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The Devlin Diary (Claire Donovan #2)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  1,973 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews

From the acclaimed author of The Rossetti Letter comes a dazzling novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge.

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 met

Hardcover, 427 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Pocket (first published April 14th 2009)
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May 09, 2013 Cynthia rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. I completely expected this book to be a formulaic, light read, and therefore read it for entertainment/distraction purposes whenever I could squeeze a few minutes in during an 80 hour work week.

This book is terrible. I hated that it was written in the present tense (even the historical part). There were too many characters that weren't worth keeping track of. The author really should have kept the story tighter and eliminated them. There were huge sections that I started s
Fantastic historical fiction story! Two different centuries, two strong, clever female protagonists, two murders, and two hot beds of political intrigue. What more could a reader ask for?!

London, 1672 - Hannah Devlin is a woman doctor in a time when women cannot legally practice medicine. But since she mainly treats the poor and indigent, nobody gives her any trouble. Until, that is the King's Secretary of State forces Hannah to come to Court and use some special knowledge she alone possesses.

Aug 03, 2009 Roz rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book this morning and I have learned a lot about my own reading habits from this plot: I seem to read an AWFUL LOT of historical fiction (if I hadn't categorized so many titles, I probably would not have noticed this fact), most frequently BRITISH. I also seem to enjoy parallel time periods: someone doing scholarship or stumbling upon a mystery in present day, only to find correlations to something in the past. Needless to say, I am going to have to investigate this author's ...more
Feb 22, 2009 Michelle rated it it was ok
The story is told through parallel story lines, one set in the 1670s and the other in the present day. I've discovered that I prefer historical fiction told straight without the back and forth to the present, and the reason is simple...the characters I like from the past are already dead. Their stories are over even as you are discovering them!
The Devlin Diary started off at a good clip, featuring, of course, a strong-willed and ahead-of-her-time female physician named Hannah Devlin. The writin
Sep 10, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction and historical mysteries
Shelves: anglophilia
I definitely enjoyed reading this book enough to seek out Christi Phillips earlier book, The Rosetti Letter. The Devlin Diary had a number of interesting aspects: the dual time frames, alternating between intrigue in Restoration England and modern-day academia in Cambridge; an interesting and somewhat flawed main character in Hannah Devlin, working as a physician at a time when women were not actually permitted to do so; some very interesting period detail outside of the main characters' ...more
Another good read by Christi Phillips. Claire Donovan returns in this novel to Trinity College in England. This time she will be uncovering mysteries within the college and within the court of King Charles II, both full of intrigue, jealousies and murder! The 17th century heroine is Hannah Devlin, a woman physician hired to treat the king's mistress and while doing that stumbles into the mystery of King Charles's sister's death. Claire Donovan finds a diary that has the key to the conspiracy ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Debye rated it it was amazing
a page-turner for me
I haven't read The Rossetti Letter, so I approached The Devlin Diary as a standalone novel. On its own, The Devlin Diary is a satisfying read.

The book opens in 1670 in the Palace of Saint-Cloud in Paris at the sickbed of Princess Henriette-Anne, the wife of the Duc d'Orlean, sister-in-law to King Louis XIV of France and sister to King Charles Stuart of England. Princess Henriette-Anne has suddenly fallen sick and is in great pain, it is clear that she is not expected to live much longer. Surroun
May 27, 2010 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2010, historical
Claire Donovan, a visiting history professor at Cambridge University, is in over her head. After helping historian Andrew Kent to uncover a centuries old secret as told in Christi Phillips' previous novel, The Rossetti Letter , she's now at Cambridge upon Andrew's request but instead of enjoying her time in the history-filled campus, she's feeling out of place and abandoned. Awkwardly alone in such an unfamiliar, traditional English environment, it's not until she stumbles upon the diary of one ...more
Vanessa {Book ♥ Soulmates}
From the acclaimed author of The Rossetti Letter comes a dazzling novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge.

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
Jun 29, 2009 Nely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
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 ...more
May 27, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
From My Blog...

Intellectually stimulating, enticing, and deeply intriguing, The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips will have the reader engrossed before the end of the first page.

