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February 03, 2013


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Diane (bookchickdi)

While reading Circles of Time, I wished that there had had been more of Charles, Alex, William and Winnie, but when I got to Book Three, I was completely enthralled.

I remember learning in high school history how the crushing poverty and reparations in Germany after WWI led to the rise of Hitler, and to see this through Martin's eyes was enlightening and so well done by Rock.

I also found the section of Fenton in Iraq fascinating. Given our recent history there, Rock shows an understanding of how their culture worked, something I wish our recent leaders had exhibited.

Lord Stanmore did exhibit a willingness to accept change- he adored Colin, accepted that William wanted to train horses and Charles would teach and it was he and not his wife who rushed to see Alex, Jamie & Colin off to America. My goodness, he was even driving his own car!

As I was reading and enjoying Alex and Jamie's budding relationship, I wondered if Julian Fellowes had read this book before he wrote Downton Abbey- Alex and Jamie became Sybil and Tom to an extent.

Again, I think this novel has so much in it that appeals to both men and women, it's a perfect book for book clubs with male and female members.

I just finished the book during the Super Bowl blackout, so I will post my review on my blog later this week.

Onward to Future Arrived and the next generation of Abdingdon Pryory!


1) This is not a very deep answer, but I think Martin says it flat out: he stayed in Europe because it was close to Ivy and to his memories of the war, and until he'd fully come to terms with both, he couldn't leave.

2) I was really heartened by Charles's recovery. That was one of the saddest parts of The Passing Bells for me, and I was glad that he was one of the few who was able to break through the shell shock. Naturally, Lord Greville's initial refusal to see the possibility of Charles's recovery was frustrating, but I loved seeing the family rally around him and help him recover.

3) I think the poem stuck with Charles because it reminded him of his experience with the war and helped him come to terms with the enormity of the loss and all the other feelings he'd kept bottled up inside him. The lines where the leader speaks to his slain men could just as easily have been written about WWI.

4) The old Lord Greville would have taken Alexandra's marriage to Jamie very hard, so it was refreshing to see him accept it more easily than Hannah. I was also thrilled that Lord Greville let Charles and Willie make their own way -- I don't think he would have done that before the war.

5) I think Fenton stays as a matter of principle and because it's the only world he knows. I agree, the whole situation was enormously frustrating and brought Fenton down a few pegs.

6) I loved learning more about Jamie and seeing his success, too! And I kind of had an inkling he and Alex would get together, so I wasn't surprised when it happened, although it did feel a little pat, but then that's kind of typical of Alex -- she makes a choice and goes for it.

7) Willie kind of personified this for me. He drinks to forget the friends he lost, the fact that he didn't serve -- even though he's ultimately grateful for that, and his unhappiness at his father's pre-war expectations of him, and instead allows himself to get swept up in a world where there are endless possibilities and where he doesn't feel stifled. It's all clearly a call for help, because his arrest in the raid is a catalyst for his confession to his father about what he really wants to do with his life and leads to the turn around.

8) This is something that I wished the book explored a bit more, because the tension was so high in those moments -- I could feel Germany brewing. I think this can go any way, because fascism had some popularity with the wealthy British, and it's possible that one of the Grevilles might sympathize with the cause, although I hope not. Otherwise, I feel like Lord and Lady Stanmore had pretty much distanced themselves from the German Rilkes during the first World War, and I think that Martin probably won't be able to stomach Werner's politics.

Martha @ Hey, I want to read that

I loved The Passing Bells and just ordered Circles of Time. I'd love to join in A Future Arrived. Thanks for putting these on my list.


The Passing Bells is memorable and wonderful. I would appreciate reading A Future Arrived very much. Thanks.


I really enjoyed this book even more than the first book. I posted a review on my website:

1. I think Martin stayed in Europe to be close to Ivy.
2. I think the way Rock dealt with Charles and his shell shock is brilliant. His family was scared for him, but their love never wavered. I loved how the author showed how it affected his family, as well as Charles.
3. I think the poem struck a chord with him because it reflects his feelings. It was probably the only way he cold communicate his feelings of loss and lonliness.
4. I think change is a big theme in this book. His attitude towards his daughter changed dramatically over the book.
5. Stubbornness. He wanted to live life on his terms, not on someone else's terms.
6. I really liked their story-line. I was glad to see Jamie and Alexandra get together.
7. I think a lot of the characters drank to forget the loneliness and sadness of this time.
8. I think that's a definite possibility.

Michelle B

I have The Passing Bells and Circles of Time on my Kindle to read on my vacation. I'd love to read A Future Arrived.

Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

I loved this book, though it did feel grim, since all the characters and the world around them were struggling with the aftermath of war. I did love the hope personified by Charles' recovery, and Alex and Jamie's happiness.

1. I think Martin felt more at home in Europe than in the U.S. after the war, and it's not as though he had parents or siblings to go back to. He had made a life for himself in Europe, and I'm glad he stayed.

2. I was so relieved that Charles recovered - though I found it a bit incredible that once he broke through the shock, his recovery seemed to be complete.

4. I was glad to see Lord Stanmore driving his own car - and coming to accept his grandson, and his children's choices. I love that he gave Willie his blessing to make his own way in the world.

5. I grew frustrated with Fenton too, but I think it was a matter of honor: he refused to let them drive him out. The military life is also the only life he knows.

6. I cheered for Jamie and his success, and I am so glad for him and Alexandra. They've both been lonely and I think they'll be wonderful together.

7. So many of the characters drank to forget the losses and pain they'd suffered, or that the country had suffered. Heartbreaking.

8. The Stanmores have already begun distancing themselves from Germany - I think that will continue.


I am enjoying this book. I am having some trouble keeping the characters straight. Anyone else experiencing this?

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