Gabaldon-Lord-John-and-the-Private-MatterLord John and the Private Matter is the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John series. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed most of Gabaldon’s Outlander series. While I am waiting for the next book in the Outlander series to come out, I decided to check out the Lord John series. The Lord John series focuses on Lord John Grey, a minor character in the Outlander series, which revolves around Jaime and Claire.

If you like the quick pace of the Outlander series, the Georgian era, mystery novels, and homosexual characters, you’ll love Lord John and the Private Matter. There is a lot of action in this novel, which is significantly shorter than those in the Outlander series (a blessing or a curse, depending on your love of long books). There are horrible murders, interviews with prostitutes, spies, and many plot twists that lead to a satisfying ending. Especially intriguing was a visit to a classic English gentleman’s club with a secret, where gentlemen could love each other (nicely named the Lavender Club).

In addition to action, it also gives the reader a better understanding of Lord John Grey, a homosexual officer in the English army as England is building her empire. I found his inner thoughts fascinating, especially as he kept a stiff upper lip to other characters throughout the book.

One complaint I had about Lord John and the Private Matter is that it may imitate the language of the times too well – some passages are very dense with euphemism, and it took second or third readings to figure out what was going on. The plot was also quite intricate, which is appealing to many but does tend to confuse me. There are two sexy scenes, but no sex happens in the text, so some readers may be disappointed if they are expecting the “spice factor” of the Outlander novels.

Overall, a great read. An interesting historical mystery starring a gay man, with lots of action in a sexy-but-no-sex context.

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