About the book:
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 greater freedom, they are not allowed to practice medicine, a restriction that physician Hannah Devlin evades by treating patients that most other doctors shun: the city's poor.
But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Arlington desperately needs. At the king's Machiavellian court, Hannah attracts the attention of two men, charming courtier Ralph Montagu and anatomist Dr. Edward Strathern, as well as the attention of the powerful College of Physicians, which views her work as criminal. When two influential courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation by Dr. Strathern, who believes the murders conceal a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah's late father and the king himself.
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 a seventeenthcentury diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king's mistress. With help from the eclectic collections of Cambridge's renowned libraries, Claire and historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Devlin left behind, uncovering secrets of London's dark past and Cambridge's equally murky present, and discovering that events of three hundred years ago may still have consequences today....
A suspenseful and richly satisfying tale brimming with sharply observed historical detail, The Devlin Diary brings past and present to vivid life. With wit and grace, Christi Phillips holds readers spellbound with an extraordinary novel of secrets, obsession, and the haunting power of the past.
About the author:
Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favorite things: old books, libraries, and travel. When she’s not rummaging around in an archive or exploring the historic heart of a European city, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is at work on her next novel, set in France. Find her online at her website, www.christi-phillips.com.
I got my copy on Thursday evening, and didn't get a chance to pick this up until late Friday night (after I got home from Transformers 2)... I couldn't put it down. Seriously.
Hannah Devlin is a strong woman--her father, husband, and child are all dead, and her mother's lost her wits. With no manly man to help and protect her family, Hannah does what she can--treat the poor's sick to help keep her household going. One day she is waylaid by the King's Secretary of State, to treat the King's mistress--because she is the only one who knows an effective remedy (courtesy of working alongside her father all those years). Once at court she is drawn into a web of intrigue, and when bodies start showing up around her, she starts wondering if her father's death was really accidental...
Claire Donovan is a new-to-Cambridge history professor who finds Hannah's diary in one of the libraries and gets drawn in to the mystery of a female physician during a time when women weren't allowed to practice medicine. Then one of her colleagues shows up dead. The one she punched in the face in front of a roomful of witnesses, of course.
I really liked Hannah's story--it drew me in and kept me captivated. Claire's, not so much--until the end. Just because it felt like her story had to be there, so that you could get to the end and the "ta-dah" moment... However, Christi Phillips did a fantastic job weaving the story together and telling it from both viewpoints (even if I had to wait for it to pick up with Claire's), which makes this a worthwhile read.
Read an excerpt!
Thanks to Pocket Books, I have two copies of this lovely book for you (only if you live in the US or Canada--no PO Boxes, please)! To enter, comment and tell me why you'd like to read this book. +1 for following, +2 for sharing. Do it all before 6:00 pm CST July 12th! Good luck!