The Devlin Diary – Christi Phillips

Title: The Devlin Diary
Author: Christi Phillips
ISBN: 9781416527398
Pages: 448
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Publisher: Pocket
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

From the publisher’s website:

London, 1672. The past twelve years have brought momentous changes: the restoration of the monarchy, a devastating plague and fire. Yet the city remains a teeming, thriving metropolis, energized by the lusty decadence of Charles II’s court and burgeoning scientific inquiry. Although women enjoy greater freedom, they are not allowed to practice medicine, a restriction that physician Hannah Devlin evades by treating patients that most other doctors shun: the city’s poor.

But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Arlington desperately needs. At the king’s Machiavellian court, Hannah attracts the attention of two men, charming courtier Ralph Montagu and anatomist Dr. Edward Strathern, as well as the attention of the powerful College of Physicians, which views her work as criminal. When two influential courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation by Dr. Strathern, who believes the murders conceal a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah’s late father and the king himself.

Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan’s dream come true — until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor’s unsolved murder is a seventeenth century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king’s mistress. With help from the eclectic collections of Cambridge’s renowned libraries, Claire and historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Devlin left behind, uncovering secrets of London’s dark past and Cambridge’s equally murky present, and discovering that events of three hundred years ago may still have consequences today….

A suspenseful and richly satisfying tale brimming with sharply observed historical detail, The Devlin Diary brings past and present to vivid life. With wit and grace, Christi Phillips holds readers spellbound with an extraordinary novel of secrets, obsession, and the haunting power of the past.

For me, The Rossetti Letter, Christi Phillips’ first novel, was one of those random finds in a bookstore.  I picked it up based solely on the cover and the description, and I’m so glad I did.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I was thrilled to discover that Christi Phillips was writing a sequel.  When Pocket Books announced their first blog tour would be The Devlin Diary, I immediately signed up.

The Devlin Diary was a well-written historical mystery that I enjoyed.  I liked the main character, Hannah, and enjoyed getting to know her through the novel.  Additionally, the time period of the novel, the reign of Charles II, is a time I don’t know that much about.  Therefore, I feel like I learned a lot from this book.

I also liked visiting with Claire Donovan again.  She was my favorite part of the first novel; I can’t really say she was my favorite part of this one as well, simply because I feel like I didn’t get to see enough of her.  The focus in The Devlin Diary leans very heavily on the historical.  I missed seeing her and wished that the present day storyline had been more thoroughly developed.  As a result, I don’t think it’s necessary to read The Rossetti Letter before reading The Devlin Diary; Claire Donovan simply isn’t integral enough to the storyline to make it matter.

While The Devlin Diary seemed overly long in places, it was a well-thought out historical mystery.  I definitely was hooked, racing to find out who the murderer really was.  The novel was intricately constructed; Phillips must have undertaken a lot of research in order to write this book.  I definitely recommend The Devlin Diary to any historical fiction fans!

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review!

Comments

  1. I too learned a lot from the book. I plan to read the Rossetti Letter. Hope you will visit my author interview with Christi Phillips.

  2. I too learned a lot from the book. I plan to read the Rossetti Letter. Hope you will visit my author interview with Christi Phillips.

  3. I really like this book and couldn’t put it down. I have to go back and read THE ROSETTI LETTER now, especially if you liked it even more than this one!

  4. I really like this book and couldn’t put it down. I have to go back and read THE ROSETTI LETTER now, especially if you liked it even more than this one!

  5. I definitely need to check this book out. Have a safe trip tomorrow!

  6. I definitely need to check this book out. Have a safe trip tomorrow!

  7. I felt the same way about Claire–and because it felt like she wasn’t that important in this one, I wanted to skip the sections with her in it so I could get back to Hannah… Overall though, I really did like the book.

  8. I felt the same way about Claire–and because it felt like she wasn’t that important in this one, I wanted to skip the sections with her in it so I could get back to Hannah… Overall though, I really did like the book.

  9. I am seeing some good reviews for this one. It did not strike me at first, but it is growing on me.

  10. I am seeing some good reviews for this one. It did not strike me at first, but it is growing on me.

  11. I can’t wait to read this one, I really liked the Rossetti Letter.

  12. I can’t wait to read this one, I really liked the Rossetti Letter.

  13. I liked The Rossetti Letter a little better too. I missed not seeing as much of Claire in this one.

  14. I liked The Rossetti Letter a little better too. I missed not seeing as much of Claire in this one.

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