Archive for March, 2013

A Future Arrived

A Future Arrived is Phillip Rock’s 3rd book in his trilogy of the Greville family at Abingdon Pryory set pre and post WWI (this book actually ends in October 1940.). Having enjoyed the previous two immensely, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. I’m sorry there were only 3 books in the series, I really wish Rock had decided to just continue with a social history of England set against the backdrop of world history. It would have been fantastic I think. He’s a wonderful writer (he died in 2004). The saga continues… Charles Greville finds love again, and becomes Headmaster of Burgate House, and journalist Martin Rilke continues to dominate the newspapers & airwaves of the world. The next generation, the Wood-Lacey twins – Jennifer & Victoria, as well as their younger sister Kate, and Colin Mackendric Ross (Alex’s son), figure largely as time marches on towards WWII. And we’re introduced to Albert Thaxton, Ivy’s brother, who follows in Martin’s footsteps as he travels through Europe headlining the turmoils & troubles of the world. I love historical fiction, and this series of books has been one of my favourites. I just spotted it sitting on the shelf in the bookstore and decided to take a chance. And I’m SO glad I did. Read all 3 books, you won’t be disappointed. ***** for all 3 books.

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Circles of Time

Circles of Time is Phillip Rock’s second book in his trilogy of Abingdon Pryory. You can read it without having read the first (there’s enough overlap of info that you won’t be confused as to who’s who and what’s what) but I suggest you start at the beginning. It’s like trying to watch season 2 of Downton Abbey without having watched season 1 – why would you? Time marches on at Abingdon Pryory, the Greville family are coping with the aftermath of WWI, rebuilding their precious “estate” to it’s former glory. William and Charles, both of who were wounded in battle – in different ways (I don’t like to give anything away) get on with dealing with their demons. Beautiful, smart Alex comes to admit to her mother’s desire for a proper marriage to a proper British gentleman, and along with Martin, the American cousin who has become an international success as a journalist, they all figure large in the book and it’s a great read. It’s the age of jazz, looser morals, changing ideas and ideals. But all is not good. On the horizon is the problem of what to do about Germany, left battered and broken by the war. Someone named Hitler has appeared on the scene and he’s slowly winning over the minds of the broken, hungry, and destitute. I love the book, maybe even more than book #1 (less war stuff) but it’s hard to say since that one was a favourite too. I just wonder why we’ve never heard of these books before. Rock wrote this book in 1981-  he died in 2004. I bet it’s the Downton Abbey craze that has brought them to the forefront now. Better late than never is what I say. The writing is terrific, and you’ll get just as caught up in his 3 books as the blockbuster TV series. I want to keep book #3  to read when I’m away in a few weeks, but it’s going to be really hard to keep from peeking.

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Green(e) is my Favourite Colour

Two of our very own wonderful Canadian writers have new books arriving at your favourite store this spring. Barbara Fradkin, who writes the Inspector Michael Green series set in Ottawa, has The Whisper of Legends being released in early April, and Robert Rotenberg, famous for his Detective Ari Greene series set in Toronto, has Stranglehold appearing on the shelves in early May. Mark your calendars bookworms.

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The Passing Bells

The Passing Bells by Phillip Rock is a novel about World War I. I don’t usually read books with war themes, but this one looked different, and I was right. I found it fascinating. It is the first book in a trilogy about the British upper class Greville family at Abingdon Pryory. Lucky me – there are two more books to dig into! The war is front & centre in this book, but the goings on with the Grevilles and their servants at the Pryory serve to buffer all that nastyness of gaunt soldiers in muddy trenches, mustard gas and shell-shocked veterans with missing limbs. It sounds awful, and it is, but it’s so well written and there’s so much about British society and how the war changes everything that I was compelled to finish the book – even though at times I got confused as to which country was doing what to who. British aristocracy was forever changed by that war. Society women who’d never done a days work in their lives became “sisters” (nurses) tending to the wounded side by side with the downstairs staff who were elevated from pot scrubbing scullery maids, while Anthony Greville, 9th Earl of Stanmore, loses the 25 hunters and jumpers in his stables – the finest in England – to the war effort and… heavens!… is forced to drive his own “motorcar” since all the young, able bodied men are either off serving or have been called upon to aid the war effort in ways they’d never imagined. If you’re addicted to the very popular Downton Abbey TV series – this is a book for you! Immerse yourself in the fascinating story, the saga actually, of Abingdon Pryory and it’s inhabitants. I can’t wait to dig into book #2 Circles of Time. Stay tuned.

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