Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Devlin Diary

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 found dead with this seventeenth-century diary being the key to finding out who the murderer is. While sifting through all the records, Claire and fellow historian Andrew bring into light secrets that have been hidden for centuries in London's dark past. Will their findings change history forever and help them find the murderer?

Review: I have not read Christi Phillips work before and was happily surprised by how much I did like this book. However, one of the problems I had with this book was that it went back and forth between present day Cambridge and London in the 1670's. For me, I think that I would have enjoyed this book more if there was just the one storyline in London being written about and explored. Since I know more about the present time, I am always fascinated by historical fiction books and enjoy being transported to another time.

Christi Phillips does seem to be a very competent writer and this book was very well written, but it was a slower read for me. There was quite a bit of information given on the history of Charles II, which is fine, but I think I would have liked to experience it as a reader instead of just being told about it like at a history lecture. That made it very difficult for me to become invested in the story and to see it enfold in my mind. With the constant back in forth, I was ripped from one storyline to another and I had a hard time getting back that cinematic mental unfolding with each time change.

Overall, I thought that the book was good. If you don't mind going back and forth between two different storylines, then this book is for you. There were some things that were rather predictable and using a diary found in the uncatalogued shelves of an old English library is not very original. However, with the strong female leads and wonderfully elegant writing, those things could be overlooked enough for the novel to be enjoyable.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This book was purchased at a local bookstore; I was not asked to review it.

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