12 September 2013

Circles Of Time by Philip Rock, Book review

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 2, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-0062229335


A generation has been lost on the Western Front. The dead have been buried, a harsh peace forged, and the howl of shells replaced by the wail of saxophones as the Jazz Age begins. But ghosts linger—that long-ago golden summer of 1914 tugging at the memory of Martin Rilke and his British cousins, the Grevilles.

From the countess to the chauffeur, the inhabitants of Abingdon Pryory seek to forget the past and adjust their lives to a new era in which old values, social codes, and sexual mores have been irretrievably swept away. Martin Rilke throws himself into reporting, discovering unsettling political currents, as Fenton Wood-Lacy faces exile in faraway army outposts.

Back at Abingdon, Charles Greville shows signs of recovery from shell shock and Alexandra is caught up in an unlikely romance. Circles of Time captures the age as these strongly drawn characters experience it, unfolding against England's most gracious manor house, the steamy nightclubs of London's Soho, and the despair of Germany caught in the nightmare of anarchy and inflation. 

Lives are renewed, new loves found, and a future of peace and happiness is glimpsed—for the moment.

The Acclaimed Trilogy That Has Been Called a Must-Read for Fans of Downton Abbey!

Here are my thoughts:

I have never seen Downton Abbey so I felt sure I would not be influenced by it!
Circles Of Time albeit a work of fiction allows an honest perspective at the years following the Great War and the social changes resulting directly from a worldwide conflict which by the end, obliterated a whole generation of young men!

Philip Rock's excellent writing skills clinches the reader from the beginning: the year is 1921 and despite the haunting ghosts of the trenches, the world is spinning on its axle yet nothing will ever will be the same again. 
Seen through the eyes of all whom Abingdon Priory has touched before, during and after the war, reveals much of the ambiance of this era.

Manufacturing companies are perfecting flying machines, Jazz has taken over trendy clubs, social upheavals means a chauffeur can now earn a degree in Engineering, the gentry is facing financial and domestic shortages amongst other changes, there is discontent in the population. Unemployment is high, strikes and even riots are spreading in some parts of the Empire and abroad...
Yet in the main, the air in England is almost ebullient and most just wish to live fully, discarding with free abandon old values and social rules.

For the upper class Greville family of Abingdon Priory, there are still bittersweet memories permeating the present and a few scars to be smoothed over... 

A sequel to 'The Passing Bells', Circles Of Time can easily be read on its own but I would recommend not missing book 1 of this trilogy! ('A Future Arrived' is Book 3)

For its historical background Circles of time is a classic! Whilst being entirely fictional, there is abundant evidence of Philip Roth's years in England and research. 
Readers will recognize this author's considerable writing skills as his dramatic plot line draws you in the atmosphere of a country coming to grip with tremendous changes. 
In these early years of the Twenties, life will never be the same for all those involved with Abingdon Priory as you will soon perceive!

A novel to enjoy during these Autum evenings with a cuppa and a box of biscuits, Folks!

Notes of worth: Excerpts of 'The Passing Bells' (Book 1) and 'A Future Arrives' (Book 3) are included along with Discussion/Questions. 
Don't miss Thomas Hardy's 'The Souls of the Slain' included in its entirety!

 (Stearns Knight Coupe)

Note to Readers: Due to thematic content and occasional profanity, recommended for mature readers only!

 4 Stars! 

About the Author:

Phillip George Rock was born in Los Angeles on 30 July 1927. He grew up in Beverly Hills and England, returned to America in 1940, and served in the U.S. Navy towards the end of World War II.

His first on-screen credit was for Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), directed by John Sturges and starring William Holden and Eleanor Parker. Rock then concentrated on writing novels and, in 1967, published his first: The Extraordinary Seaman.

MGM adapted The Extraordinary Seaman to the big screen in 1969. The film was poorly received and Rock is said to have vowed never to have another of his books made into a movie.

More on this author can be found (HERE). 

Note to Readers: This review was not requested and reflects ONLY my opinion! 


  1. I read a few books set in this time always works an exciting time to live in England the old class system breaking down and new ones rising.

  2. I must admit I cannot recall too many titles featuring the period' social upheaval. Catherine Cookson comes to mind though, remember The Cinder Path?
    Have you paint lately?

  3. So nice of you to visit Blackberry Lane. This sounds like a good read for the upcoming winter months. I thought I was the only person who had not watched Downtown Abbey!
    Wishing you a wonderful day.

  4. We are still speaking of that wonderful video you featured!
    Thanks for visiting and all the best to you and yours,

  5. This sounds like another 'must read.' I am suddenly back into reading now that summer has left us. Time to snuggle up with a good book again.

  6. There is no seasons for reading here Tracey, we grab every moment we can: at home, on the beach or in the (long) ferry lines!
    I recommend reading the books in order though...well worth it!

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I read the trilogy earlier this year and loved it. I haven't watched Downton Abbey either, but another one they compare to it is Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke, which I enjoyed.

    1. I will look at the title Anna, thanks and I enjoy reading your reviews very much!
      All the best,


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