The Devlin Diary
Have you ever read a book that you wish did not end? The author’s second novel focuses on Hannah Devlin, a middle-class woman “physick” trained by her late husband and her father in the practice of medicine. Although it was illegal for a woman to practice medicine, Hannah possesses the skills and talent to heal and pays little heed to a person’s class or wealth if he or she is in need. When Hannah is kidnapped and ordered to care for the favorite mistress of England’s King Charles II, she is thrust into a political morass that involves ritual murder, conspiracies, and threats to the throne.
Claire Donovan’s new job as a lecturer in History at Trinity College is her dream come true. When an overbearing colleague is found dead on the riverbank, doubts are raised about the validity of his research. A scrap of paper leads Claire and her friend, Andrew Kent, her associate from Phillips’s debut novel The Rossetti Letter, to discover a coded diary written by Hannah Devlin in the dead professor’s apartment. The race is on to decode the diary, find the killer and solve a four-hundred-year-old mystery.
Phillips’s storytelling style is easy to read and keeps you interested throughout. The flashbacks are told in the present tense, and the modern story is told in the past tense. A reader may not even notice the subtle change, the story is so engrossing. The Devlin Diary is a historical page-turner in the truest sense.
I have read both of Christi Phillips’s novels and thoroughly enjoyed the plots, the characters and the writing. I look forward to her next book.