Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips

Book Info:
The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Pocket (May 12, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1416527398
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5

London, 1672: A vicious killer stalks the court of Charles II, inscribing his victims' bodies with mysterious markings. Are these the random murders of a madman? The deadly consequence of a personal vendetta? Or the grisly result of a hidden conspiracy?

Cambridge, 2008: A Trinity College history professor is found dead, the torn page of a seventeenth-century diary in his hand. His death appears to be an accident, but the college's newest Fellow Claire Donovan and historian Andrew Kent suspect otherwise. The professor's last research subject was Hannah Devlin, a physician to the king's mistress and the keeper of a diary that holds the key to a series of unsolved murders in 1670s London. Through the arcane collections of Trinity's Wren Library, the British Library, and the Royal Society, Claire and Andrew follow the clues Hannah left behind, unearthing secrets of the past and present as both stories unfold to their shocking conclusions.

After recently completing The Rossetti Letter (review), I couldn't wait to get started on The Devlin Diary. The Rossetti Letter pulled me in right from the start, but The Devlin Diary started a little slower for me. In The Rossetti Letter you knew right from the start what the connection between the past and the present was. In The Devlin Diary the connection took a little longer to establish and this slowed down the beginning of the book a little for me.

The Devlin Diary focused a little more on the story in the past, with about 3-4 chapters set in the past for every one in the present. The Rossetti Letter was a little more balanced between past and present and I liked that format a little better. I often found myself wishing for a little more time with Claire and Andrew.

Even with the few minor quibbles above, The Devlin Diary is another fast paced, engrossing historical fiction novel and I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by Phillips. She has the wonderful ability to bring the past to life in vivid detail and I can't wait to see more of Claire and Andrew. 4 stars


Harvee said...

I like your review. The plot was complex with many characters, and so hard to do justice to it with a summary. You did a good job!

Zibilee said...

I haven't read the Rossetti Letter, but I might like to try this book. I like books that have two story lines from differing periods going on, and the mystery sounds intriguing. Great review! I will be on the lookout for this one.