With time travel, an irresistible setting, and sweeping romance, Outlander has become a worldwide phenomenon known for its strong characters and breathtaking romance between main character Claire Beauchamp–also endearingly known as Sassenach–and Highlander Jaime Fraser.
About Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The basic premise of the first novel is this: Claire Beauchamp, a recently married nurse in the World War II era, accidentally travels back to 18th-century Scotland on her honeymoon where she meets and eventually romances Scottish Warrior Jaime Fraser against a backdrop of action, espionage, and adventure.
The series follows these characters as decisions are made between desire and loyalty, head and heart, and two husbands: one of the past, and one of the present–and the question of which one is which. The eight other books in the series continue the epic story of Claire and Jamie’s journeys and love story.
The author, Diana Gabaldon, started the series in 1991 and has since published 9 of the 10 books she’s plotted. In 2012 the rights were sold to Sony Pictures Television, which along with Starz, has produced and developed several award-winning seasons.
About the Historical Fantasy Book Genre
The Historical Fantasy Romance genre has amassed a loyal and passionate fanbase over the past few decades. One of the reasons for Outlander‘s staggering success lies in its ability to take common tropes and confound them in a new and exciting way for readers.
In short, historical fiction is any book set in a specific time period of the past; fantasy is any book with elements of magic, whether it’s time travel or fire-breathing dragons; and romance is the most popular genre on the planet, centering around at least two characters going through the conflict of the plot while falling in love.
The combination of these three major genres into one book makes for an entertaining epic that keeps readers on their toes and skeptical of reaching for their bookmarks.
Continue flipping the pages with these 20 Outlander read-alikes that will make you fall in love with a time period, a place, and the characters who fall in love with each other.
20 Books Like Outlander
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Like Outlander, A Court of Thorns and Roses begins with the main character Feyre whisked away to another land. There, she must use her keen senses to stay alive and discern the truth behind the faerie world and the love she finds there.
In 2021, the current five-book series was picked up for a television adaptation by 20th Television for Hulu. Ronald D. Moore, who adapted the Outlander television show, works alongside Maas in writing the scripts. You can get the first book here.
Similarities: New land, strong female characters, smut, adventure, a television adaptation
Midnight’s Master by Donna Grant
Gwynn Austin’s father disappeared on a trip to Scotland, and in an attempt to bring him home, she journeys to the land where he disappeared. There she meets a handsome and powerful Highlander who uses Druid Magic to time travel.
This book is perfect for Outlander fans who love the setting of Scotland and the steamy romance between a Highlander and a traveler with a twist of time. Midnight’s Master is the first book in the Dark Warriors series.
Similarities: Scotland, time travel, romance, fantasy, smut
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Kell is an Antari–someone with the ability to travel between three different London realms. Red London is home to Kell and is considered the safest of the three. White London is ever-changing and brutal. Grey London is void of any magic, and Black London… well, no one ever talks about Black London.
It is in Grey London that Kell meets Delilah Bard, a clever thief who gets caught up in the perilous three worlds Kell must walk through. The weight of the three Londons rests on their shoulders as they work together to unravel betrayals and save the world(s).
The adventure and concept of A Darker Shade of Magic heightens the reading experience, and the epic writing is reminiscent of Diana Gabaldon. Great for anyone looking for more fantasy elements and a high-stakes plot.
Similarities: Travel between worlds, adventure, romance, political intrigue
Kindred by Octavia Butler
One of the most prevalent writers of the science fiction field and a prominent Black American writer, Octavia Butler’s historical fantasy novel Kindred tells the story of Dana, a Black woman living in 1976 who is thrown back in time to antebellum Maryland where she faces challenge after challenge as she flips between her present day and the past.
There’s little romance in this novel, but the love between Dana and her husband is not understated. In a book that handles serious content, the couple gives the audience a sense of exhaling and peace whenever they’re reunited.
Similarities: Time travel, television adaptation, high stakes, strong female characters
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
After almost perishing on a battlefield in the 1800s, Lord Nicholas wakes up in modern-day London and encounters a group of fellow time travelers. Ten years in the modern world go by before he is able to return on a secret mission to save the world. There he reencounters Julia, who has secrets of her own. Together, they fall in love and work to cheat the hands of time.
There is a sequel to this novel, and the series is known for being rich in historical detail and its intricate characters.
Similarities: Time travel, strong characters to root for, romance, unraveling secrets
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
The book follows Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, who tries to keep her head low for fear of facing the wrath of her mother. One night she accidentally strikes a deal with Hades, the God of the Underworld, who parallels a rich, mob boss. The deal: if Persephone cannot create life in the Underworld soon, she will be trapped there forever. Falling in love was not part of the bargain.
