Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips .................Blog Tour.................

Want to Read a GREAT Book?
Historical Fiction Fan?
Do I have a Book for you!....

About the Book...
The Devlin Diary is a "dazzling novel of intrigue, passion and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge."
"London, 1672. The past 12 years have brought momentous changes; the restoration of the monarchy, a devastating plague and fire. Yet the city remains a teeming, thriving metropolis... 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 doctores shun: the city's poor. But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Arlington (and King Charles II) needs... when 2 influencial courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation that may conceal a far-reaching conspiracy and may include Hannah's late father and the king himself.

Jump to 2008, Cambridge. Claire Donovan is "teaching history at Trinity College ,a dream come true - until one of her colleagues is found dead. The only key to the professor's unsolved murder is a 17th century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king's mistress....."

Why did Christi Phillips set the book in the place and time that she did?
In an interview she says..."The Restoration Era—which begins in 1660 and ends in 1685, essentially the reign of Charles II—can be thought of as the 1960s of the seventeenth century. Both eras ushered in sweeping social changes, a blossoming of creativity in the arts and sciences, and greater freedom for women. There was also lots of sex, drinking, drugs, and really, really bad behavior, which makes for great stories."

And it does! For historical fiction fans this is must read! But also for mystery readers! As the story sweeps between the present day & London of the 1600's, the characters from both era's are trying to solve the same murders and we are racing thru the pages to find out who will reveal the answers first!

In the'Authors Note' in the book, Christi tells us that much of the book is centered on actual history. How did she research for The Devlin Diary? "I started with general overviews of English history, so I could understand how the past lead up to the Restoration. Then I read books on the seventeenth century and the Restoration, and numerous biographies of the people of the time—Charles II, Pepys, the Cabal (Charles’s ministers), Thomas Sydenham, and many others—and books on seventeenth-century medicine. For The Devlin Diary, I relied primarily on books aimed at a general reader—popular works, not scholarly articles—many of which are listed in the author’s note. I also relied on reprints of seventeenth-century works: Aubrey’s Lives, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Culpeper’s Herbal, The London Spy. I have found that anecdotal history is usually more helpful for creating stories and characters than, say, an academic treatise. To write an historical novel, it’s essential to learn about the people: their occupations, their passions, their concerns, as well as what they wear, what they eat, what they admire, what they believe. Restoration London by Liza Picard and 1700: Scenes from London Life by Maureen Waller are two wonderful compilations of the revealing details of everyday life, and they were invaluable. "

All this research pays off! The book feels authentic! The characters seem to 'know' what they are talking about and are well rounded. The scenes from Hannah's world in the 1600's are well written and believable! The small details surrounding Hannah and her world are wonderful to read...

What did I think of the book? I loved The Devlin Diary! It was well written and the story grabbed me from the start. The characters were so believable! They were wonderful and still flawed (Claire in particular does exactly what we would want to do in a few choice situations and has us cheering her'll know what I'm talking about when you read the book!). With feelings we all share - love & desire, the need for respect & acceptance, sorrow, disappointment & joy, Claire & Hannah become fast friends to us and the other characters become more than just images on the page ... What was amazing was the way Ms. Phillips so easily lead us back and forth between era's without losing the continuity of the story. And I loved seeing how the present day characters ( Claire & Andrew) were researching what the characters from 1660's London (Hannah, Edward...) were actually experiencing.

The period details were wonderful...maidservants & courtiers, bedchambers & courtyards, damask petticoats & velvet gowns. And as I said, as the story sweeps thru the present day and London in the 1600's and the characters of both eras are trying to solves the same murders, I just couldn't turn those pages fast enough! To weave both stories together so well was an amazing accomplishment and makes this book well worth your time. Thanks Christi for a great read! And a BIG thank you to Sarah Reidy of Pocket Books for letting me share this book with my readers!

A Little About Christi...Christi is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favori
te 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. Want to find out more about Christi Phillips? You can go to......... Christi Phillips Website or to her "Author page" at Simon & Schuster to read more.

Be sure to check out the other stops on Christi's Blog Tour below! And remember Christi's book is now available in stores!
And a BIG thank you to Sarah Reidy of Pocket Books for letting me share this book with my readers!

** Earlier this week Beth of Beth Fish Reads reviewed Christi's first book, The Rossetti Letter, and what a great review it was! Click on the link to read Beth's review here: The Rossetti Letter

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Julie J. said...

This one sounds really good! I've added it to my TBR list! :)

Literary Feline said...

This definitely does sound like something I would like. History mixed with a mystery. I'm there! Thanks for the great review, Suzanne.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Julie! Thanks for stopping by! And yes, if you're a historical fiction fan you have to add this to your TBR list! My list is growing everyday!! :)

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Literary Feline! I like " History mixed with mystery"! Thanks for your kind words on the review! And for coming by and saying hello!

Harvee said...

Thanks for visiting my review, Suzanne. I really enjoyed yours too and your interview! It's a terrific book!

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Humane Award! You can pick it up over at my blog :)

And great review by the way, book does look very intersting, and I'm not usually a historical fiction lover.


Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Jenni! Thank you so much! I'll stop by, say hello and pick it up!

And thanks for the nice words on the review!


Helen said...

Hello, Suzanne. I know you told me this about this book awhile back. I will give this a go and add it to my wish list.

Darlene said...

Great post Suzanne! I'd love to read this book one of these days.

Jessica said...

Great review! This book sounds great. I am a fairly-new fan of Historical Fiction. I just might have to pick this one up!

PaulGuy said...

Great post Suzy! Looks like I'll have to add this to "the list". Unfortunately they're being added a lot faster than I can read them. I'm sure we all know what that's like.

Cathy said...

Nice review! I read Ms. Phillips's previous book, The Rossetti Letter, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will have to pick this one up!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Beth F said...

I can't wait to read this one! I reviewed the first Claire book, The Rossetti Letter this week.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Beth F.! Thanks for stopping by AND for letting us all know that you reviewed Claire's first book, The Rossetti Letter! I added a link at the bottom of this post so that everyone could visit your blog and read the wonderful review you wrote!

Take care,

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