I discovered the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon years ago when I was at university. It remains one of the defining moments in my reading life to date. I can still remember the absolute pleasure it was to read about Jamie and Claire for the first time. I often wish I could go back to this first time so I could be surprised all over again. This book fulfilled a lot of my reading loves: historical fiction, romance, adventure, a bit of fantasy and I loved all the medical aspects portrayed through Claire’s character.
For a long time I had never met anyone who had read this series. Then the TV series came out and suddenly there were people everywhere talking about my favourite series. I still remember where I found it. There was a second-hand book store (otherwise known as paradise to a book nerd like me) next to the supermarket where I worked part-time and it was there in this little shop that I first picked up Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon. (The first book in the series was published as Cross Stitch in Australia, not Outlander.)
I remember thinking when I first started the book that Claire would end up with Dougal MacKenzie. I never imagined that the love interest in the novel would turn out to be a younger man, prone to accidents, scarred, outlawed and red-haired. He really wasn’t my type at all! But Cross Stitch/Outlander reeled me and led me on a very unlikely adventure across the Scottish Highlands.
Imagine my joy when I discovered that there were more books in the series! I think the series was up to book four by that stage. I’ve since read all the books in the nine book series as they have come out and watched the Outlander TV series over and over again. The first three books in the series I have read countless times over the years. Outlander and Voyager are my two favourite books in the series.
I even lived in the UK for a while and always tried my luck when I visited standing stones, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to touch them and travel back in time. When I went to Scotland, I visited Culloden moor, the scene of a tragic battle between the Jacobites and the English, and felt so sad walking around those fields, imagining all the brave men that died there. It was Diana Gabaldon’s books that first introduced this slice of Scottish history to me.
That’s not to say I think the Outlander series is perfect. I have met some people that hate these books. The later books in the series don’t interest me as much as the earlier ones and I find it difficult to remember who all the characters are when there are years in between books. Plus, how many times is Claire going to be threatened with rape as a plot point? Speaking of Claire, sometimes she annoys me with her know-it-all attitude and she’s just way too stubborn. But those flaws are probably what make her such a well-rounded character.
The character Jamie seems to be good at everything and wildly romantic—I’m just not sure such a man would ever exist. I think that there’s no man on earth who could be as romantic as James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser. Or more intelligent. Where did he find time to learn so many different languages? And seriously, how many injuries and near death experiences can one man have? My poor husband is not the biggest fan of Jamie!
But all that aside, these characters have been with me a long time and I will continue to shell out money for each book in the series. I will continue to watch the Outlander TV series, even though it doesn’t come close to being as good as the books. It’s still so exciting to see my favourite book series brought to life on the screen. Just call me an Outlander tragic for life…
Are you an Outlander fan? If not, what book series do you love and why?