First, let me say that everytime I read the title I hear the voice of that red-haired kid from 'Children of the Corn' screaming "OUTLANDER!!!"
Beyond that, it took me three attempts to read this book. The first two times I couldn't get past page 100 on my nook. For the third attempt I got it from the library and started out at the page I had been stopping (tricky, eh?). I'm not sure if it was because it was a physical book or because I was determined to finish this time - but I actually got into the story and was able to finish in a few days.
I'm a person that enjoys historical romances - I claim to like other genres but these are my favorite. So unlike some people, I wasn't put off by the sex scenes (tame compared to a lot of the books I've read) or even the "spanking" scene (again, worse things happen in other books I've read). Overall the book wasn't bad, it held my interest on this latest try. I think it would benefit from editing - there were many parts of the book that the author went about 20-30 pages too long, Lallybroch especially.
It was evident that the author spent a great deal of time researching her setting - and it was appreciated! I enjoyed learning about life in Scotland during the 1700s. She also managed to create two characters that seemed very real in Jamie and Claire. While aspects of their relationship seemed false (Claire basically forgetting about Frank after being married to Jamie for two seconds), for the most part they had a believeable relationship.
I think the key to reading this book is to have no expectations (I realize that this is hard since sooo many people claim to love it), but to be aware that there is a reason it is sometimes shelved in the "romance" section. I'm not a big fan of Scotland as a setting, but I've read that the series goes to America and other places later - so I'll continue for at least a book or two. Plus, I've already picked up the second installment at Borders (RIP)