Lord John and the Private Matter

By Diana Gabaldon

I quite like an historical novel now and then. I particularly enjoyed Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, for instance. But LJatPM is probably not a historical novel as I know it but part of one particular sub-genre of the genre: the researched-to-death-no-need-for-a-plot historical novel.

The author boasts about her research in the preface, and for all I know she did her job, but what she managed to produce did not seem more accurate to me than Pendragon — Late of Prince Albert’s Own. There is next to no story; the writing is turgid and inelegant.q

The author also boasts that she has written a short book, this time. One would think that false modesty at 474 pages, but the letterpress is of a size that would not be out of places for a pre-school book, so it probably is quite short.

Which would have been a mercy had I felt compelled to actually finish it, but I didn’t feel compelled, and didn’t finish it. I understand the author is quite popular; perhaps she does a better job when she isn’t constrained by lack of space — but on the other hand, she might just as well be another Robert Jordan.