Outlander: Breaking the Romance Mold

Much has been said of Diana Gabaldon’s controversial twist on the traditional romance novel formula. For those of you who have never had the inclination to read a romance novel, you’ll be curious to know that the formula goes something like this:

  • The hero is usually in his thirties. Why? A man in his thirties is more mature and financially stable.
  • The heroine, preferably a virginal one, is always younger than the hero. She ballparks around 18-23, and is most inexperienced in the ways of love…
  • Which allows the hero (that rakish rascal), to teach her how to make love…
  • While she, in turn, teaches him how to feel… so much so that he will never look at another woman again.
  • Meanwhile, there are other complications with the plot…
    • An inconvenient fiancée.
    • A case of mistaken identity.
    • An abduction.
    • A diabolical villain.
    • A misunderstanding that could have been cleared up if someone just said something.

When all these complications are cleared up, a marriage takes place.
Then along came D. Gabaldon who turned the genre upside down with:

  • A heroine who is older and more experienced than the virginal hero.
  • A romance that takes place after the marriage, thereby proving that there is life after marriage!
  • An abduction, true, but this time it’s the hero who gets abducted and brutally raped… er…made love to by the villain.
  • A villain who is such a badass that you can almost forgive his little “indiscretion.”
  • And the most interesting dialogue this side of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

1 thought on “Outlander: Breaking the Romance Mold”

  1. I have to say that Alexander Skarsgard is my only fantasy for Jamie Fraser. I have no idea if he can do a scotish accent but he is 6’5″ and gorgeous and with the right about of lighting he could pull off a sexy 23 yo virgin. He is all I think about when I read the books… Looking forward to the next one this fall. I really hope they don’t muck up a movie by missing the key elements of the love story. Losing his virginity is a key element.

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