Home » Beautiful Writing, Fantasy/SciFi, Romance » Re-reading a modern day romance classic.

Re-reading a modern day romance classic.

3 October 2014

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.

From Stephanie at Fangs Wands & Fairy Dust:

I read a lot and always have.  But it is a testimony to the excellence of this book that I can remember when I first bought it, and where in the now defunct bookstore I bought it. Furthermore, I remember going back there again and again waiting for the next book in the series.

I always thought I remembered a lot from my first reading. But, even reading through the last couple of books in the series, I realized I had forgotten an awful lot of the details, had some out of order, and thought different characters did different things. So about a week and a half ago I began rereading the story.

There has been a lot of contention since the series came out about whether it would stick to the book in plot and character. And, I have to say that it has really kept to the book, the last couple of episodes in this first season took some not unwelcome liberties, but all in all it has.


There is a lot less Jamie in the first few parts of the novel.  He doesn’t appear nearly as much as I seemed to recall. I’ve chalked it up to wishful thinking on my p[art as who wouldn’t rather Jamie than his gnarly uncle?  And the paradox of marriage to someone who has not yet been born is still really, really interesting.

This is a long book but really worth the time and money. It is in all likelihood at your local library in a couple of formats.  I think it is well-written, engaging, gripping and un-put-down-able — even after the second read.  And, I enjoyed reading it even as I watched the series.

I admit to having read Outlander when it was first released. In fact I’ve read the entire series. The characters are so real to me that I’ve had mixed feelings about any translation to either the big or small screen. The Starz series has managed to win me over, despite some lingering trepidation. Dear Ms. Gabaldon, it’s been 23 years, yet Claire and Jamie still have the power to enchant.

Read Stephanie’s perspective here.

Julia Barrett

Beautiful Writing, Fantasy/SciFi, Romance

20 Comments to “Re-reading a modern day romance classic.”

  1. I hope people will come by and read the post at my blog. I do appreciate the shout out.

  2. I read it (all of it) this summer. One of the best historical series for getting the incidental details correct. I only found one technical nit (bay horses are brown w/black points, not red (those are chestnuts)).

    Quite enjoyed them, though I could have done with less of the Gellis subplot. Interesting take on pragmatism.

    • Hi Karen, Gellis always bugged me too. In my memory I skip over her involvement in the story.

  3. I thought I’d read Outlander a long time ago. Now that I’ve read Stephanie’s post and checked the Look Inside at Amazon, I’m guessing I have not. The first chapter certainly drew me in and made a good impression. I may give it a whirl.

    I’m wondering what I did read way back when. It was a similar plot: modern married woman falls through time to Scotland of the past. But she was American (pretty sure) and contemporary (1990’s?), not 1940’s, and stayed in Scotland for the whole book, returning only at the very end. There were sequels. I may have read one. Or two. But I abandoned the series, because I didn’t like the protag’s choices and thus came to dislike her.

    Outlander looks more promising…although I don’t care for love-triangle plots, so it may not work for me. Or, indeed, for most straight-up romance. I like romance when history and humor and time travel (or whatever) are present in equal proportions. But if these other elements are mere sprinklings of salt on a roast of romance, it doesn’t work for me. Totally YMMV. 🙂

    • One of the best things about Outlander is Claire’s dry sense of humor. She’s an amazing narrator. And there is no love triangle, aside from Claire’s conflicted sense of loyalty.
      Outlander isn’t your typical romance.

    • A lot of us kinda disliked Claire…but the book still rocked. 🙂

      Time Travel romance was really one of my fave niches when I was into romance in the 90s, dunno if it still is hot, as I haven’t kept up with the romance world. But my fave was Kristin Hannah’s ONCE IN EVERY LIFE. I read a, huh, Jude Devereaux one, too. Didn’t care for it, probably why I remember. Knight in Shining Armor.

      Fish out of time waters is fun.

  4. Every time I read the description of the book it translates as “Person goes back in time to cheat on spouse.” I can’t bring myself to read infidelity, especially in a protagonist. Maybe a villain we can toss off a bridge or something. Just my .02.

    • If it makes you feel any better, she’s really conflicted about it. 🙂

    • Yeah, in my reading group, that was a sticking point and there was MUCH debating about if it even WAS cheating given hubby wasn’t even born yet. I sided with the “yes, she’s cheating” contingent, and as a reader, it bothered me, yep. But hey, it was a complicated situation. Plus, Jamie. Hard not to cheat when Jamie is wooing ya.

  5. I stumbled onto the TV version of Outlander after AT&T offered me a free month of Starz and I took them up on it so I could watch The White Queen. (Which, to stray off topic, was BAD.) I knew a couple people who really loved the books and was curious about the show.

    OBSESSED. Now I have to go read all the books. Luckily the Kindle versions are reasonably priced. 😉 (Or the old ones are, anyway. I see the new one is $12. NO.)

    So as much as we (by which I mean, I) sometimes like to complain about adaptations, they do spawn lots of new readers. If I had a nickel for every Game of Thrones fan who’s asked me if they should read the books, I could afford $12 Kindle books.

  6. Nooo! I thought TPV was an Outlander-free zone. You sucked me right back in.

    Since I read it a few weeks ago, I’m obsessively trying to figure out the Gabaldon recepy for writing captivating men.

  7. I loved the first two books in this series, Outlander & Dragonfly In Amber, and have read them each more than once.

    But I found the third book so weak that I lost interest in the series after that. Because I had enjoyed the first two books so much, I tried a couple of the later books, but I never got more than a few chapters into any of them before quitting.

    That said, I’ve recommended OUTLANDER to people many times. It’s a great read, though I don’t recommend the overall series.

    Haven’t seen the TV show yet, since I don’t get cable. It’s in my Netflix queue. 🙂

    • Laura, while I’ve read all the books, I often say I wish I’d stopped at book one, maybe the end of book two. As far as I’m concerned book one is the all.

      • I felt like she really had a story to tell in the first two books. As a reader, having “a story to tell” really seemed like the difference between those books and the subsequent ones, which all came across more to me like “just spending time with these characters.”

  8. Yep. I read Outlander in the 90s when the buzz was high on Romance boards at AOL (I was in a romance readers group back then, and people like NOra Roberts sometimes dropped in to say “hi”) I fell in love with Jamie like most of my galpals who read the novel. I didn’t much care for Claire, though. And I didn’t like the following novel (got halfway and ditched it) so I didn’t continue with the series. But yes, mad Jamie love.

  9. just a personal note, long ago, long long ago when outlander was being written over the years, Diana Gabaldon, on our close forum, was THE most intense researcher amongst us all. Truly a writer who sat butt in chair daily. And truly a writer who strove hard to attend to detail. I think for most of us, we hope our readers will tell us if there is an errant whisp because they want the book to be as close to perfected [impossible, ever, but we strive hard] , but also might note the research was as time-laden, often even more so than the writing. My hat is ever off to those who write historical or science or tech or any data/fact drenched anything.

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