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Outlander: Love Transcends Time

Post by Kim Burton
Posted August 08, 2014 in Readers' Advisory News

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Diana Gabaldon's first Outlander novel was in the vanguard of "genre-blends" that today's readers have grown to love so much. Her series broke new ground, bringing together the oft-divided readerships of Fantasy buffs, and Romance fans. Here's a little Outlander time travel to put that into perspective: It's 1991. Twenty-something me works in a charming small town bookstore. I do not read romances; I do straighten the stock. Outlander's original cover had pearls and tartan in soft-focus, or some such I believe. Since it had fallen face-down off the shelf, what I saw first was the blurb on the back -- that's how I discovered a fabulous atmospheric time-travel fantasy in which magical standing stones cast a World War II nurse back to 18th-century Scotland.

My first reaction was irritation: "This isn't a romance! It's serious historical fantasy -- somebody put it here because a woman wrote it and it has a floofy cover!" I harrumphed, and plopped all the copies in the Fantasy aisle. Then an avid romance reader came in and raved about Gabaldon's compelling characters, caught up in a whirlwind of personal and historical turmoil -- all laced with time-warping sexual chemistry (twenty-something me was really paying attention now). She mentioned dashing men in kilts. I bought my copy, and split the remaining stock between the Fantasy and Romance shelves.

I learned a lot.

There is just so much to love: dramatic, suspenseful plotting; rich historical detail; hints of Highland magic; unforgettable characters, and steamy romance (and the current covers are quite tasteful). Whichever grabs your attention, NoveList is here to help Outlander fans find their next great book! Nanci Milone Hill discusses the adaptation of the series in her article, From Book to Screen. We have new Recommended Reads lists:  IYL...Outlander (in Fantasy), and IYL...Diana Gabaldon (in Romance). There's also a new Keeping Up...Romance page, a one-stop genre resource where you'll find this Outlander book map and much more. 

Kim Burton is an Editor and Bibliographer at NoveList.