Outlander. Just the word makes knees weak and hearts quiver all over the world. People scope out social media for the latest news and updates. They read then re-read the books. They watch then re-watch the series. People can quote the lines from The Wedding episode word for word and probably backwards. (Ahem, yes, I’m talking about you.) On Saturday nights, there was a hush around the world as new episodes aired on STARZ and threats were made on social media that any disturbance between 9 and 10 pm would be met with violence.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t always that way for me. Outlander? Who cares? Fiddle faddle and all that stuff. Yeah, that was me just a few years ago. My best friend kept telling me about these books and that I MUST read them. My pat answer was “I just don’t have time,” then I would brush her off with a look that probably said “Get a grip, woman. You are obsessed.” Well, then a little over two years ago, she had the nerve to broach the subject again one night at dinner. There’s a show now, she said. You must watch it, she said. Geez, woman, I thought. Can you not just give it up?!?! Why would I want to watch a show based on a book that I have no interest in reading? Then, she pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of Sam Heughan. Well, he’s pretty likable. I mean, he’s really likable. Honestly, he’s pretty lovable. For Pete’s sake, he’s about the best looking thing I’ve ever seen. Maybe this Outlander thing might just be worth a try to look at him. I mean, I’m married and very happily so, but I ain’t blind and a little eye candy might brighten up my week – even if the show isn’t worth a flip. (I hear you laughing out there.)
Well, I went home and the next week watched the first episode of the first season. Good glory! I was hooked. Not only did Sam Heughan live up to my expectations (and yes, considerably brightened my week) but Caitroina Balfe was beautiful and gutsy as Claire Randall. But, what surprised me even more was the story – it was absolutely fascinating. I promptly proceeded to watch the next seven episodes, the last one ending with Jamie sitting in the window with a gun trained on that wicked, despicable, not-worthy-of-the-air-Jamie-breathes Black Jack Randall.
At that point, the story had taken over my thoughts. Was I becoming, horrors of horrors, obsessed like my friend? What was happening to me – this stable, we-won’t-say-how-old woman who now wondered if perhaps it might just be possible to travel through time and meet someone like Jamie Fraser? I had lost touch completely with reality. Outlander had consumed my waking thoughts and even my sleeping ones. I hate to admit it but when I would get up to go to the bathroom at night, I couldn’t go back to sleep for thinking about the show and wondering what was going to happen next.
Quite unwilling and still more unable to go through countless sleepless nights, I ordered the first book with Amazon Prime two day shipping. Surely, I could survive two nights of sleeplessness. Surely, my husband could endure watching me walk around the house like a zombie muttering words like Sassenach, sláinte and kilts, randomly shouting “Tùlach Àrd!” and dreamily repeating the phrase “To bed? Or to sleep?”
Amazon did not disappoint and here came the first book on the second day. Game changer! It was over. I started reading that book and realized that Outlander was a whole lot more than pretty faces (and bodies). This was a story – a love story – for the ages and I could not get enough. I finished up Book 1, downloaded it on my Kindle, then ordered Dragonfly in Amber plus downloaded it on my Kindle. (May I ask? Can one have too many ways to access these books? Not me! I even ordered the audible versions!)
At the beginning of Dragonfly, I threw the book on the floor, texted my friend that I hated her and yelled as only one can do with a text asking her what in the world had just happened. If you have read the book, you can sympathize.
She told me calmly to keep reading. OK. Maybe I didn’t hate her after all so I took her advice and continued to read and read and read and…..well, you get the picture. I read until I got to Drums of Autumn. I didn’t throw the book on the floor this time but my friend had failed to tell me something very important. This beautiful story brings Jamie & Claire to North Carolina! What? Why would she have not told me that? Really, she lives in North Carolina too. Did she not think that was important information? I decided that I hated her again because I might would have started reading the books a whole lot sooner. Geez, girl!
Anyway, that’s when I began wanting to know everything about the places that Jamie & Claire visited and/or lived in North Carolina. Yes, I’ve lived in North Carolina all my life but it’s a pretty big state and I’m no expert outside of my own local area. I connected with a great Facebook group (NC Outlander Fans) who are all North Carolina residents by requirement (if you qualify, check them out). I have learned so much from this group but there’s still much more to learn, to see, and to do. So, I thought to myself, “Self, wouldn’t it be great to discover the places Jamie, Claire & clan went to in North Carolina with fresh Outlander eyes? And wouldn’t it be great to share all those discoveries with others who may or may not live in North Carolina? And, better still, wouldn’t it be great to write about the history & places of North Carolina and how they relate to Outlander beginning with Drums of Autumn and weave Jamie & Claire’s story in at the same time?”
And, there you have it. That’s the long story of how this insanity started. As a result, here I am today, writing my first blog post, realizing a dream which has been in the making ever since I read Drums of Autumn and all the later books.
So, Sassenach, are you ready to go to North Carolina? I hope the answer is yes and that you will join me on this wild and crazy ride through time with Jamie and Claire. Along the way, I sincerely ask for your comments, kind corrections, suggestions, and recommendations as we learn and laugh together. As for me, Je suis prest! Let’s go!
P.S. I decided not to hate my friend anymore. I finished all eight books and thanked her for sharing them with me. Now, she looks at me like I’m the crazy one. I think she’s right. You can check out my diagnosis here.