Why this giddy sense of anticipation for the Outlander TV mini-series, scheduled to air in 2014 on STARZ? Familiar feelings, yes. I had them as a teen many years ago. We all look forward to events as a part of our pursuit of happiness - vacations, holidays. But this? My husband Jay, who has not read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, just shakes his head in wonder at me.
If you are not already a fan of the novels of the Outlander series - seven so far with the eighth due out in Septermber 2014 - then may I suggest you try the first book in the series, Outlander.
Then you'll be ready when the series airs on STARZ. As I write it's being filmed in Scotland with fine actors and a lot of money behind the production.
I nearly bought Dragonfly in Amber (book #2) at a library book sale years ago, but a woman looking over my shoulder said, "That's the second in the series . . . don't read it until you've read the first book, Outlander. They're really wonderful." I put it back on the shelf. Finally, in the autumn of 2010 I began Outlander (it was then free on Kindle). And I was hooked. I read the next six, one after the other, each longer and more complicated than the last. I finished them sometime in February, 2011. I can't think of a better way to spend a cold winter.
It all begins shortly after the end of World War II when Claire, a married English nurse, visits some standing stones in Scotland and is flung back to 1743, two years before the Battle of Culloden.
|Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall|
The fantasy in these novels is butter cream frosting on a superb dessert of historical fiction. Claire's forced marriage to Jamie Fraser, who epitomizes all the attributes you would want in a complicated male protagonist, begins one of the great romances in popular literature.
|Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser|
Each book is better than the last. Why? Accurate historical renderings, complicated relationships, a lot of action -- and gentle humor.
Even if you aren't overwhelmed by Outlander, give the second book, Dragonfly in Amber, a chance.
Claire and Jamie go to Paris in an attempt to stop Bonnie Prince Charlie from raising the highland clans in Scotland against the English crown, a rising that will end on the bloody field of Culloden. Gabaldon really hit her stride in that book - and hasn't stopped since. The series eventually takes Claire and Jamie to North Carolina prior to and during the American Revolution.
And if you become a fan, as I hope you will, you can watch with others as Karen Henry rounds up the latest on this fansite Outlandish Observations.