Looking for a new book series to dive into? Outlander might just be the perfect fit for you! With time travel, romance, and adventure, this series has something for everyone. In this post, we’ll guide you through the best order to read the Outlander books for maximum enjoyment and understanding of the story’s timeline.
Plus, we have some recommendations for books similar to Outlander after you’ve finished the series! If you want to skip right to those recommendations, use the table of contents button below.
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Tips for Reading the Outlander Series
If you’ve decided to embark on the journey of reading the Outlander series, there are a few tips you might find helpful. First and foremost, be prepared for a lengthy and immersive reading experience. Each book is over 600 pages, so it’s not a quick read. You might want to set aside some dedicated reading time each day to truly get lost in the story.
One thing to keep in mind while reading the series is that there are multiple timelines and storylines happening simultaneously. It can be confusing at times, but each book has a helpful timeline at the beginning to keep you on track. Additionally, there is a large cast of characters, so it might be worthwhile to keep a list of who’s who as you read.
Another thing to be aware of is that the series spans multiple genres, including historical fiction, romance, and even elements of science fiction and fantasy. While the overarching plot follows Jamie and Claire’s time-traveling love story, there are plenty of subplots and historical events to keep things interesting.
Lastly, if you’re sensitive to graphic or disturbing scenes, this might not be the series for you. The book comes with a long list of trigger warnings.
The Best Order to Read the Outlander Books
While some readers may debate the best starting point for the Outlander series, we recommend beginning with the very first book, “Outlander.” This novel sets the foundation for the entire series and introduces the main characters, Claire and Jamie.
By starting with “Outlander,” readers can fully appreciate the character development and relationships that unfold throughout the series. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of time travel, which plays a significant role in the overarching plot.
Anne grew up hearing stories about Ireland from her grandfather. After his death, she travels to his hometown, hoping to heal her heartbreak. Instead, after her arrival, she's overcome by the history of the region.
Suddenly, she finds herself pulled back to 1921 as Ireland faces war for independence. She's in the care of Dr. Smith, who has mistaken her for the missing mother of a young boy. Confused by her unexpected trip back in time, Anne assumes the identity of the boy's mom.
As she learns to live in 1921, Dr. Smith is drawn further into the fight for independence.
The Book Girls Say...This highly-rated book was a Goodreads choice nominee for historical fiction in 2019. It was also the first novel recommended when we asked our Facebook group for recommendations for fans of Outlander. One member specified that her entire book club loved this pick!
This book is included in Kindle Unlimited as of 3/27/2023.
After her sister's death, Eva returns to their hometown of Cornwall to scatter her ashes. However, this journey will require confronting the ghosts of her past.
She stays in the home of family friends, the Halletts, where she often visited as a child. But the Halletts are the only occupants. The estate is also home to the people who lived there in the 18th century.
Eva can slip between present and past, which becomes even more complicated when she falls in love with a man who died before she was even more.
The Book Girls Say...Our readers recommend all of Susanna Kearsley's books for fans of Outlander. Another great place to start with her would be the Celtic Legends Collection of 4 books.
Like Outlander, Into the Wilderness is a series. In the first book, it's 1792, and Elizabeth Middleton has traveled from England to a remote New York mountain village. She meets Nathaniel, an American frontiersman who is very different than the posh men she knew at home.
Elizabeth is determined to teach all the village children, which soon puts her at odds with local slave owners and her own family. The Mohawk nation also plays a role in this complex story of early America.
By the sixth and final book, you'll have gone through Elizabeth's life all the way to 1824.
Chicago librarian Henry suffers from a rare genetic disorder that causes him to drift unpredictably through time. On one of his travels when Henry is 36, he meets a six-year-old girl named Clare. The two marry at a different point in time when Henry is 31 and Clare is 23.
This is a story about their passionate love for one another, but the complexities of marriage are multiplied by Henry's inability to remain in one time and place. Told from both points of view, the book asks the question, "Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
The night before her wedding, Shay looks into an antique Chinese mirror that will change her life. She blacks out and wakes up in her grandmother's body all the way back in the year 1900.
Equally shocking, her grandmother looks into the same mirror and finds herself transported to the future into Shay's body. And Shay's mother, Rachael, is torn between her mother and daughter. She weaves between the past and the present as the women struggle to adapt to life in a different time.
Are looking for a shorter series? The Guardians Trilogy was recommended by Melissa's mom-in-law.
It features 6 mystical characters searching for the fire star on the Greek island of Corfu. Three men and three women each have different strengths and have to work together to save the world. They develop romantic relationships along the way in the fairytale-like series.
The Lake House is a historical thriller also set in two time periods, but both from one lifetime of the main character named Alice.
The story is split between her life in 1930s Cornwall when she's a child at the family estate and 2003 London. In the 30s, Alice's younger brother vanishes, devasting the family.
Alice somehow goes on to become a successful author. Late in her life, a young detective stumbles on the now decrepit Cornwall estate, causing her path to cross with Alice and leading the way to truths about the past.
The Book Girls Say...Some readers find that the large cast of characters, non-linear timeline, and very detailed descriptions distract from the story and make this a slower read. However, the overall ratings are high.
Sometimes we find quotes that summarize books better than we can, and this is one of those times.
Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about The Dream Daughter:
"Exciting and heartfelt...Chamberlain expertly blends the time-travel elements with the wonderful story of a mother’s love and the depths of sacrifice she makes for her child. This is a page-turning crowd-pleaser."
Caroline has received the news that her unborn baby has a heart defect. While doctors say nothing can be done, her mysterious brother-in-law disagrees. He's a physicist and proposes something that requires her strength, courage, and faith.
If you're looking to escape to another world and are open to fantasy elements, the All Souls Trilogy may be for you.
Starting with a Discovery of Witches, the series follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian, and reluctant witch, as she solves the mystery of Ashmole 782. She falls in love with a mysterious vampire named Matthew Clairmont, and learns how powerful it can be to accept who you are.
Although it was initially known as the “All Souls Trilogy,” a fourth book - Time’s Convert - was published in 2018 as a continuation of the series.
Like Outlander, A Knight in Shining Armor features time travel between a present-day female lead, Dougless, and love interest from the 1500s. In this case, a man from the past appears in current times just when he is most needed.
However, Nicholas has appeared for more than love. He needs to clear his name after being falsely accused of treason.
As their relationship develops, Dougless is able to return back to the 1560s giving a detailed look into life in that time period.
The Book Girls Say...If you're looking for a strong historical romance, this will be a great pick. It's been called one of the most romantic novels of all time. However, keep in mind that the book was written in 1989, so the "present" was over 3 decades ago.
Tuesday 26th of April 2022
There’s nothing like a Diana Galbaldon book! I can’t wait for book 10.