Outlander, the books that have been in the world for twenty plus years and the tv show that was twenty years in the making! Often called “Game of Thrones for women”, I firmly believe that Outlander is for everyone. I totally realise that as a historian who mainly studies the history of Ireland and the British Isles that I might be a tad biased, but maybe that also means that I can recommend it even more. The third season of the television show premiers September 10, and this is the perfect time to get caught up in books and on screen before it starts up again!
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the series, here is the Goodreads synopsis of the first novel:
The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
The novels continue on with Jamie and Claire’s life, and the lives of those who are connected! It slowly spreads out to include more family, friends, and enemies than you could imagine. Yes, there is romance, but there is also politics and family and warfare and illness and anything else that you may have encountered in the eighteenth century. Although the series is coming up on three decades in publication, it’s still as fresh and sparking as ever! Here is why I think that everyone should be reading and watching Outlander…
1. It Combines Two Popular Time Periods
Most people find the Scotland of old AND World War II era Europe interesting to read about and watch. While I am not much for the modern period at all, I do love anything from the Early Modern period and before! I think that the modern anchor allows more people to get hooked in, and it eases you into something more familiar before you getting dragged across the Scottish Highlands with a group of guys who might be outlaws. As a Historian, I totally understand that some time periods are more popular than others and I think that authors and producers are smart to focus on those periods to bring people in! So, if you have any interest in history at all, Outlander is for you!
2. Detail Without Overload
I find that in both the books and the show, everything is described and shown in detail without being repetitive and overwhelming! Specifically in the show, the details build the story and really pull you in rather than watching from the outside. Many historical fiction authors tend to either include far too little or far too much detail, leaving you lost wondering what is actually happening in the story or feeling like you are reading a textbook rather than a story. Some authors are more talented than others, and Diana certainly has a talent. There is a reason that several million copies have been sold, and the series has almost as many viewers- if you like being immersed in a story, Outlander is for you.
3. Diana Keeps Writing!
Many a sweeping saga- à la Game of Thrones– are left to wallow for years while their authors write other books, preside over television series and movies, and who knows what else while their readers languish in the depths of Goodreads trying to find similar books to fill the void in the meantime. Between the eight novels, several short stories and novellas, graphic novels, and companions, you will be kept busy for quite some time! Also, she’s pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, and interacts with and answers fans on a regular basis. I have to say, I never feel forgotten by Diana, which I can’t say for all authors out there. Interesting sidenote: Diana actually has her PhD in Marine Biology, which I think really comes through with her scientific discussions. If you don’t want to be left hanging for the next who knows how many years, Outlander is for you!
4. It’s Pure Entertainment
I’m not going to hide my feelings, I think that this television show is just pure entertainment! It’s beautifully written and shot, and you will feel like you are spending your evening in the Scottish Highlands when you curl up for an episode. The entire cast, from the main actors from the smallest cameos, are talented and committed to their roles which makes it a pleasure to watch. Yes, it took twenty years to make it to the screen but it does seem to have been worth it all, as us fans can’t stop watching. It’s not so fantastical that it seems far reaching, but it’s so different from what we know now that it is escape and entertainment at its finest. If you enjoy being entertained, Outlander is for you!
Have you watched or read Outlander? Let me know your thoughts below!!