There’s a lot to like and a lot to hate about this book, which makes it great for book club discussions.
Overall, I thought it was a 3-star story. I liked it for the most part, but there were parts with which I had issues. The one extra star is because this book is the foundation of the series. You appreciate it more only when you look back and see how much the series has expanded.
It would be a mistake to label this book as romance. People who do that are missing out on an interesting story that spans three centuries.
There’s an important romantic relationship at the center that drives the story, but that’s only the least of it. There’s also intertwining historical story lines, the unease of impending war, and a time travel plot that forces the main character to choose between staying in the past or returning to the present, with all the emotional impact of contemporary literary fiction.
Once you get to the point where Claire goes back in time and you don’t buy it, it’s probably best to stop reading. This book is probably not for you.
I will admit that I would have given this book a 3-star rating after my initial read through. It just didn’t feel like there was much depth to the story overall. At the time, I didn’t know how great or important the events in this book were or how they’d come to affect events in later books and the Second Jacobite Rising overall.
It wasn’t until I’d read Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager that I came to appreciate Outlander and all of its “wandering nuances.” It wasn’t until I finished these two books afterward that it hit me how immense the scope and breadth of the story are, how heartbreaking twenty years apart can be, how devastating the aftermath of war really is. I didn’t feel any of these things until I got through the first three books.