Romance Writers And Our Infatuation With ‘Outlander’

Several years ago, I attempted to read Outlander. Do I dare admit that after the first twenty or so pages, I abandoned it? Gasp!!!  Time travel, fantasy and straight historical novels aren’t at the top of my preferred genre reading list. Even Diana Gabaldon describes her work as a multi-genre bending series. Not romance. No siree. And boy, do I love a good romantic plot line.The Outlander

When I expressed to several romance writers how it hadn’t snagged my attention, every single writer said the same thing, that Outlander is by far one of their favorite books.

What? Um…why? It’s not even a romance, right?

Two years later, my ah-ha moment arrived. Not only did I read past the first twenty pages but I fanatically consumed the entire novel in one continuous reading. The more I read, the more the story drew me in.

So why are romance writers infatuated with Outlander?

Jamie Fraser

JamieOh. My. Word. Talk about a romantic hero. He’s loyal to his family and willing to place his pride, his body, his freedom on the line for them. He’s complex, a mixture of a wounded warrior, an Alpha hero ready to fight, and a Beta hero who allows his uncles to “use” him. He’s stubborn, funny and uses sexy-as-hell Scottish words. He’s such a man. And, he’s a virgin. I suppose what I love best about him is how he connects with the heroine Claire. Physically, oh-yeah! But it’s the deeper, emotional connection that evolves between them that is truly romantic.

Claire Randall

She’s a historical heroine from two time periods with two husbands. A multifaceted heroine struggling between two worlds, Clairetwo men, two choices. But of course, every single woman alive is routing that she’ll choose Jamie, right? Yep. A younger man compared to her worldly experience. A cougar. But she’s exactly what such a strong, dominant hero like Jamie needs. There’s substance to Claire, she’s intelligent, a healer who knows how to conduct herself in difficult situations—which she finds herself in constantly.

Sex. Sex. Sex.

Yes, there’s plenty of it. It’s hot, steamy, well done and unexpected. He’s a virgin, she’s the experienced one. They’re married. But Jamie takes to sex just like he takes to everything else—he does it full-force and commits 100%. He desires Claire and isn’t shy about showing it. And, sex isn’t just an act. It’s an extension of their relationship. It’s a way they get to know each other and a means for growing closer. It’s passionate. Honest to the characters. And downright romantic.

Outlander 2


Highland warriors. Endearing Gaelic terms like Sassenach, mo chridhe, mo nighean donn – yummy descriptive words Jamie whispers to Claire. Lochs and castles, fights and sexual encounters on rocks. The setting is a character in itself. It’s no wonder so many historical romances are highlander stories!

I hope I’ve covered several reasons why Outlander is a favorite amongst romance writers.

Please comment and add your own!

Leave a comment


  1. I loved this book too! And yes, it’s not entirely a romance, but it is very sexy. The author did a fabulous job.

  2. Why? Because we all would like to be Claire: strong, intelligent, determined, self-sufficient and practical. And because we ALL want a Jamie, who above all is the epitome of total committment. And (sigh), it doesn’t hurt that he’s beautiful to look at . . . (and I haven’t even watched the Starz production)!

  3. I love the way the show has been done. It took me awhile to get into the book, but once I did (midway point?) I burned through it. I would love to finish the series one of these days! But looking forward to more of the TV series. SO hot!

  4. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  October 1, 2014

    As a romance reader I have enjoyed watching all the excitement unfold for this book / show via social media. I’ve never read the book (GASP!) but feel as if I know everything that has happened thus far in the series due to the huppla. After Julie posted her excitement prior to the Premiere, I did check out the Pilot episode. I don’t have Starz and I was tempted to subscribe just for this, but I will say…perhaps because so much time was spent on Frank and Claire…that first episode just didn’t grab me. I’ve heard from a lot of people that it starts out slow though. Everything I’ve seen since looks just as you (and so many others) describe, but I’m probably going to wait and hope it comes to Netflix or DVD before the show returns in April to catch up. Everyone talks about Jamie, but I wonder in the back of my mind…what about Frank? I hear she is working towards getting back to him, and my question is…why? That might sound cruel, but she seemed so disconnected to him in the show and if Jamie is everything I’m hearing, again…why? Okay…let the stoning commence.

  5. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  October 1, 2014

    Hi, Michele, glad you finally discovered the virtues of Outlander. It is an amazing series. One of the things I really love about it that you didn’t mention…Gabaldon’s meticulous research. If reading this book doesn’t make you want to visit Scotland and every other place the journey takes you, I don’t know what will. I didn’t give a hoot about Scotland until I read this book.


  6. Hello, my name is Lisa, and I’m a OUTLANDER-holic….

    Oddly, I wasn’t completely hooked on the books when they first came out, but the STARZ series . . . WOWZA. Just amazing.

    • Lisa, you are too funny. I guess the world is punch drunk with Jamie fever right now! What a great hero, right? Best, Michele

  7. Joanna, I know! I made myself read the first book BEFORE watching the series, which is always a wise thing to do. The series is okay, the book is amazing. Best, Michele

  8. RoseAnn, it’s interesting how people respond differently to this book and/or series. I guess there’s so much to absorb. I didn’t give two figs about Frank in the book and fast forward to the Jamie bits in the series…because that’s were the real passion seems to be. That’s my connection/opinion! Best,

  9. Janet, Yes I think you were one of the original “what do you mean you didn’t finish The Outlander” friends! Glad I listened. Michele

  10. JB Schroeder

     /  October 6, 2014

    You know I am a giant fan, Michele! I get a little thrill everytime someone else gets turned onto the series in any way shape or form. : )

  11. You said it pairfectly Michele! It’s my all time favorite book and for so many of the reasons you mentioned. Diana is a master at imagery, dialogue, and historical research that actually makes you want to learn something new about that time/place. So glad that Starz is doing the story justice..and Jamie/Sam…he’s swoon worthy.


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