Claire Donovan is fulfilling her dream; she is an official temporary lecturer at Trinity College with no small thanks to Dr. Andrew Kent. All things considered, her beginning is not an auspicious one, yet she is enjoying her time and has discovered a brilliant idea for a paper. The only problem is that in her enthusiasm,
Lizzie Hayes
Sep 01, 2012 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing
‘The Devlin Diary’ by Christie Phillips
Published by Pocket Books, February 2010. ISBN: 978-1-84739-348-7

Claire Donovan arrives as a temporary lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge the Tuesday before Michaelmas term. She can hardly believe her good fortune, and knows that she is here because of Andrew Kent whom she met at an academic conference in Venice. During their five days in Venice they had solved a four-hundred-year old mystery. He had offered her a temporary osition at Trinity, and they
Aug 23, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Synopsis: London, 1672. A vicious killer stalks the court of Charles II, inscribing his victims' bodies with mysterious markings. Are the murders the random acts of a madman? Or the consequences of a deeply hidden conspiracy? Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Clari 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 ...more
Christina (Reading Extensively)
Hannah Devlin is a fascinating character. An early female doctor in a time when women weren't allowed to practice medicine, Hannah is seen as an anomaly. She is forced to provide discreet medical treatment to a mistress of King Charles II or she'll face imprisonment for practicing medicine without a license. Hannah is an incredibly intelligent and brave young woman. She is a widow and the sole source of support for her mother since her father was murdered the year before. I admired Hannah's ...more
Maia B.
Jun 24, 2011 Maia B. rated it liked it
After the disappointment of The Rossetti Letter, I wasn't expecting much from this book. It surprised me by being better than I'd thought it would be, but nothing extravagantly wonderful. (At the same time I was reading this book, I was finishing Annemarie Selinko's Désirée, so the extravagant wonderfulness of that might have altered my opinion one way or another.) The book switches between present-day Cambridge and the England of 1672, which was described much more fully and convincingly than i ...more
Nicole Mcbride
Jun 06, 2013 Nicole Mcbride rated it liked it
Synopsis: A novel that combines two storylines between London 1672 and Cambridge 2008 with murder and mystery. Hannah, a woman doctor during Charles II reign in London, is unwillingly brought into a mystery that involves the violent murders of several men high within the political good graces of the King's court. Centuries later, Hannah's personal diary is found by another strong woman guest teaching at Trinity College. Claire finds herself in a similar situation when one of her colleagues is ...more
May 27, 2010 Cinnamon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
Imagine a time where women have finally gained some freedoms - some, not all. Many restrictions have been lifted from them except the ability to practice medicine. Now picture yourself as an intelligent woman, versed in medicine, desperate to treat the poor who pass you every day in various stages of sickness and there isn't a single thing you can do about it. This is the situation Hannah Devlin faces. Of course, she practices her medicine earlier although the discovery of which can have ...more
Jun 15, 2010 Katharine rated it it was ok
My mom also lent me this for plane reading on my way back home from Italy – it was her trip book, but she'd finished it. The Devlin Diary is one of those historical mysteries which is divided between the historical characters and the modern day historians who are discovering their story (in an old diary, OF COURSE), in alternating chapters. Honestly I don't know why anyone even bothers to try this format. It's impossible to do it as well as Possession did, so you just risk being compared unfla ...more
Michelle (Undeniably Book Nerdy)
The Devlin Diary is essentially the story of two women. This is one of those books that despite its length, I read the last sentence wishing it went on even though the end is quite satisfying without loose ends. Seamlessly told through parallel story lines, the author takes the reader to Restoration-era London where Hannah Devlin, a female physician, is called upon by Lord Arlington to treat the king's mistress of the clap (aka gonorrhea). She soon finds herself in the middle of court intrigue ...more
Nov 12, 2012 Dana rated it liked it
The Devlin Diary" was a historical fiction murder mystery that intertwined the lives of Claire in present day London and Hannah in 1672 London very well. I liked Claire's character immediately, as she struggles with simple decisions that surround her as she starts to become attracted to some of the other professors teaching with her at Trinity College in England. A reader could easily identify with her wit and personality from the first page. Likewise, Hannah's strength and courage is ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
In The Rossetti Letter, Christi Phillips's first novel, readers met American grad student Claire Donovan and English academic Andrew Kent, as they puzzled out a literary Renaissance mystery together in Venice. They made a good research team, and were frankly attracted to one another, but the chemistry wasn't quite what it needed to be. In The Devlin Diary, Claire and Andrew meet again at Cambridge University, where Andrew, a fellow, has arranged for Claire to teach on a temporary basis. Once ag ...more
Mar 19, 2015 April rated it really liked it
After having read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, when I (randomly!) picked this one off my bookshelf and realized that it was another book that alternated past/present storylines, also about a women physician in the late 1600s, I was worried that it would be as bad as The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (hereby shortened to TPHoDD). But lo and behold! it was a bit better.

