Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series has captured the hearts of readers across the globe with its compelling blend of historical fiction, romance, and time travel. Its vibrant characters, intricate plot, and rich historical detail make it a hard act to follow.
However, for those who have journeyed through the stones with Claire and Jamie, and are now searching for their next literary adventure, there’s a wealth of novels that share similar captivating elements. This blog post aims to guide you towards your next page-turner, highlighting ten books that are sure to appeal to any ‘Outlander’ fan.
Let’s embark on this literary journey together!
What Makes ‘Outlander’ Captivating?
The ‘Outlander’ series is a rich tapestry of genres and elements that blend together to create a captivating and immersive reading experience. Understanding these aspects will help us see why the recommended books are fitting companions for ‘Outlander’ fans.
A Leap Through Time
One of the most engaging elements of ‘Outlander’ is its time-travel premise. The idea of a 20th-century woman transported back to the 18th-century Scotland creates a sense of mystery and wonder, stirring readers’ curiosity about the past and the concept of time itself.
An Epic Love Story
At its heart, ‘Outlander’ is a love story. The epic romance between Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser drives the narrative, carrying readers across continents and centuries. Their enduring love, despite all odds and obstacles, is something that has resonated deeply with fans.
Historical Depth and Accuracy
Diana Gabaldon’s meticulous research shines through every page of the ‘Outlander’ series. The historical setting isn’t merely a backdrop, but an integral part of the narrative. The detailed depiction of 18th-century life, politics, and culture in Scotland lends authenticity and depth to the series.
Vibrant Characters and Engaging Narratives
‘Outlander’ is renowned for its strong, vibrant characters. From the resilient and intelligent Claire to the charming and brave Jamie, the characters are well-developed, complex, and deeply engaging. Additionally, the series is packed with riveting narratives that span various themes and settings, keeping readers hooked throughout.
Historical Romance Books
‘Outlander’ is not just a historical novel or a time-travel story, but also a deep, heartfelt romance. For those who loved the romantic elements in ‘Outlander’, here are two historical romance books that will keep your heart fluttering.
‘Into the Wilderness’ by Sara Donati
‘Into the Wilderness’ is an engrossing novel set in the late 18th-century wilderness of New York. The story follows Elizabeth Middleton, a strong, independent woman who leaves England to join her father in America. There, she meets Nathaniel Bonner, a frontiersman with deep ties to the Mohawk community. As their love story unfolds against the backdrop of rugged wilderness and societal expectations, readers are treated to a compelling narrative filled with passion, drama, and historical detail.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Like ‘Outlander’, ‘Into the Wilderness’ features a strong, independent female lead and a captivating love story. It also dives deep into a specific historical period, providing readers with a rich and immersive reading experience.
‘The Bronze Horseman’ by Paullina Simons
Set against the backdrop of World War II in Leningrad, ‘The Bronze Horseman’ is an epic tale of love and survival. It follows the lives of Tatiana Metanova, a young Russian woman, and Alexander Belov, a Red Army officer, as they fall in love amidst the hardships of war. This novel offers a heartrending and visceral depiction of love, sacrifice, and endurance.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Fans of ‘Outlander’ will appreciate the historical setting, the heartfelt romance, and the resilience of the characters in ‘The Bronze Horseman’. The intensity and depth of the relationship between Tatiana and Alexander echo the epic love story of Claire and Jamie.
Time Travel Novels
Time travel forms a key aspect of ‘Outlander’. The juxtaposition of past and present offers a unique narrative tension and allows for thought-provoking exploration of historical periods. If you enjoyed this aspect of ‘Outlander’, the following time travel novels might intrigue you.
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ is a novel that beautifully blends romance with science fiction. It tells the story of Clare and Henry who have a unique problem in their marriage – Henry involuntarily travels through time. The story navigates the complexities and challenges they face, offering an emotional exploration of love, loss, and the inexorable passage of time.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: This novel presents a complex, time-crossing relationship that ‘Outlander’ fans might find familiar. Although the settings and circumstances are different, the emotional resonance and exploration of time-travel are themes common to both narratives.
‘Kindred’ by Octavia E. Butler
‘Kindred’ is a powerful novel that uses time travel to explore the harsh realities of slavery in America. The protagonist, Dana, a modern black woman from California, finds herself repeatedly transported to a pre-Civil War plantation in Maryland. There, she encounters her ancestors and faces the brutality of slavery firsthand, offering a potent examination of history, race, and power dynamics.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: While ‘Kindred’ presents a far more sobering use of time travel, ‘Outlander’ fans may appreciate the historical immersion and the exploration of societal issues through the lens of time. Plus, like Claire, Dana is a strong woman faced with unexpected and challenging circumstances.
