Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Devlin Diary Book Blog Tour

June 29th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


Thanks so much to Sarah at Pocket Books for the chance to participate in this tour and for giving me the opportunity to give away 1 copy of The Devlin Diary!  See below for details.

Description:  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….

This was a riveting mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.  I have to admit I have a fondness for books that have two parallel story lines that span several centuries.  Both Hannah and Claire are some what naive but I still came to like both their characters.  I loved the way Phillips tied the two story lines as Claire is translating the diary of Hannah’s and telling the story of the murders of her father and several others and how she came to find the murderer.  The modern day story line was a little more sketchy than the historical one so it would have been nice to have it fleshed out a little more.

It was great hearing about what it was like back in Hannah’s time to be a female practicing medicine in a male dominated profession and in which most women are held in suspicion.  I find it interesting that no matter what time era I’m reading about there are always women who offer physicks, midwives or some other medicine women yet when it comes down to the official profession of doctors it was reserved almost entirely just for men.

If you enjoyed books like The Eight by Katherine Neville I think you will enjoy this one.

Q&A With Christi Phillips

Christi was kind enough to answer a few questions about The Devlin Diary and herself.  Thank you so much Christi!

What inspired you to sit down and write The Devlin Diary?

First, I was intrigued by the Restoration period and the historical mystery the story is based on, the signing of a secret treaty between Charles II and Louis XIV. Then, after I had created the character of Hannah Devlin, a female physician in 1672 London, I felt compelled to tell her story.

Are any of the character’s personalities based on people you know?

No, I feel that would be an intrusion on someone’s privacy. Derek Goodman, thankfully, does not exist in real life (not in my life, anyway). The historical characters grow from my research. Only in one instance in The Devlin Diary is a fictional character based on someone real: Theophilus Ravenscroft is loosely based on the seventeenth-century scientist and architect Robert Hooke.

How do you go about researching the ideas you have for a new story?

I start with a wide net, by reading general histories of the time and place. Once I’ve constructed a story outline, I research narrower, more particular areas of interest. For The Devlin Diary, my primary interests were seventeenth-century medicine and the emergence of scientific inquiry.

What is your favorite book?

I don’t have a favorite book, but I do have favorite authors of historical fiction: Iain Pears, David Liss, and Philip Kerr.

What book is currently sitting on your night stand waiting to be read?

I’m reading Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears.

What book (other than your own) :) would you like to see made into a movie?

Learning to Breathe by Alison Wright. It’s the true story of a globe-trotting photojournalist who is nearly killed in a bus accident in Laos. Her doctors tell her that she’ll never be able to lead the same sort of life again, but through a very tough recovery she fights her way back, eventually reaching her goals of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and making a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash in Tibet. It’s moving and inspiring.

Thanks again Christi!  If you want to learn more about Christi Phillips visit her website:


Rules to enter:

1. Open to residents of the US.

2. Leave a comment here for one entry.

3. Receive additional entries if you Tweet or post on Facebook, MySpace, etc. or blog about this contest.  One extra entry per post/tweet/etc.

4. Another entry if you follow me in Google Reader or add me to your blogroll.

5. Contest is open until July 10.

If you want to see what others are saying about The Devlin Diary visit the other book tour blogs:

S. Krishna’s Books

All About {n}

Jenn’s Bookshelf

Beth Fish Reads

Booking Mama

The Literate Housewife Review

Book Soulmates

Chick With Books

Gimme More Books

We Be Reading

Book Bird Dog

Bookin’ with “BINGO”

My Friend Amy

Books and Needlepoint

A Working Title

Must Read Faster

Shhh I’m Reading

Debbie’s World of Books

The Tome Traveller’s Weblog

Write for a Reader

A Sea of Books

I Heart Monster

Pick of the Literate

Kingdom Books Blog

Drey’s Library

The Jaydit Reader

A Book Bloggers Diary

Posted in Books, Historical Fiction

57 Responses

  1. Trisha

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  2. Stephanie

    I would like to enter this contest

  3. Book Bird Dog

    Hi: I enjoyed Christi Phillips’ comments on books she’s reading! Hope you stop by for my interview with her re The Devlin Diary.

  4. Suzy Levin

    Hi Debbie! No need to enter me in the giveaway – just wanted to say how much I loved your review and interview! Good comparison with The Eight too! I loved this book AND The Eight!

  5. Sarah Lim

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  6. Amanda R

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  13. Sheila DeChantal

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  15. Sheila DeChantal

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  20. Jake Lsewhere

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  21. Jake Lsewhere

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  34. Page

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  39. CherylS22

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