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.