The Devlin Diary
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The Devlin Diary (Claire Donovan #2)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,536 ratings  ·  269 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...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Pocket Books (first published April 14th 2009)
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Cynthia
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...more
Roz
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
Chris
Sep 10, 2010 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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' experti...more
Kristen
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.

Th...more
Michelle
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...more
Christine
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 beh...more
Jess
I think that the historical aspect of this book is a novel unto itself and that the present day really didn't need to be included except for the story continuation from the Rossetti Letter. It was plainly obvious how the present day would play out - but the historical aspect had much more merit. The present day characters while fitting to largesse stereotypes of both Americans and English were so to a 't' everything expected it's like the author looked at a list on mental-floss of 'funny things...more
Ayushi
I wish this story was set entirely in the 17th century, as those parts were a hundred per cent more compelling than the present-day Cambridge parts. There was enough intrigue and counter-intrigue in the historical parts, and the additional Cambridge intrigue was entirely unnecessary.

I'm not opposed to this kind of a plot, even. I love campus novels! I thought it would be like Possession: professors teaming up and solving historical puzzles/mysteries. But good god Andrew and Claire were so colou...more
Louise
The Devlin Diary weaves the contemporary story of Claire Donovan, a history fellow at Trinity College who has stumbled onto a mysterious diary, together with the 17th century tale of a series of unsolved murders. The plot thickens when one of Claire's colleagues is found dead, and Claire and her handsome, reserved colleague Andrew Kent (I'm thinking Benedict Cumberbatch here, ladies), must solve the murders, both past and present, together.

The beguile of dusty books in forgotten corners of cent...more
Michelle (Michelle&Leslie's Book Picks)
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 a...more
Cinnamon
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 crimina...more
Theresa
Out of all the genres, historical fiction and mysteries are my favorite. What a true treat it was to find both combined into this one book! I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked this book up. I wish someone would have warned me that it would be absolutely impossible to put down. I spent every possible moment that I could find with this book. I found that it was not only engrossing, but I found myself rereading and savoring parts - lingering and just getting lost in the story.

To say...more
Sharon
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...more
Lee
I loved this book. A bit of well-researched history with a smattering of murder and a smidgen of romance makes for a lovely rainy-day read.

The Devlin Diary follows parallel stories - one in 1672 and one in the present. Both concern murder, both concern women who are struggling with a career in a male-dominated world.

Hannah, our heroine in 1672, is a physick (doctor), who apprenticed with her father, husband, and mother. Now widowed and mostly orphaned, she struggles with doing what she feels i...more
Maia B.
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
Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
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,...more
Chris
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
Stephanie
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...more
Michelle
This is the sequel to The Rossetti Letter. Clare Donovan is beginning her teaching position at Cambridge. Things are a little rocky to start with and she finds herself at odds with several of the faculty, one of whom is a friend of Andrew Kent's former girlfriend and the other is a brilliant historian and also a lady's man, Derek Goodman. She is also confused by Andrew's distant demeanor, especially after their experiences in Venice. When she finds a cryptic diary, and plans a research project,...more
Nely
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
Katharine
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 unflat...more
Dana
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 highlighte...more
Michelle
Enjoyed this novel much more than I had anticipated. Phillips jumps back and forth between the present and the year 1672 as Dr Claire Donovan & collegue Trinity college professor Andrew Kent research a centuries-old string of murders. Two stories begin to parallel each other and almost inter-twine as Claire & Andrew research the answers to Dr's Hannah Devlin & Edward Strathern's struggle to solve the same murders. Love interests, betrayals & tragedies happen in both past and pres...more
Vanessa {Book ♥ Soulmates}
Synopsis:
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...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 cour...more
Lizzie Hayes
‘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...more
Maude
This book covers a period of time in 1672, years of the plague and the fire. Tis is the period of Charles II's court "and burgeoning scientif inquiry. Hannah Devlin is a female doctora most unusualy profession for a female in this age. When two couriers are found murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcame symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation with a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah's late father.

The other part of the book is set in 2008 at Trinity College, Cam...more
Michelle
Claire, a visiting professor at Cambridge's prestigious Trinity College, finds herself in the middle of controversy and murder after she discovers a diary kept by one Hannah Devlin, a physician during Charles II's reign over a failing Tudor England. The story weaves through the lives of both women, telling the story of two murder mysteries.

The book was well written, and unlike many other recent thrillers, it seems Christi Phillips is concerned about creating characters that are at the same time...more
Gaby
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...more
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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...
The Rossetti Letter Wild Writing Women: Stories of World Travel

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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?” 14 likes
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