by Christi Phillips
"A follow-up to the well-received The Rossetti Letter (2007), Phillips once again simultaneously follows seventeenth-century and twenty-first-century mysteries. A serial killer is loose in seventeenth-century England. Are his gruesome crimes random, or are they part of a royal conspiracy? Hannah Devlin, a rare female physician, becomes convinced of the latter. Meanwhile, in twenty-first-century Cambridge, England, Clare Donovan finds Hannah’s diary. Shortly thereafter, an academic rival is murdered. Are the crimes connected? Both women work to solve their mysteries, while also becoming embroiled in parallel romances. Although the twenty-first-century plotline and ending are the weaker, both sets of mysteries and romances are engaging. An excellent afterword answers questions about historical accuracy and literary license." -- Marta Segal Block (From Booklist as posted in the Editorial Reviews section of Amazon.com)
I liked Christi Phillips' The Rossetti Letter when I read it last year, and I was very excited to finally get a hold of The Devlin Diary, which had been delayed from it's original January 2009 release date.
Like the Booklist reviewer, and for the second time for me, it was the historical chapters that I preferred over the ones set in modern times. Hannah Devlin's reluctant introduction to the decadent court of King Charles II kept me turning pages all afternoon, and I liked the way her relationship with Edward Strathern developed slowly from mutual respect of their work. In fact, it almost seemed like the modern-times chapters could almost have been completely left out and the book would have been just as good. I could live with or without the growing relationship between newly minted historian Claire Donovan and the super-reserved Englishman Andrew Kent. Their personal story didn't grab me, but it was fun to see the scholars in pursuit of their subject. I also enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the highly competitive world of academia.
I will definitely be looking forward to whatever Christi Phillips has coming up next, and if you want to keep track of her also, you can find more information on her Official Web Site.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!