A Touch of Darkness, the first in this four-book series, is steamy and thick with tension. If you’re looking for a romance-heavy book with familiar touches of Outlander concepts–trapped in a land, forbidden love, and elements of fantasy–this series is for you.
Similarities: Forbidden romance, smut, a twist of setting, mythology
The Ruby Brooch by Katherine Lowry Logan
Everything Kit MacKlenna knows about her identity is false after she finds a mysterious letter and journal. With a magical Celtic brooch, Kit attempts to unravel several mysteries happening in her life and is transported to 1852 Missouri where she meets Scotsman Cullen Montgomery who threatens every part of her quest and heart.
A time travel romance series filled with adventure and reminiscent of Jaime and Clare’s story, the Celtic Brooch series is perfect if you’re looking for your next epic saga while waiting for the final book of Outlander to be released.
Similarities: Scottish hero, time travel, epic adventure, romance
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Much like Jaime in the first Outlander novel, the main character in From Blood and Ash, Poppy, is a virgin. Born into the role of Maiden–a role not of her own choosing that is considered sacred in the kingdom she resides in–Poppy meets Hawke, a guard bound to protect her until her Ascension.
War wages in the distance as Poppy and Hawke must play their respective roles while fighting the forbidden attraction between them.
This wildly popular romance series went viral on TikTok and has amassed an enormous following since.
Similarities: Protective hero, smut, forbidden romance, fantasy, adventure
The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
Spanning two time periods, this novel is based on a true story. In 1629, Mayken boards a ship named the Batavia and quests to find mythical monsters while aboard. In 1989, Gil discovers a shipwreck off the island where he lives in Australia.
Across both time periods, mysteries begin unraveling.
The writing in The Night Ship is beautiful and mystical, sure to enchant readers looking for an atmospheric read.
Similarities: Narrative between times, adventure, fantasy
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
A group of researchers disguises themselves behind the pretense of working for a historical institute, but in reality, they travel back to historical events to collect information. Oftentimes, things go awry and the band of characters must face the consequences of meddling with time.
This book is recommended for readers who love being transported to a multitude of eras with an eye for major historical events. This is the first book in The Chronicles of St. Mary series.
Similarities: Time travel, adventure, fantasy, romance
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
It’s 1920s Shanghai and two rival gangs fuel a blood war. On one side there’s Juliette Cai, the heir to the Scarlet Gang, and on the other side is Roma Montagov, heir to the White Flowers.
A retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the real twist comes in the form of a monster causing city-dwellers to claw their own throats out. The mystery behind it inadvertently brings together old lovers and the two rival gangs.
A darker historical fantasy novel, this duology balances its rich historical setting descriptions with the passionate romance between the leads. The dash of fantasy adds to the high-stakes tale.
Similarities: War, intrigue, forbidden love, fantasy, lush setting
Chance of a Lifetime by Jude Deveraux
A love that transcends time and is frowned upon by the angels. Chance of a Lifetime begins in 1844 Ireland and introduces Liam O’Connor, who falls in love with a girl destined for another. After the angels separate the two in the past, it isn’t until Liam meets Cora in the future that he is tasked with doing the impossible: getting her to fall in love with the man she was always destined to be with.
Deveraux delivers on the theme of choices and the time travel triangle Outlander experiments with. If that’s an element you enjoyed in the Outlander series, this series is perfect for you.
Similarities: Time travel, romance, love triangle, fantasy
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The second series on this list by Sarah J. Maas, this young adult fantasy epic spans nine books and follows imprisoned assassin Celaena Sardothien and a band of characters she encounters as she steps into her own and competes in a competition putting her freedom on the line.
The Throne of Glass series is a slow-burn tale as the characters of this world map out the world and encounter magic, love, and roles they’re not sure they can fill.
Similarities: Epic adventure, strong female characters, romance, fantasy
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Francis Crawford of Lymond is the clever spare son of a nobleman in 1547 who is accused of treason. With only his wit and charm, he must play those around him to insure his survival and save the land he loves. This book takes place in Scotland.
Light on romance, this first book in the Lymond Chronicles is for Outlander fans who enjoyed the secrets, the intricate plot, and the adventure more than the love story. And, of course, a dashing hero.
Similarities: Scotland, strong characters to root for, adventure, espionage
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Holly Black combines fantasy with a modern-day era that feels like historical fiction in a perfect combination of a balancing act–reminiscent of what Outlander does with its two time periods.
Filled with schemes and palace intrigue, the main character, Jude, is brought to a cruel fairy world where she makes a vow: “If [she] cannot become as bad as them, [she] will become so much worse.” Like Claire, Jude is a strong female character often underestimated by her peers, and this allows her to trick and scheme as she goes toe-to-toe with one of Fairie’s cruelest princes.
