I found myself in France last year in an apartment for a week and they had “French Netflix” which mostly just meant that they had less, but different things for us to watch. My wife had already watched season 1 (and maybe 2) of Outlander and so we started where she left off while I peppered her with lots of questions to fill me in on what I missed. I missed a lot and still the show was decidedly compelling. The novel is even more compelling.
So if you don’t know the story here, Claire Randall is a just-returned nurse from WWII, reunited with her husband after eight years (she a nurse like I mentioned and he working in OSS). They are sort of late honeymooning in Scotland while he also works on a research project in his capacity of newly hired don of Oxford. There’s some weirdness and hesitancy, but real love between them as they work on their long delayed marriage and try for a child. He’s researching his family history, specifically the Bonnie Prince Charlie rebellion in the 1740s, and Claire starts getting into local magical history.
Anyway, after chasing after some maybe witches and having sex in a kind of Stonehenge, she’s sent back to the 1740s where she runs into her husbands exact ancestor double, an English captain, who immediately tries to rape her. She’s rescued by a group of swarthy Scots and taken as a healer (nurse!). And it goes from there.
Like I said, for some reason it all works. It’s plot plot plot plot, but it’s well-plotted throughout, and the various mystical things that happen are given enough discussion and context for them to make sense (local legends of women who disappear and come back with strange tales etc). And the novel even ends on an interesting theological discussion about whether Claire has sinned in getting married in Scotland (she’s forced into it, but it turns out great) that leads us into the second novel.