Late to the Party: Outlander

When it was time to pick the next book I was going to read, it was between Marisha Pessl’s Night Film (it always seems to be a contender, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet – it looks scary) and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. My sister told me I had to read Outlander (it’s her copy I’m reading) and Alena  wisely pointed out that if it’s the same sister that told me to read Fangirl and The Fault in Our Stars then I should probably just read Outlander.

Well Alena, you were right. So I’m in the middle of Outlander. And I’m really unsure about why it took me this long to find my way here.

Scotland had never captured my imagination the way that England had. My fiancé had always wanted to go to Scotland but I’d never felt the pull. Until we went there last year. The trip was a surprise for my birthday and we ended up getting engaged on Calton Hill in Edinburgh under a tartan blanket in the rain. Ever since those 4 incredible days in Edinburgh, Scotland has had a firm grip on my heart. Given the opportunity, both of us would move there in a heartbeat – my fiancé felt like he’d found his spiritual home.

It should come as no surprise then that I’ve been searching out Scottish fiction on the regular. Any excuse to go back. I’ve read Alexander McCall Smith, taken up Ian Rankin, and even tried to get into Kate Atkinson. It was only a matter of time until I found my way to the Outlander series.

I’ve no doubt that I’m the last person on Earth to have read these books so a plot recap is probably not terribly necessary. But just in case there are other Outlander virgins among us, here’s the Cliff Notes version: Claire Beauchamp is second honeymooning in the Highlands with her scholar husband Frank, in 1945. She goes up to collect some wildflowers near a henge in the early morning and is suddenly falling through the Highlands in 1743, nearly raped by an English Dragoon who turns out to be her husband’s six times great grandfather. And then she meets Jamie Fraser, a giant, handsome red-headed Scot who turns out to be the love of her life.

If I had read these books before I met my fiancé, a tall handsome red-headed Jamie, I think I would have passed out when he introduced himself.

I did find the first 200 or so pages kind of hard going – there is so much to set up that it sometimes felt like the story would never get started. But once it did – I have no idea where I am half the time I’m reading. Sometimes I actually look up surprised to find myself here in this time, that’s how absorbing it is. There are battles, a witch hunt, secret marriages, loads of smutty scenes, and so many delicious accents. Gabaldon has created an incredible romance for the ages; Claire and Jamie belong together, despite the separation of time. Jamie Fraser is one of the greatest romantic characters ever. I love him.

The best part about reading Outlander right now of course is that the Starz series is set to start in August and I’m pretty happy that I don’t really have to wait for it.

If you have a minute, watch the actor who plays Jamie Fraser say “sassenach.” It’s awesome.

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12 thoughts on “Late to the Party: Outlander

  1. I haven’t read them either, but everyone recommends them. It’s not because I don’t believe that they’re good, it’s just that I tend to avoid series. I worry that once I start them, I will end up having to read them all back to back, and it will take a long time when I have so many other books to read. But, someday I will read them… really, I will.

  2. I’ve heard everyone rave about them, but never heard much actually about them. I like how it sounds though…will keep it in mind. The more I hear about it, the more inclined I am to read it. And maybe a stupid question, but, is this a series?

    • I felt the same way for the first 200 pages. I was like “am I missing something?” But I think there’s just some necessary set up to get through before you can enjoy the story. Once you get there…or just watch the show! The actor they got to play Jamie is hot!

  3. I’ve never read any of he books either, despite all the great things I’ve heard because they’re so long and there’s so MANY! I actually have the second one somehow though, so maybe I should look into the first one!

    • Once you start it won’t take you long! I read the first one in less than a week! And the ending didn’t leave me hanging. You won’t need to dive directly into the second one so you won’t be held hostage to the series.

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