Like TPHoDD, the present-day story line follows an academic -- Claire, who has her PhD in history. She has begun worki
Jun 08, 2014 Marisa rated it it was amazing
This is Phillip's second book- the first was written in the same style following a present day historian and a past mystery. Ever since I'd read her first I've been anxious to read her next one. I had to wait a few years (mostly because I was waiting for the library to pick it up and then I got distracted and forgot I was waiting for it)but it was well worth the wait! I just finished reading this book in two days. It was written for adults (a deviation from my recent youth genre focus) so the ...more
I love it when I just look at a book and know it's something I want to read. That was the case with this book. It was in the window of an Express Border's marked down to $3.99. Something about it appealed to me. And it turns out it was well worth the $4. The basic plot is a doule murder mystery—one that took place in 1672 in the court of Charles II and the other at Trinity College in modern times. The story alternates between a diary written by a female physician in the 17th century and a modern ...more
May 27, 2010 Chrissy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I like historical fiction and this one has proven to be a good one. This is the first book I have read for this author and I had heard nothing but good about her so I was excited to read The Devlin Diary. This book flips from London 1672 and Cambridge 2008. The author wrote this in such away that I was able to follow along when they would flip.

This story is about a present day unsolved murder that links back to the 1700's threw Hannah Devlin Diary who was a physician to the kings mistress back i
Jan 10, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I loved The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips. Claire Donovan has just made her way to Cambridge and is looking for something to write her next paper on. She stumbles upon an encrypted diary and becomes intrigued.

The diary belongs to Hannah Devlin who practices medicine in the seventeenth century. She is unwillingly brought to take care of the king's favorite mistress. Soon several bodies start showing up with different symbols carved into their chests. Hannah and Dr. Edward Strathern find themse
May 13, 2009 Sharon rated it really liked it
Christi Phillips' second novel, "The Devlin Diary," features American historian Claire Donovan coming to Cambridge University as an instructor on temporary assignment. Like the fellows, she is required to not only teach a full complement of students but also to perform and publish original research.

While looking for ideas in the library, Claire finds an encoded diary. She hand copies several of the pages and shows them to Derek Goodman, another instructor. He tells her that he is already doing r
Jan 22, 2010 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: stuarts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought for sure I'd read the Rossetti Letter, and jumped right into this follow up. But my reading record doesn't show that I read it and I certainly didn't realize that this was "Claire Donovan #2" - in other words a continuation of a central character following a new story.

I love these books that span a historical mystery from past to present with someone in the present doing research and solving a mystery from the past. In the Devlin Diary, Claire has just come to Cambridge as a temporary
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Christi Phillips lives in the San Francisco Bay area of America. Her interest in European history has led her all over the continent. The Devlin Diary is her second novel.
More about Christi Phillips...

Other Books in the Series

Claire Donovan (2 books)
  • The Rossetti Letter (Claire Donovan #1)

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“Although she was a logical, practical person, she believed that in books there existed a kind of magic. Between the aging covers on these shelves, contained in tiny, abstract black marks on sheets of paper, were voices from the past. Voices that reached into the future, into Claire's own heart and mind, to tell her what they knew, what they'd learned, what they'd seen, what they'd felt. Wasn't that magic?” 20 likes
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