The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is an eight-part journey through history and time. Genre-wise, it’s a hard one to pin down; I’d classify it as one part romance and one part historical fiction with a scoop of fantasy thrown in. The first book in the series, simply Outlander was originally published in 1991 but we’ve seen a resurgence in its popularity since Starz picked up the book as a TV series adaptation in 2014.

The book opens with Claire Randall on holiday with her husband, Frank, in Inverness, Scotland in 1945 following the culmination of World War II. Both Claire and Frank served in the army throughout the war, she as a nurse and he as an officer. The trip is their attempt to reconnect after six years apart.

While you might hear the word “romance” and assume that this book is a story of their love, you would be mistaken. Through a supernatural accident, Claire is somehow transported back in time two centuries to the Scottish Highlands of 1743, where she meets Frank’s ancestor Captain Jack Randall, as well as an injured Scottish clansman, Jamie Fraser. The book focuses on these three characters while Claire tries to figure out how she got to 1743 and how she can get back to her own time, all without raising suspicion, or being branded a witch.

Slowly she finds herself falling for Jamie, despite her marriage to Frank. She opens up to him with the truth about her circumstances and finds herself an ally, albeit a confused and wary one. He agrees to help her with her quest to return to 1946, but he’s also a wanted fugitive and, unsurprisingly, things go awry.

Like any good romance, the pages of Outlander are filled with steamy love scenes (while not quite as saucy, its popularity over the last three decades is reminiscent of the Fifty Shades trilogy). However, you’ll also find a good dose of violence – both physical and sexual in nature – with rape being a major plot point for a good portion of the first book. Despite that, these books are immensely readable tomes, with the first in the series clocking in at 662 pages of small print. I’ve been slowly working on the series, mostly via the excellent audiobooks, since I picked up the first one in 2015 and the overall plot only gets more interesting and complex as the story weaves on.

The library owns all eight books in the Outlander series in both hard copy and audiobook, as well as the first two seasons of the TV series; eBooks are also available through Overdrive. Give it a try today!