Finally! I found what I was looking for when I wrote the post Speaking of Erotica, a “steamy love story that has depth and substance.” I wrote:
I am seeking something that stimulates and satisfies in a deeper way than what I’ve found so far. A story that explores, perhaps, at least to some degree, both the sensual and spiritual nature of desire, arousal, and consummation. After all, sexual and spiritual pleasure, power and transformation are parallel journeys on the road to fulfillment. Both are precipitated by strong human desires for union with the Other. Both, arguably, are what shape us as human beings.
Each journey involves deep longing for something beyond the individual self. Each requires trust and receptivity, surrender and self-sacrifice, tenderness and devotion. Each gives way to passion and delight, awe and wonder, ecstasy and bliss, love and transcendence.
Each seeks the Beloved.
Strangely enough, I read the first three chapters of the book in question and put it away, thinking it wasn’t what I was looking for. And I might never have returned to the book if it hadn’t recently been made into a cable TV series that I watched on Netflix. The film took me beyond the pages I had read and showed me what I had missed. Now I’ve finished the first book in the cult-classic series and have begun the second.
Yes, you guessed it. The book is The Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, a time-traveling historical romance set in the 1940’s and 18th century Scotland.
The book isn’t as literary as I’d originally hoped and the prose sometimes dips toward purple, but it makes up for it by some truly beautiful writing and by turning the romance genre upside-down in so many interesting (and sometimes disturbing) ways. Our hearty hero, for instance, is younger than our heroine and he’s a virgin to boot. It is he who is lusted after by the villain rather than our heroine. And she, far from being an innocent is an experienced, strong, deeply intelligent woman with a fierce mind of her own, which, sadly, gets her and a lot of other people into a lot of trouble. Yet, while she puts herself into situations where she must be saved, she does an equal amount of saving herself.
Still, the characters are nuanced and complex, including the villains, and the plot turns in unexpected ways that add the depth and substance I was seeking. And the romance that blooms between Claire and Jaime is not only steamy but sweet and tender and, yes, soulful, in the way that Whitman writes with such lust and love for life in all its many intimate and erotic forms.
The Outlander series has been around for a long time and has a large, devoted following. I’m surprised I hadn’t come across it before.
How about you? Have you read the books or are you watching the Starz series? If you’ve read or watched Game of Thrones, chances are you will enjoy these as well.
Here’s a fun and sexy music video that will get you into the mood for romance.