The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips

Hannah Devlin is a physician in 1672 London. Although it is illegal for women to administer physick, Hannah is well learned in medicine thanks to her physician parents. She has found a calling in taking care of the poor and aiding them with their everyday maladies. She has found that this calling helps her cope with her life's misfortunes, she has lost her husband, baby daughter and, most recently, her father. One night, Hannah is whisked away by Lord Arlington (Secretary of State) and is forced to help him and the King's mistress with an unfortunate ailment... it's either that or prison for illegally practicing medicine. While at Court, she meets Dr. Edward Strathern but she has also been brought to the attention of the College of Physicians. She now knows her days as a doctor are almost at an end... that is, until several courtiers start turning up dead and Dr. Strathern convinces her that this conspiracy dealt with her late father and even possibly the King himself.

Claire Donovan has just landed the job of her dreams. She has been asked to temporarily teach history at Trinity College in Cambridge, year 2008. Her new job entails speaking about her favorite subject (history), a beautiful set of rooms, and a key to all of the college's libraries and storage rooms. One day she stumbles upon an old diary written in code and discusses it with a colleague over dinner. Shortly thereafter it comes to her attention that this professor has stolen her ideas for decoding the diary and is writing a book about it. She confronts him about his sleazy ways and succumbs to her anger by punching him in the nose - but is still at a loss about what to do about her stolen ideas... it's her word versus his. That is easily resolved since the guy is found dead the next day; the only problem, he is found dead with a copy from a page out of the diary saying "Pay Up". With the help of Andrew Kent, it is up to them to discover what could this centuries old diary reveal that would lead to murder three hundred years later.

Ms. Phillips did her homework on this one. It was very interesting to read about Charles II's England. It's a time that I know little about, so it was definitely a learning experience for me. I loved reading Hannah's chapters - they were detailed to the point where you felt as if you were walking down the road through seventeenth century London. Ms. Phillips is quite a story teller and I was wholly immersed in the story just after a couple of chapters. Full of mystery, intrigue and suspense - I found it difficult to put down.

From what I have read, Claire Donovan is also the heroine in Ms. Phillips' previous book, The Rosetti Letter. I still have not had an opportunity to read it (although I have a copy of it on my shelves - horray for Pocket Books), but I would like to make note that this did not affect or alter my opinion on this book whatsoever. This can be read as a stand-alone book without a problem.

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, with lots of murder and mayhem and a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I loved it and I'm sure you will too.


Harvee said...

I couldn't put down the book either. Such a good storyteller!

The Reading Momster said...

i love historical fiction and i m sue i will like this one! thank u for the recommendation!

Vanessa Book ♥ Soulmates said...

Wasn't it great?!? I cannot wait to read The Rossetti Letter! BTW, we're going to B&N tomorrow, so tell your hubby you're going with us! LOL. I want to get The Rossetti Letter and the Physicks one that you have. B&N sent out a coupon for that one :) YAY! (AS IF I NEEDED MORE BOOKS...JEEZ)


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I've been seeing a lot of good reviews on this book; i have it and need to get to it soon.

Beth F said...

I reviewed Rossetti Letters instead of DD. I really enjoyed and am looking forward to this one.

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