Today’s guest post is brought to you by @bethorne. Feel free to leave comments for them below and we’ll make sure they see them!
People disappear all the time … Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations. Usually.
Those are the opening words to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, a book that kind of defies description. When anyone asks, “So what kind of book is it?” I usually have to give myself about five minutes to answer. It’s a mishmash of genres: historical fiction, romance, sci-fi, adventure, even horror. It really doesn’t fit into one category with any ease. At its core, it’s simply a fantastic, lushly written, page-turner with an unforgettable story and fabulous characters.
I found the story by being part of another fandom. While DianaG [@writer_DG] (that’s what I call her; we’re tight) doesn’t allow fanfic, you CAN find Twilight fanfic where Bella asks Edward to read Outlander. And that’s how I came across it for the first time.
It’s a huge series, 7 books so far in the main series, with several additional novels, novellas, companions and even a graphic novel. Girl is prolific. It’s also soon-to-be a 16 episode premium TV show on Starz [@outlander_starz]. They’re filming right now, and the sneak peeks of the show look amazing: true to the books, true to the period, true to the fans. What’s so captivating about Outlander in general? For me, it’s the characters. Jamie and Claire are fascinating, and I love being in their world. So let me tell you a little bit about it.
The book opens in 1945 Inverness, Scotland. English-born Claire Randall is on a post-war, second honeymoon in 1945 with her husband, Frank. While there, intrigued by a circle of standing stones, Claire falls through time and finds herself in 1743, in the clan territories of the Scottish highlanders.
Don’t let me lose you there. Trust me when I say it’s fast-paced and nothing like the Scottish highland romance novels you are thinking of.
Over the course of the book, as Claire tries to return to the stone hill, she encounters witches, clan politics, family intrigue, a dangerous sadist, and is eventually forced to marry a young Scottish highlander named Jamie Fraser. That’s a name you will want to remember.
At the heart of the story is the narrator; Claire is capable, smart, passionate and quick. Being in her head propels you through the entire journey, but it also makes you fall in love with her. She’s self-deprecating but confident. She’s sexy and curious. She’s discerning and brave.
“The rest of the journey passed uneventfully, if you consider it uneventful to ride fifteen miles on horseback through rough country at night, frequently without benefit of roads, in company with kilted men armed to the teeth, and sharing a horse with a wounded man. At least we were not set upon by highwaymen, we encountered no wild beasts, and it didn’t rain. By the standards I was becoming used to, it was quite dull.”
“Not for the first time, I reflected that intimacy and romance are not synonymous.”
“No wonder he was so good with horses, I thought blearily, feeling his fingers rubbing gently behind my ears, listening to the soothing, incomprehensible speech. If I were a horse, I’d let him ride me anywhere.”
“You’ll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans,” I answered. “Two minutes doesn’t deserve any more than a giggle.”
The antagonist (or the main one) of Outlander is one of the most interesting villains I’ve ever read. Black Jack Randall is a legitimate sadist, in a powerful position with no one to check his behavior, in a time period where his proclivities, well, aren’t acceptable. He’s smart, slick, sick and scary.
The reason I come back and back to Outlander time and again though, if I’m truly honest, is Jamie Fraser. He is simply the ULTIMATE. There are great guys in fictional worlds, it’s true. I’ve loved many of them. None of them compare to Jamie. He’s honorable, educated, brave, devoted, sexy … he’s just the best. Period. When we meet him, he’s a little mysterious, and as we learn more about him: this seemingly courageous, witty, Highland virgin becomes a sexy, powerful, devoted man.
“I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies, Do ye agree?”
“He said the greatest thing in a man’s life it to lie wi’ a woman he loves. He was right.”
“Ye weren’t the first lass I kissed. But I swear you’ll be the last.”
“Does it ever stop? The wanting you. Even when I’ve just left ye, I want you so much my chest feels tight and my fingers ache with wanting ye to touch me again.”
I MEAN … COME ON.
Filming is going on RIGHT NOW in Scotland. The show stars Caitriona Balfe [@caitrionambalfe] as Claire, Sam Heughan [@Heughan] as Jamie, and Tobias Menzies (you may remember him from Game of Thrones) as Frank and Black Jack Randall. Over 2000 fans (me included) showed up in LA in January for a fan event that Diana and the showrunner, Ron D. Moore [@RonDMoore] of Battlestar Galactica fame, and the stars attended. 2000 fans for a show that up to that time had released no footage. Thankfully, we got this trailer, and it’s holding us over summer when the show airs on STARZ. Or at least, until we get some more.
So, it’s becoming a full-on phenomenon. Read the book now, because it’s a train you want to hop on. If anyone asks you, tell them: adventure, time travel, guys in kilts, intrigue, horror, betrayal and so much more than just a romance. Guys, it’s gonna be (and is) SO GOOD.
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