Somehow, with hard work and a little luck, I’ve found a third career. I was a librarian first, then a teacher, and now a writer. The sound of that still makes me smile. In the summer of 2012, my debut novel, Kissing Shakespeare, was published by Delacorte Press. It’s a time-travel romance for teens. In 2013, Kissing Shakespeare won the Colorado Book Award for Young Adult Fiction. My proudest “writing” moment!
Why do we love Outlander? What makes it so extraordinary that we re-read the novels and watch our favorite episodes of the STARZ adaptation over and over?
It has so much going for it: characters we adore, a riveting story, time travel and witchcraft, a villain we can put all our energy into hating…and so much more.
But I think most of us would agree that the primary reason we love Outlander is the passionately tender romance between the protagonists, Claire and Jamie. What makes their love story so compelling?
The slow build: I’ve always liked the fact that it’s not love at first sight. Claire and Jamie are not over the moon about each other from the moment they meet, although there’s definitely an attraction. It happens more slowly than that, beautifully crafted by Diana Gabaldon. They’re friends first—and Claire, especially, needs one. She’s completely out of her element—literally—and can’t confide in anybody. That alone isolates her. And of course, she’s English.
Once at Castle Leoch, she dresses Jamie’s wound and cries against his chest, presumably for her husband. In reality, there’s more to it than that. Finding herself in the past is unsettling, frightening, and risky. She begins to seek Jamie out, bringing him food while he’s tending the horses and continuing to nurse his wound. He tells her there’s a price on his head and why he was flogged, even that a lieutenant named Randall did the flogging. Claire, out of necessity, is circumspect about what she shares.
After their joint rescue of the boy pilloried by his ear, Claire thinks about herself and Jamie, “…I felt as though a friendship had been begun that ran a bit deeper than shared gossip under the apple tree.”
The sensitivity of the hero: Jamie is unique for his sweet and understanding nature, especially when compared to the rough men who surround him. Claire suspects from the start that he’s of a higher social class and well educated to boot, and it turns out she’s right.
He’s gentlemanly to Claire from the very beginning. She has no reason to be scared of him, or of anyone else, as long as he’s about, he assures her. And he shows caring and compassion for other people as well. A prime example is taking the beating for Laoghaire in the hall, to save her from shame. Of course, that chivalrous act gives Laoghaire the wrong idea, causing problems for Jamie, and especially for Claire, later on.
The intelligence and pluck of the heroine: Claire’s predicament, once she realizes exactly what has happened to her, must be carefully managed. She’s not even sure, at first, what historical period she’s in, and must be vigilant not to make the wrong move or say something that would give her away. For her safety, she must keep up the pretense of being Claire Beauchamp, widow. Even her medical knowledge must be partially disguised, and even so, it gets her into some real trouble. Throughout the Outlander books, Claire stands up to some intimidating men who would like to keep her in her place, among them, Colum, Dougal, Black Jack, the Duke of Sandringham, and even Jamie.
Their equal partnership:
After their marriage, they continue to protect and watch out for each other. Jamie rescues Claire from Jack Randall and saves her from being burned as a witch. But their bond is not truly sealed until, when Jamie gives her a choice, Claire decides to stay with him rather than return to Frank. Claire, in the most daring act of her life in the past, spearheads the rescue of Jamie from Wentworth Castle and Black Jack Randall’s sexual abuse and torture. The soulful “Skye Boat Song,” known to us as the Outlander theme song, has this poignant line: “All that was good, all that was fair, All that was me is gone.” The song is about a “lass,” but I can’t help thinking this line perfectly describes Jamie after his ordeal with Jack Randall. When Jamie and Claire sail for France, she must help him heal, for in many ways, the best part of him is gone.
Throughout their stay in France, they work as partners, both making painful but necessary sacrifices, to attempt to change the course of history. It’s a great relief to them both to finally depart for Scotland, their home. And when we see that history is going to play out in the way it was always meant to, the starving, exhausted Scots meeting a hale British army on Culloden Moor, we feel dread over the fate of Jamie and Claire’s future.
The blood vow from their wedding ceremony gives us hope that their love will endure:
“‘Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be one.
I give ye my Spirit, ’til our life shall be Done.’”
Up For Grabs:London 1812War hero Adam Grey returns home with a burning ambition to run for Parliament. But he needs the support of the local baronet, who controls the seat. Adam’s plans are thwarted by his dissolute father, who has promised him to the baronet’s daughter in return for forgiveness of his debts. Adam wants nothing to do with marriage or his father’s problems, so he fakes an engagement to Cass Linford—his best friend’s sister.Cass has been through hell since she last saw Adam. Her betrothed committed suicide, forcing her to withdraw from London society. Heartbroken, she’s given up on marriage. So when Adam suggests a temporary engagement, she agrees. He needs help with his campaign, and Cass can’t resist his charm or the chance to be involved in politics. It all seems so easy, until she finds herself falling in love with her fake fiancé.
- 1 $5 Amazon Gift Card
- 1 Outlander Bracelet
- Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.
Special thanks to Pam Mingle for sponsoring this giveaway.a Rafflecopter giveaway