Morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC tour for Phillip Rock's Circles of Time. This is the second book in the Abingdon Pryory trilogy.
The war to end all wars has finally come to an end and with it comes great change. For the Grevilles, though, it does mean something of a return to normalcy: Abingdon Pryory will soon be returned to its former glory and Lord Stanmore is anxious to return to the country estate. Alexandra, now widowed and with a young son in tow, has returned from overseas but there's tension between her and her father. Charles also has returned and is showing marked improvement. Meanwhile, Martin has taken a position with a large international news agency and Fenton Wood-Lacy has been exiled to the Middle East.
Oh, I can't tell you have happy I was to return to this series! When I turned the final page on The Passing Bells I was already anticipating diving into the second and third installments. After all, we'd learned that Martin was a widow and Charles was out of his mind thanks to shell shock. And what of William, who we barely met, and Alexandra and Robbie and all of the others?!
Fortunately, Circles of Time picks up just a little after the end of Passing Bells. Martin has decided to move on and Charles's friends are rallying together to get Lord Grantham, I mean Lord Stanmore to consider bringing him home for his recovery. (And yes, readers, this second installment does definitely bring to mind Downton especially with regards to the family patriarch!)
Now that the war has ended, the Grevilles and others like them are slowly putting the pieces of their lives back together. Alexandra is struggling with her father's old fashioned ideals. Lord Stanmore is, in fact, struggling with his old fashioned ideals as well and the way the world is changing around him. It was interesting to see him slowly come around to some of the social changes, especially once Charles began to recover. That alone seemed to be the turning point for Anthony Greville, allowing him to finally put aside some of his staunch ideals and embrace the evolving world around him.
And like many of the other reviews I've seen thus far, Martin remains by far my favorite character. His position as a journalist and writer not only gives him a unique viewpoint amongst the varied characters of the story, but also allows him to move around a bit -- both literally and figuratively (socially). He travels to the Middle East to interview Fenton, giving us a glimpse not only of the military activity there but finally bringing Fenton back into the story. Martin also travels to Germany and becomes the first character to discuss what he witnesses as a result of the war... and foreshadowing the war to come.
These are characters that I've come to know and love through Rock's writing and I will be sad to say goodbye with the final installment.
To see more stops on the tour for the trilogy, visit the official tour page here.