Book Review and Blog Tour: The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips

Thursday, May 27, 2010 Posted by Dina N

Book Description
From the bestselling author of The Rossetti Letter comes a “thrilling” (Library Journal) novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge, England.

London, 1672. A vicious killer stalks the court of Charles II, inscribing the victims’ bodies with mysterious markings. Are the murders the random acts of a madman? Or the violent effects of a deeply hidden conspiracy?

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 the seventeenth-century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king’s mistress. Through the arcane collections of Cambridge’s most eminent libraries, Claire and fellow historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Hannah left behind, uncovering secrets of London’s dark past and Cambridge’s murky present and discovering that the events of three hundred years ago still have consequences today. . . .

My Review
The Devlin Diary is a sequel of sorts to The Rosetti Letter. Although I have not read the earlier book, I had no difficulty following this one. A masterful storyteller, Christi Phillips weaves her fascinating story in 17th century London and 21st century Cambridge. The mystery unfolds slowly, the tension builds, and the identity of the criminals remains impossible to guess until the final pages. I found the description of city life in the late 1600s particularly riveting. The contrast between the luxurious yet pointless life of the courtiers and the hard, graphic poverty of the lower classes is striking.

Hannah Devlin, a strong and proud woman who has devoted her life to serving those who would find access to medical care an impossibility, is at the center of the events over 300 years ago. Through Hannah's journal, modern-day historian Claire Donovan uncovers a conspiracy, secrets and murder that threaten to make or break her career and deeply affect her own life. The parallel between the two female characters is unavoidable. Both headstrong, smart and beautiful, Hannah and Claire team up across the divide of time and history to bring an old mystery to light - and a modern crime to its resolution.

Disclosure / Disclaimer: No monetary compensation was provided for this post. I received a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and may differ from yours. Book information courtesy of Simon & Schuster. 


  1. LAMusing said...

    sounds fascinating :)

  2. Natalie W said...

    I read this last year and loved it! Her other book is on my must read list.

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