Historical Fiction with Strong Female Leads
Claire Beauchamp Randall, the protagonist of ‘Outlander’, is celebrated for her strength, intelligence, and resilience. If you appreciate novels with such strong female characters set against a vivid historical backdrop, the following books should make it to your reading list.
‘The Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd
‘The Book of Longings’ is a daring and ambitious novel that imagines the life of Ana, the wife of Jesus. Set in the first century during an era of profound change, this novel explores Ana’s struggle to have a voice in a society that seeks to silence her. It’s a thought-provoking exploration of women’s lives during a significant historical period.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Like ‘Outlander’, this novel places a strong, independent woman at its heart. Additionally, it paints a detailed picture of a particular historical era, adding depth and authenticity to the narrative.
‘The Red Tent’ by Anita Diamant
‘The Red Tent’ gives voice to Dinah, a minor character from the Bible, and women of her time. This novel explores themes of love, loss, and resilience against the backdrop of the ancient world. It celebrates the traditions and turmoil of ancient womanhood and offers a fresh perspective on a seminal biblical story.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: ‘Outlander’ fans might enjoy ‘The Red Tent’ due to its strong female lead, historical setting, and the author’s skillful blend of facts and fiction. Much like Claire, Dinah is a character who strives to forge her own path in a challenging world.
Epic Fantasy Novels
While ‘Outlander’ is not typically classified as a fantasy series, it does contain elements of the fantastical, particularly with its time travel premise. If you’re drawn to expansive world-building, intricate plotlines, and unforgettable characters, these epic fantasy novels might pique your interest.
‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R. R. Martin
‘A Game of Thrones’ is the first book in the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series, set in a world reminiscent of medieval Europe, complete with knights, castles, and mythical creatures. The narrative, featuring political intrigue, complex characters, and dramatic plot twists, will keep you thoroughly engrossed.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Much like ‘Outlander’, ‘A Game of Thrones’ offers readers a deep dive into a richly constructed, historical-feeling world. The well-developed characters and their intricate relationships, along with the high-stakes drama, could captivate fans of Gabaldon’s series.
‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss
‘The Name of the Wind’, the first book in ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’ series, is an engrossing tale of Kvothe, an adventurer and musician. This book blends traditional fantasy elements with a rich narrative style, creating a unique and immersive reading experience.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Like ‘Outlander’, ‘The Name of the Wind’ tells a deeply personal story set against a broad historical and cultural backdrop. The narrative’s focus on character development, combined with elements of adventure and mystery, could very well attract ‘Outlander’ enthusiasts.
Books with a Scottish Setting
The Scottish Highlands play an integral role in the ‘Outlander’ series, their rugged beauty and rich history serving as more than just a backdrop to the narrative. If the Scottish setting is part of what drew you to ‘Outlander’, the following books might strike a chord.
‘The Winter Sea’ by Susanna Kearsley
‘The Winter Sea’ is a dual-timeline narrative set in Scotland. In the present, novelist Carrie McClelland is writing a historical novel set in the early 18th century when the Jacobites were trying to reclaim the throne. As she delves deeper into her characters’ lives, she realizes her narrative is more fact than fiction. The book is an engrossing blend of history, romance, and mystery.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Much like ‘Outlander’, ‘The Winter Sea’ offers a mix of historical fiction and romance, set against the dramatic backdrop of Scotland. The narrative also features elements of the supernatural, further echoing similarities with Gabaldon’s series.
‘Scotland’ by Magnus Magnusson
‘Scotland’ is a non-fiction book that offers a detailed and comprehensive history of Scotland from the earliest times to the present. It provides a fascinating exploration of Scottish culture, politics, and identity.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: ‘Outlander’ fans who have developed a keen interest in Scottish history because of the series might find ‘Scotland’ to be a rewarding read. It offers a deeper understanding of the land that Claire and Jamie call home, adding richness to their ‘Outlander’ experience.
Books That Span Multiple Genres
‘Outlander’ is a unique blend of historical fiction, romance, adventure, and fantasy, making it difficult to box into one genre. If you appreciate such a broad canvas in storytelling, the following novels, which also span multiple genres, may be of interest.