The web of this plot is one carefully woven, and readers will find themselves ensnared in the tricks the characters pull over one another in an attempt to best their family, friends, and enemies. Get the delightful first book here.
Similarities: Strong female characters, espionage, traveling between lands, political intrigue
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Two dueling circus magicians are pitted against each other in a competition on the circus stage, where only one can be left standing and go on with Le Cirque des Reves, the wandering magical circus that performs only at night. However, the two magicians fall into passionate love and must carefully navigate how to remain alive and together.
Set in the 19th century, The Night Circus tells of old magic versus new magic and is written in powerful prose that entices the reader at every page-turn.
Similarities: Forbidden love, lush setting, fantasy, high stakes
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Weaving Chinese mythology and fantasy, the first book in this duology was inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess.
Xingyin has been hidden on the moon for most of her life until an accident gives her away and she’s forced to flee. She winds up in the Celestial Kingdom, where she trains and falls in love with the prince. Xingyin goes on an expedition that swirls with danger as forces threaten the kingdom.
There are not a lot of books like this one, and the beauty of its writing cannot be understated. The usage of Chinese mythology is reminiscent of Outlander’s use of Celtic myths and legends.
Similarities: Expeditious journey, adventure, mythology, romance, fantasy
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
After her sister Katrina dies, Eva returns to her childhood home in Cornwall where she begins interacting with ghosts from centuries prior who inhabited the house long before her. Eva bounces between time periods while falling in love with Daniel Butler and navigating her grief and the choices she must make.
Susanna Kearsley writes an emotional tale of love and loss and the tightrope between the two her characters must balance on. Less heavy on the adventure and more weighted on the characters’ emotional impact, The Rose Garden is a great standalone novel.
Similarities: Emotional, ghosts of the past, romance
Babel by R. F. Kuang
It’s 1828 when Robin Swift arrives in London to train after the death of his parents. Studying for years to get into a prestigious institute known as Babel, once there Robin learns about the British empire’s power and colonization of other lands, and becomes aware of the Hermes Society, an organization against the Empire.
When a war starts between Britain and China over goods, Robin finds himself making tough choices between his homeland and the land he’s come to know.
There’s not a lot of romance in Babel, unless you squint, but it’s perhaps one of the most famous historical fantasy standalones of the decade, and one filled with intrigue and dark academia.
Similarities: Political intrigue, war, lush setting
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
An arranged marriage is forced between Scottish laird Hawk from the 1600s and Adrienne de Simone from Seattle, who is transported back in time as punishment from a fairy. Beyond the Highland Mist, is the first book in the Highlander series.
If you like Highlander romances to make you swoon, this is your series. Grab the first one here.
Similarities: Highland romance, Scotland, time travel, a marriage of convenience
No matter what elements of Outlander you’re most a fan of, i.e. the romance, the time travel plot, the rich setting, or the adventure of it all, we’re lucky to live in a world full of books offering similar tropes. You simply cannot go wrong with historical fiction blended with romance and fantasy.
Though nothing will ever be quite the same as Diana Gabaldon’s hit series, we hope you find these similar reads worthwhile as you wait for Gabaldon’s next release.
Is Outlander book 9 the last one in the series?
No, the Outlander series is not finished. As of 2023, Diana Gabaldon has published 9 volumes out of the originally planned 10.
In what order should I read the Outlander books?
We recommend reading the Outlander books in the order in which they were published. The order is: Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, An Echo in the Bone, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, and Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.
There are spinoff books titled The Lord John series that can be read separately from the main series starting after Voyager.
How many more books are in the Outlander series?
Diana Gabaldon has alluded to the possibility of more books after she finishes writing the tenth volume, which was originally planned to be the last one in the Outlander series. A set number has not been finalized.
How many seasons of Outlander are there?
There are currently 6 seasons of the Outlander television series, with a seventh season on the way.
When will season 7 of Outlander come out?
The teaser for Outlander Season 7 was released on January 23. There will be 16 episodes and the season will follow the plot of Echo in the Bone, the seventh book in the series. The cast started filming in the summer of 2022.
What are the most popular historical romance novels?
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
3. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
4. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
6. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
7. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
8. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
9. The Duchess by Daniela Steele
10. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
Is the Outlander series considered a historical fiction book?
Yes, it’s both historical fiction and historical romance.
Is Outlander similar to historical romance novel The Time Traveler’s Wife?
Yes, in parts. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a 2003 romance novel by American author Audrey Niffenegger. The novel follows the main character named Claire, a young woman from present-day Chicago. She falls in love with Henry, a man with a strange genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, setting the stage for the main plot of this New York Times bestseller.
The novel explores themes of love, loss, and the power of fate. It combines strong romance and time-travel elements, broken hearts, present day demands, swoon-worthy characters, and a lot of fun twists of the tropes usually featured in historical romance novels.
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