Patti K's Reviews > Lord John and the Private Matter

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
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Feb 24, 2011

really liked it
Read from February 17 to 24, 2011

I've always been fond of Lord John Grey in the Outlander stories, so I'm predisposed, I guess, to enjoy learning more of his story. In that sense, this was a good story to me, personally. However, I have friends who also read Outlander and I promised I would give my opinion on the first entry of the Lord John books in regards to the main body of the Outlander story, so the rest of this review really focuses on this aspect.

First, I will say that if you haven't read all of the Outlander novels to date, you may have less of an appreciation for the story. The biggest reason for this is that An Echo in the Bone adds Lord John's point of view (and thus, his thoughts and his story) to the greater part of the Jamie/Claire saga. Having just finished that recently, I not only felt comfortable with his voice I also could see where the details of this particular story will later come into play in Outlander.

It's interesting, too, that Jamie is present in so many ways throughout the story. Lord John has recently returned to London from his time in Scotland, where he became a friend to Jamie Fraser. Just before this story is when John last left Jamie at Helwater. Bits of Jamie and Claire's story are woven into John's story in many ways, literally and figuratively. If you've heard Diana Gabaldon talk about the importance of Lord John Grey in the story of our two lovers, you know she considers him to be a crucial part of their story. I can tell you she isn't saying this just to get you to buy or read the Lord John books.

That said, I've only just read the one book thus far, but I have a feeling as I read more of them, I will only confirm my opinion that understanding Lord John Grey and his story outside his direct connection to the Frasers is very beneficial to anyone that is a big fan of their story. Before I even read this book, I knew what was happening with John in An Echo in the Bone will play a VERY big role in the next Outlander story. After reading it, I am absolutely certain of this. If you want to feel like you're really in the know when you read her next book, read the Lord John stories. The next in this series to go to press is called Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner...if you're a fan, if you've read all the Outlander books, you have to know that person is Jamie Fraser. You'll want to read that story, I'm sure of it, and you'll want to know what's happened with John Grey in the years between when he knew Jamie at Ardsmuir and when Book 8 takes place.

Finally, if one of the reasons you love Diana Gabaldon's books is because you enjoy her writing, you will not be disappointed when you read this series. The quality is the same, though the stories are shorter. If you are wary of the books because of the fact that John Grey is gay I can tell you, at least in this story, you won't feel like you're reading gay porn. I know there are some explicit scenes in the Outlander books, but her aim here is not, I don't think, to write for a gay character so much as to explore the life of John Grey. The fact that he IS gay cannot be overlooked, and in many ways, does come into play, but it is not the specific focus of this story. I don't want to give away too much, in case someone has not yet read book #7 of Outlander, but what happens in this story plays a key role in that story, too.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book for its own sake, but I loved learning more about the greater picture of what is the Outlander story. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
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