotland were fun to witness, especially with ideas of Highland ghosts floating around.
- The characters around Emma were, as a whole, charming.
All this said, I would recommend this to anyone that likes Outlander. I don’t think I would have liked it as much, or maybe even at all, without the starting connection to Outlander, but I also don’t think I would have wanted to read it in the first place without that connection. It’s not the sort of literature I would want to form a uni class to discuss, but it is the type of literature that passes the time and gives a few laughs.
And that, my friends, is just as good.
Your Bonnie Celtophile,