‘The Golem and the Jinni’ by Helene Wecker
‘The Golem and the Jinni’ is an imaginative novel that blends elements of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. It tells the story of two supernatural beings—a golem and a jinni—who find themselves in late 19th-century New York. Their unlikely friendship and struggle to navigate human society make for a compelling narrative.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Like ‘Outlander’, ‘The Golem and the Jinni’ crosses genres to deliver a tale that is part history, part fantasy, and part romance. The novel’s focus on characters from different worlds coming together in a historical setting may resonate with ‘Outlander’ fans.
‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell
‘Cloud Atlas’ is an ambitious, genre-bending novel that consists of six interconnected stories spanning different time periods and styles, from the 19th-century Pacific Islands to a post-apocalyptic future. Each story is unique, but together they create a profound exploration of humanity’s will to power, freedom, and survival.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: ‘Cloud Atlas’ offers a complex narrative structure and a journey through time that ‘Outlander’ fans might appreciate. It provides a rich, multifaceted reading experience that combines elements of historical fiction, science fiction, and more.
Detailed Historical Fiction
‘Outlander’ is admired for its rich historical detail, which transports readers to another time and place. If you relish this level of historical immersion, the following novels might capture your interest.
‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel
‘Wolf Hall’ brings to life the political and personal machinations of the Tudor court. Told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, a key figure in King Henry VIII’s reign, it provides an immersive look into this tumultuous period of English history.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Much like ‘Outlander’, ‘Wolf Hall’ meticulously recreates its historical setting, providing readers with a nuanced understanding of the period. The political intrigue and focus on character development might also appeal to fans of Gabaldon’s series.
‘The Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follett
‘The Pillars of the Earth’ is set in the twelfth century and revolves around the construction of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It paints a vivid picture of medieval life and explores themes of love, war, and religious strife.
Why it appeals to ‘Outlander’ fans: Fans of ‘Outlander’ might appreciate Follett’s commitment to historical detail and his ability to craft a compelling narrative against this backdrop. Like Gabaldon, Follett creates characters that readers come to care deeply about.
If you’re still looking for more to read after ‘Outlander’, here are ten additional recommendations that share similar themes or elements with Gabaldon’s series.
‘The Thirteenth Tale’ by Diane Setterfield
‘The Thirteenth Tale’ is a gothic suspense novel revolving around family secrets and the power of storytelling. Its atmospheric setting and mystery elements may appeal to ‘Outlander’ fans who enjoy the historical and dramatic aspects of Gabaldon’s series.
‘The Bronze Horseman’ by Paullina Simons
Set during the siege of Leningrad in World War II, ‘The Bronze Horseman’ offers a heart-wrenching love story against the backdrop of historical events. Fans of the passionate romance and historical detail in ‘Outlander’ may enjoy this book.
‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel
This novel is the first in a series set in prehistoric Europe. It follows the life of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon woman, and offers rich historical and cultural detail that ‘Outlander’ fans might appreciate.
‘Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke
Blending history and magic, this novel is set in 19th-century England and follows the tale of two very different magicians. Its unique mix of genres and historical setting could captivate fans of ‘Outlander’.
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger
This novel offers a unique spin on the traditional love story by adding elements of time travel. Fans of ‘Outlander’ who enjoyed the time-bending romance between Claire and Jamie may also like this book.
‘Into the Wilderness’ by Sara Donati
Set in late 18th-century New York, this novel combines historical detail with romance and adventure, themes that ‘Outlander’ fans would find familiar and enjoyable.
‘The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane’ by Katherine Howe
This novel alternates between present-day Massachusetts and the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. Its blend of history, mystery, and a touch of the supernatural might appeal to fans of ‘Outlander’.
‘The Nightingale’ by Kristin Hannah
Set in World War II France, this novel tells the story of two sisters and their experiences in the war. Its strong female characters and historical detail may resonate with ‘Outlander’ readers.
‘Water for Elephants’ by Sara Gruen
This book, set in a traveling circus during the Great Depression, offers a love story with a rich historical backdrop. Fans of ‘Outlander’ who enjoy the historical and romantic elements of Gabaldon’s series might also like this novel.
‘The Witch of Willow Hall’ by Hester Fox
This novel combines elements of gothic romance, family drama, and witchcraft in 19th-century New England. Its blend of history, romance, and the supernatural could captivate ‘Outlander’ fans.
The ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon has captivated readers worldwide with its blend of historical fiction, romance, fantasy, and adventure. While waiting for the next book or season, exploring other novels that share similar themes and elements can be an enriching experience.
Whether it’s historical romance, time travel, strong female leads, epic fantasy, a Scottish setting, multi-genre narratives, or detailed historical fiction, the books listed above offer a diverse range to satisfy ‘Outlander’ fans. Happy reading!