I’ve been lovestruck again. And it’s not the first time. It probably won’t be the last, either.
But this time I not only have to confess, I get to share. Why? Because I’m participating in the Lovestruck Giveaway Hop, hosted by Under the Covers and Bona Fide Reflections.
My mission is to share a series that has left me smitten. One that nothing else has ever managed to live up to. And I have one.
Have you ever read Outlander? Let me try that again. Have you ever lost yourself in Outlander? Not Highlander, I mean Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.
It has everything. Time-travel, romance, history, and oh yes, it does have highlanders. But it isn’t a Highlander romance. Outlander takes place later than that. It’s more about the failed Jacobite rebellion, in 1745. And did it ever fail! But that’s part of the story.
Do you love century-spanning love stories? Well, Outlander definitely does that. from 1946 to 1743 and back. Ever wonder what a 20th century woman would think of 18th century life? (And 18th century men in kilts?) It’s all there.
But it’s the story.
Outlander isn’t just a love story. It’s history and romance and tragedy and passion. It is the beginning of an amazing epic.
It is also the intimate story of two people. Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp, a World War II combat nurse who walks through the standing stones in Cragh na Dun in Scotland in 1946 only to find herself in 1743.
And James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, the man she is meant to love. A Highland laird, and an outlaw, a Jacobite, a intimate of kings and princes, and a leader of the doomed rebellion.
But they marry to keep Claire from becoming an English prisoner. Doubly ironic, because the English officer who wants to question her is her 20th century husband’s distant ancestor–and because the sadist has already flogged Jamie near-death, once. And because Claire truly is English, but 20th century English, not 18th century English. What she is not, is a French spy.
Jamie doesn’t know what she is, not for quite a while. When they discuss it, Claire asks him,
“Aren’t you afraid I might kill you in your sleep some night, if you don’t know who I am?”
He didn’t answer, but took his arm away from his eyes, and his smile widened. His eyes must be from the Fraser side, I thought. Not deepset like the MacKenzies’, they were set at an odd angle, so that the high cheekbones made them look almost slanted.
Without troubling to lift his head, he opened the front of his shirt and spread the cloth aside, laying his chest bare to the waist. He drew the dirk from its sheath and tossed it toward me. It thunked on the boards at my feet.
He put his arm back over his eyes and stretched his head back, showing the place where the dark stubble of his sprouting beard stopped abruptly, just below the jaw.
“Straight up, just under the breastbone,” he advised. “Quick and neat, though it takes a bit of strength. The throat-cutting’s easier, but it’s verra messy.”
I bent to pick up the dirk.
“Serve you right if I did,” I remarked. “Cocky bastard.”
The grin visible beneath the crook of his arm widened still further.
I stopped, dirt still in my hand.
“I’ll die a happy man.”
But Jamie doesn’t die, of course. Instead, they have two years together, until the Rebellion of 1745. In an act of love and desperation, Claire and Jamie part just before the battle of Culloden, because they both know how it’s going to end. Claire through history, and Jamie because he’s no fool.
Jamie expects to die on that field. But he sends his hope for the future through the stones. Claire leaves for the 20th century pregnant with his child. He tells her to name the boy after his father.
Claire spends the next 20 years of her life becoming a doctor and raising Jamie’s child, with her 20th century husband Frank. A man who knows full well that whoever impregnated his wife during her two missing years, it bloody well wasn’t him.
Only after Frank’s death is Claire willing to hire a genealogical researcher to look at what happened to the men of Jamie’s clan, to see if any of his family survived. Because she knows that Jamie intended to die.
But he didn’t.
Whenever I read a time-travel romance, I compare it to Outlander. Especially if the author uses one of the standing stone circles like Stonehenge to do the traveling. Gabaldon probably wasn’t the first author, but to me, she was the best.
Every time a new book in this series comes out, I fall in love all over again. The latest is Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner, a book in the Lord John side-series. The Scottish Prisoner in this case is Jamie Fraser, and the book takes place after 1745. Jamie’s longing for Claire is heart-rending.
So, for my part in this Lovestruck Giveaway Hop, I want to share my love of the Outlander series. The winner of the giveaway from Reading Reality will get one copy ($10 or less, print or ebook) of any book in the series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade).
If you are an international winner, and you choose a print copy, you need to be somewhere that Book Depository ships.
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