Palace Circle: Book summary and reviews of Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean

Palace Circle

By Rebecca Dean

Palace Circle
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2009,
    432 pages.

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Book Summary

Paperback Original.

Delia Chandler, an eighteen-year-old southern girl, marries Viscount Ivor Conisborough just before WWII, and becomes part of the Windsor court. It’s every girl’s dream come true. But Delia is jolted from her pleasant life when she realizes, after the birth of her two daughters, that Ivor chose her only to bear an heir to his estate. Shortly thereafter, she begins an affair with her husband’s handsome, titled, and frequently scandalous best friend.

When Conisborough is appointed as an adviser to King Fuad of Egypt, Delia exchanges one palace circle for another, far different one. While she regards Egypt as a place of exile, separating her from the man she deeply loves, her two daughters regard Egypt as their home. It is a division of loyalties that becomes increasingly marked as Egypt struggles to free itself from British occupation, and only when war comes to Cairo—and Delia finally reveals the secret she has kept for so long—can she begin to heal the divisions separating her from those she loves.

Rebecca Dean’s irresistible combination of real events and masterful storytelling will keep readers fascinated until the very last page. Recommended for fans of Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Dean beautifully captures the mood and color of the era—her descriptive passages are marvelous and complement the layered intrigue, romance and deception." - Publishers Weekly.

"Cataclysmic world and family crises entertainingly refracted through a prism of privilege." - Kirkus Reviews.

Palace Circle is vivid and tender, deeply enthralling. Rebecca Dean has written a timeless novel." - Luanne Rice.

"Palace Circle is a gem, filled with dashing lords, surprisingly gutsy ladies, family secrets, and royal intrigue. As Rebecca Dean moves her remarkable characters between London and Cairo, you will be utterly transported along with them." - Barbara Delinsky.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Brianne
Palace Circle
I really enjoyed reading Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean. The author did a wonderful job of creating characters that were both realistic and easy to relate to. The plot held my attention from the first page to the very last and I never really wanted to put the book down.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this book with the First Impressions program.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Elizabeth, Amigos Library Services, Dallas, TX
Palace Circle: A Fascinating Journey
Rebecca Dean's historical novel, Palace Circle, overflows with intriguing characters living life in the tumultuous years spanning World War I and leading up to World War II The story, set in Virginia, London and Cairo, and mingling historical people with the fictional cast of characters, is told from the perspectives of the mother, Delia, and four young people, her two daughters and the men they love.

One of the most interesting aspects of the book was the multi-generational and multicultural perspectives shown by the characters. Delia grew up in Virginia, married and moved to London, and spent time in Cairo because of her husband's diplomatic work. The daughters, raised in Cairo, have varying perspectives on England, Egypt and how to live life. One young man is Egyptian, the other English. Some of the famous people you will meet in the book are Wallis Simpson, Edward VIII, Churchill, Nasser and Sadat. I felt like I was swept away to a world I knew little about and didn't want to leave. If you like books that combine history, romance, characters with depth, and exotic settings, you will have a hard time putting this book down. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Dean's books.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Laura
Penny Vincenzi meets Philipa Gregory
Advance praise of Palace Circle comparing it to the work of Philipa Gregory is justified, due to its historical detail. One is steeped in early-twentieth century England and Egypt, with great attention paid to everything from clothing to political intrigue. However, I have to confess that I was drawn into the characters the way that I am when I read, for example, a Penny Vincenzi novel. I would wholeheartedly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys the work of either author, or to anyone who desires to know more about Colonial Egypt.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Selene
Fast Read
I like historical fiction, romance novels and WWII. This fulfilled all three. This was a very fast read and was somewhat reminiscent of a multi-generational Barbara Taylor Bradford novel. I especially enjoyed the first half of the novel regarding the main character, Delia. I felt her character and life were the most developed. As the story continued to its logical conclusion, character development and storyline went downhill. Still an interesting premise on WWII espionage in Egypt. Not a topic usually covered in a novel.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Deb
Beach Read
I have to agree with all the other 3s. This is a basic enjoyable read - not great, not horrible. I wouldn't put it at the top of my book pile, but it wasn't bad. Another period (although a rarely seen period in historical romance) love story, with a rather surprising ending. Since this is the first in a series, you may find you can't wait for the next book, and then again - you might not.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Betsy
Palace Circle ok
There were parts of this historical romance that I liked and cared about - and there were parts that I found to be predictable and even boring. The plot and time period were intriguing; I enjoyed it in the beginning, but got confused with all of the names and relationships, especially with the minor characters. I think the book would have been much better with more editing; there were some overused phrases (the down-turned smile for one) and I did NOT like the attempt at a Southern drawl. Still, I read it to the end for the Cairo part and for the details of the time period. I think some of my high school students will like it.

...12 more reader reviews

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Born in Yorkshire, Rebecca Dean lives in London, England, with her husband and two small dogs. This is her second novel but first to be published in the USA. Palace Circle was first published in the UK in 2008 as A Dangerous Desire.

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