Seriously, how did I not know about this? Outlander is amazing. Ridiculously, stupendously, incredibly amazing. If you are a fan of long books, Scotland, romance, or historical fiction, read these books. Diana Gabaldon has woven a story so rich in detail that I spent three months of my life reading this series and nothing else.
I discovered this when I was trolling through Vulture and saw a casting announcement. How I missed that initial announcement, I'll never know - so let's move on to more important things:
5 BIG reasons I recommend this series.
1: Real romance and passion. No joke, the love between Jamie and Claire spans centuries, time, and space. When Claire, a nurse in post WWII England, is magically (not with wand or something, just magic okay? Don't think about it too much) thrown in to 18th century Scotland, she ends up marrying Jamie Fraser, a lord with a tragic past who's attempting to evade the law, when she gets into a sticky situation. Despite having been married back in the real the world, Claire quickly grows to love Jamie, as will you. Their relationship is a battle of wills, due in part to Claire's innate modernity and Jamie's seemingly "ancient" ways. Hell, the title of the novel is a nickname Jamie dubs upon Claire when they meet.
2: A seriously evil villain. Without giving away too much of the plot, it's hard to describe the series main antagonist. Suffice it to say, he could rival Voldemort. Black Jack Randall's evil seems so sadistic give that he is a mere human. I have always found human villains more compelling than supernatural characters. There are more foes throughout the lengthy series, but Black Jack Randall is certainly the most memorable.
3: Historical fiction is the best! Didn't you know that? Well, in case you forgot, Gabaldon will remind you. The culture of 18th century Scotland serves as a wonderful backdrop for this story. Jamie Fraser's Scotland is in some turmoil when Claire enters the scene and potential rebellions are cropping up all across the country. In one of the books Claire and Jamie attempt to prevent a battle - with unforeseen consequences. The series even includes a journey across the ocean to America, where Jamie and Claire become major players in the Revolutionary War, so you don't have to be Scottish to enjoy the history.
4: Time travel. Stay with me on this one! In the first book, Outlander, Claire travels through time and there is little explanation. Some readers and movie-viewers always want an explanation for time travel - I am not one of those viewers. It's fiction people. Just suspend your disbelief and roll with it. I love fantastical elements in stories, that's what makes them a great escape from real life, and that's also why I don't want to know how time travel happened. I am far more interested in society and culture of a story and the relationships than the technicalities of time travel.
5: Did I mention how awesome Claire is? As a nurse in WWII and after, Claire had her own career and life prior to marrying Frank (her 20th century husband). Even for our modern times, Claire is a strong, independent woman - her personality and strength are only enhanced by her life in 18th century Scotland. Sure, things were certainly very different for women in that time, but they weren't just sitting around looking pretty and making babies. Sure, women didn't have voting or property rights, but life was much harder in the 18th century an at times women had to fend for themselves in times when their husbands were off to war. Claire blossoms in the 18th century - she not only learns new domestic skills, but she puts her medical training to good use and becomes a "healer." Her strength, perseverance, and heart drive the story in a way that makes me want to be zapped back to the 18th century myself.
Suffice it to say, I am very excited for this series. My mom got me hooked on these books and she said there have been movie rumors for years. I am thrilled the books will become a television series - imagine balling a class room full of five-year-old Christmas excitement in to one person. Then multiply that times 100. The time travel and plot make it near impossible to make a movie which could do it justice. Not only that, but these books are pretty damn long. Like, Game of Thrones long. Perhaps STARZ has found its own obsessive fan base - I know I'll be tuning in. If I could just figure out a way to get STARZ without paying for it . . .