Over the years, people have recommended Outlander to me, and in the snobbish, judgmental way of this book nerd, I scoffed. I had no interest in a romance novel, much less a popular one.
But then, well, the TV show. I know – it’s almost scandalous, right? – that I would be turned to a book because of a TV show. But it’s the truth. I have not yet seen an episode, but just the costumes in the commercials, well, yeah. . .
So on my book tour, I picked up the audio version, and from about mid-PA on, I was hooked. I even loved the first chapters because they reminded me a cozy mystery novel. But then, the real meat began, and holy cow was I glad I did 1,000 miles in 5 days. 🙂
Here are 7 Reasons that I loved the first book and plan to read the rest:
1. Jamie. If you’ve read the books, then I do not need to say anymore; if you haven’t, then this character alone is enough reason for you to pick them up. He is the quintessential hero – strong and kind and witty and smart. (He speaks a slew of languages.) Oh, and he wears a kilt. So there’s that.
2. The setting. If I could move everyone I love to one location on the earth simply because of it’s history and natural beauty, we would all live in cottages on the Scottish Highlands. So the fact that the novel takes place there, well, it just makes me happy.
3. The history. I know very little about the clans of Scotland, but this book – while not at all a boring recitation of facts – does give me a very real sense of the story and of the way these great communities of people lost their rights and – in a quite real way – their ability to live their identities.
4. Murtagh. Loyalty, the man exudes loyalty, and in our culture where people seem to turn for ease and money rather than for history and love, I find his dedication to the people he loves to be profound and inspiring.
5. Magic and Faith. I always love a well-written story that can include part of life beyond what we typically see without losing the story to those elements. Here, Gabaldon masterful brings in the supernatural without losing the story to it and by helping us understand how belief in magic and God was intertwined for the characters. It makes me hopeful that we could believe the same.
6. The Writing. Gabaldon is ballsy in this book. She takes huge risks with her characters, risks that could make us hate them, and yet, she also keeps them real and human so we come back again and again to their sides, loving them more each time. She also works plot so well – giving action where needed and quiet moments of conversation by firelight to calm us. Beautifully written.
7. Claire. Okay, so I don’t really like Claire. She makes me kind of nuts with her hot tongue and her guilt, but then, I love her, too, because of, well, Jamie. If he loves her, then . . . Plus, she doesn’t feign to be someone she is not, even in a time period where women were expected to stand in shadow. I do like that, and I respect her. And I suspect I don’t like her because she reminds me of the parts of myself that I don’t love.
I plan on picking up the next book on audio as soon as I get my library card at the new farm. I have had to promise myself that I will only listen to the books in the car because, otherwise, these moving boxes will never get unpacked, and I’ll never get this YA novel redraft finished. 😉
So have you read Outlander, and if so, what did you think of it? If not, are you planning to read it? Why or why not?
Note – I see that Amazon now has a category for Time Travel Romances, so I guess that’s a thing now?