Outlander is the first novel of the series and sets up the framework quite nicely but I also feel it could easily be a stand alone novel. Her later novels in the series do leave you hanging a bit at the end but I’ve always loved how this novel finishes and doesn’t leave one completely in the dark. The series is currently up to 7 books and the next will be released next year (which I am anxiously awaiting for as the last ending was a cliffhanger). If you start this series, make sure you have time eked out in your reading schedule because I almost promise you that you will not want to stop at one.
This series follows Jamie, a Scottish Highlander from the 1700’s and Claire, a time traveler from the 1940’s. I will try not to spoil too much for you (a HUGE pet peeve of mine when reading online reviews) but I will say there are a few other people that the story involves as the series progresses. When someone told me what this book was about I kind of rolled my eyes thinking it’d be too over the top but I must say this is one of the best written fantasies I’ve ever read. The time travel in this book is completely believable and makes sense in a way. Since I love history, I also enjoy how Gabaldon intertwines history with Jamie and Claire. It’s hard to describe but trust me when I say it’s well done and you’ll feel like you were there alongside them for much of the major events.
If you like Outlander, you also may want to check out Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John series which is a series of novels about a minor character from the Outlander series (none but The Scottish Prisoner involve Jamie but he is referenced here and there). These novels are MUCH quicker reads than their Outlander brothers. I also would recommend Sara Donati’s Into the Wilderness series as well. There are a few minor characters that are in the Wilderness and Outlander novels and they have a lot of similar elements (I believe the authors are friends). This series just wrapped up last year and I was so sad to see it go. That being said, it’s one of my favorite endings of a series ever.