Circles of Time by Phillip Rock – Blog Tour and Book Review

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About the Book:

• Paperback: 448 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reissue edition (January 2, 2013)
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.

About the Author:

Born in Hollywood, California, Phillip Rock lived in England with his family until the blitz of 1940. He spent his adult years in Los Angeles and published three novels before the Passing Bells series: FlickersThe Dead in Guanajuato, andThe Extraordinary Seaman. He died in 2004.

My Opinion:

Circles of Time is the second book in The Passing Bells Trilogy (you can read my review of The Passing Bells). This book picks up a few years after the end of WWI as each of the characters the reader met in the first book struggles to adjust to life in a world turned upside down by a war that killed millions.

Abingdon Pryory is being rebuilt by Lord Greville exactly as it was before the war. He plans to move back there once the renovations are done despite the fact that Lady Greville does not seem as anxious to move back to the country and the large house. Especially since their son Charles is in hospital suffering from what we now know as post traumatic shock syndrome. Their daughter Alexandra is back in England from Canada after what they consider to be a disastrous life choice and Lord Greville barely acknowledges her presence. Fenton Wood-Lacy butt heads with the upper echelons of Her Majesty’s Army and is being encouraged to retire but he wants no other job so he accepts a posting that is supposed to be the end of his career leaving his pregnant wife with their two daughters to await him in England.

But this book I think is truly Martin Rilke’s tale. Having written his book which told the truth about the true horrors of the war he is finally ready to leave his wife’s grave in France and come back to England and further his career in journalism. He is the driver of this part of the trilogy and he is the perfect linchpin being friends to most and related to the rest of the main characters. The book is told mostly through Martin’s eyes – not all of it, but most of it.

Just as with The Passing Bells I found myself completely wrapped up in the lives of these characters. In some ways even more so because they were like old friends. I felt the pain of the loss of some of them and was horrified by the aftereffects of the war on the people and the countries. But peace was not to last forever as history showed us and this book ends just as Hitler is starting to spout his ugly rhetoric.

I’ve given this a slightly lower rating than The Passing Bells because of the last third of the book. Too much wrapped up much too quickly in my opinion. The first book and the beginning of this book was so rich in character and detail I felt that so much happened so quickly and without all of that wonderful attention to what the characters were feeling and to the history of the time. It’s as if the author was just ready to move on to the next book and needed to tie up loose ends.

A minor complaint indeed when applied to the whole of story so far. I am very much looking forward to the finale in A Future Arrived.


You can see the Phillip Rock Blog Tour Schedule

You can read my review of The Passing Bells

You can purchase Circles of Time on
You can purchase The Passing Bells on
You can purchase A Future Arrived on

Be sure to come back on February 12th when I will have my review of the final book in the trilogy, A Future Arrived
I will also be hosting a giveaway for the entire set of books on that date!

Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of Circles of Time by TLC Book Tours for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.


  1. says

    I’m sure I said this about Passing Bells, but you make this series sound SO GOOD! I can’t wait to read it myself.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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