Astute observers will remember that Diana Gabaldon's Outlander was part of Romance February Part Deux. Astute observers will also note that it is now March. Ehn, I read it anyway. It was pretty great
This was my first time-travel romance: heroine Claire Beauchamp Duncan, on a belated post-WWII honeymoon with her husband Frank, walks through a split standing stone in the Scottish countryside and finds herself in 1743. So it's also my first Highlander romance! (I mean, not counting the movie Highlander, which I also just watched recently, and which was also pretty great.) And oh, what a hero! Jamie Fraser is red-headed and brave and sweet and virginal and seriously, I'm all swoon-y, I'm gonna stop with the adjectives. I love his relationship with Claire--she's trained as a combat nurse and keeps patching him up; with her sexual experience, this gives her a physical dominance of him that's very novel and very erotic. They have adventures and English-Scottish-intrigue and whatnot, but really, it's about their Love That Transcends Time *shiver*. And no, Claire doesn't forget about Frank. Her emotional turmoil at being trapped away from him and outside of her own time is very real. In fact, all the emotion is very well-drawn, and the sprawling cast of characters is smoothly handled. Even at 845 pages in mass-market format, it's a quick and enjoyable read.
Two things I didn't care for, though--but they are so very, very spoilery I'm gonna hide them in white text. You should read the book anyway.
One, the villain of the piece--Frank's ancestor, Captain Jonathan Randall, didn't really have to be from the *Depraved Homosexual school of character, did he? (Warning: that asterisk leads to a TV Tropes link. Which, as they say, will ruin your life.) I mean, I understand that sadistic, villainous gay men exist--but it makes me uncomfortable when a fictional character's violence and cruelty is so inextricably linked to his same-sex desires. (Although it's kind of a nice change of pace that the hero gets raped. I mean, not "nice," but interesting from a "consumer of narrative" viewpoint. Also, that TV Tropes link claims it's averted in later books in the series. Hmmmm.)
Also, it's LAME that the book ends with Claire pregnant, when she was having trouble conceiving in the 20th century. Babies are boring in sexytimes books, so there.