Why does reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander create such ardent lovers out of so many of us? We end up soaking up—and relishing the plunge—just about everything in the 800 plus pages. It’s not only Jamie and Claire that get us, it’s also dialects that seemed impenetrable at first peruse, leisurely descriptions of daily 18th century Scottish life down to the medicinal plant-picking and impossible sanitary conditions. But we love it, and we actually kind of dream of the Outlander world as though there were something about it that would drive us throw away a life of flushing toilets, antibiotics and tampons, if we were just given the chance.
Well, one answer is that love is seductive, itself. And Outlander is kind of a love letter to, well, love. But it is also a love letter to the novel form, to the imagination, to the senses that can be aroused simply through words in a story.
Outlander has the characters necessary to really wallop us with idea of what romantic love can be, if only in a novel. Other love stories have been written, even of love across the centuries, but it’s hard to find a story that stirs feelings of ardor and attachment to its protagonists the way Outlander does. Jamie and Claire seem to have what everyone wants and then some, with her brains and delicate toughness and his wild muscularity and refined intellect. How many languages does the man speak?