That's how "Outlander" begins, launching a love story that spans 200 years, multiple continents, political intrigue, murder, mayhem, farming, war, sex, thugs, bizarre characters, do-it-yourself penicillin, settling the American colonies and what to do with an 18" sausage in a whorehouse (not what you might think).
If you've read this blog very long, you know I'm a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. My Jamie is named after James "Jamie" Alexander Malcom Mackenzie Fraser, one of the two main characters in the saga.
The books are huge and incredibly detailed but if you love Celtic lore, Scottish and American history and the concept of time travel, they are worth every single word. The amount of research Gabaldon puts into each one is staggering. I've learned about contraception in the 18th century, how to properly (and improperly) hang someone, how to use maggots to treat an infected wound and how to make whiskey. Apparently these were very useful skill sets to have in the 1700s.
It takes Gabaldon about 2-3 years to write a "Jamie and Claire book" and the next installment is rumored to be released in 2012. I've decided to re-read the whole series to be ready. These are definitely the sort of books you can read and re-read and pick up something new every time.
"Outlander" came out in 1991 and as I worked my way through the early editions of the series, I was content to wait for them to come out in paperback. By the time the last two books were released, I was past the point of waiting patiently and pre-ordered the hardbacks with as much anticipation as I had for the final segments of Harry Potter.
While each book works well enough as a stand alone story, to appreciate the full impact of the saga it's probably best to read them in order. Going back for the re-read has been fun, since I already know where it's going (I admit I've forgotten some parts) and it's fascinating to see Gabaldon's skillful foreshadowing. This woman's mind is amazing, I mean really, to have all this in her head and keep it organized and put it down on paper.