Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
This book is: a historical fiction time-travel romance.
Other elements: Romance! Adventure! Manly men in kilts! Rebellion. Sex. Botany.
Read it: If you like the idea of adventuring (and romancing) with manly men in kilts.
Overall rating: 9/10
I haven’t read many romance novels and that’s because some of the few I’ve read have been so bad that I’ve been afraid to try more. Outlander tells an actual story; the story just happens to have a romance (and a fair amount sex) in it. It’s a novel, not just a vehicle for x-rated vignettes.
This book is everything I want in a romance novel. The heroine is intelligent, assertive, complex, and interesting. The hero is fallible, has a brain, respects the heroine, and is also a big, strong hunk of manliness (in a kilt). There is sex, but it’s well done – fun to read but not overly graphic. It has character development, a plot, and a marvelous cast of secondary and tertiary characters.
This book also really puts the romance in romance novel. Yes, there’s sex, and it’s enjoyable for readers and characters alike, but there’s equal page time dedicated to the characters’ emotional relationship. And it’s wonderful. They’re such well-crafted characters that their chemistry is electric, charming, and enthralling. Not to mention the fact that I have a big crush on the hero.
I have no idea how historically accurate the novel is, but I don’t really care. It’s better than fluff, but also asks almost nothing of your brain but to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. It’s wonderful, and a perfect Valentine’s Day present for yourself or others with good taste.
One warning: this book is 870 pages long. It’s engaging and light, but it’s still somewhat of a time commitment. But totally worth it.