First, I am drawn to laughing because I never thought I'd ever get to finally read this book. In the end, I read it in French and I'm grumbling because I still hate reading translations. But, I laugh. Let me see, I read, in order, first Fiery Cross, then Drums of Autumn, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and now Outlander. I am totally absurd, and yes I know it. Hey, I get my hands on whatever's available at the time ;)
Anyway, the book is completely compelling. Having read many Scottish and Irish historicals (either in French or English), Outlander, the series, is still very dear to my heart because it is what had me discover my love/hunger for Scottish historicals. And Outlander, the novel, stands near the top of my list now. The love, the lost hope, the fear, the violence, they were obviously ever-present during the Jacobite Rebellions. But Gabaldon, thankfully, does not tone it down, and it is neither as toned-down as many authors write it. Jamie, the eightteenth century "pigheaded Scot", is forced to live with pain and reminders of pain every moment in this novel. It is honestly disheartening, but as a reader one is absolutely sympathetic to him and continues to cheer him on: "Keep going... Keep your eyes open. Live."