Former United States Senator and current member of the Clinton-Presidential complex Hillary Clinton released her second memoir, Hard Choices, last Tuesday. The book covers Clinton’s years serving as Secretary of State under President Obama, diving into topics like her appointment following a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, her management of the United States’ response to the Arab Spring uprisings, and the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. These are interesting topics all—but not as interesting as the tale of a time-traveling nurse, as featured in Diana Gabaldon’s Written In My Heart’s Own Blood.
The eighth novel in Gabaldon’s long-running Outlander series (soon to be a TV series on Starz), Written In My Heart’s Own Blood was released on the same day as Hard Choices and sold 88,751 hardcover copies in its first week. Hard Choices sold just 3,030 copies less, a minor upset that the former First Lady is likely trying not to take as a sign for any future presidential bids.
It’s unusual for a fiction title to sell more hard copies than a nonfiction one, but its success can be explained by a side-by-side comparison. The Outlander series tells the story of Claire Randall, a World War II-era combat nurse who’s transported back in time to 18th-century Scotland where she becomes enamored of a young, dashing soldier named James Fraser. The latest volume finds the pair in crisis, as they try to reconnect amidst the tumult of the American Revolution.
Hard Choices, though doubtlessly full of diverting anecdotes, has no time travel. The more time travel Clinton can fit in between now and her next memoir, the better for her and her publisher.