Brianne (Slinger WI)
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.
Elizabeth, Amigos Library Services, Dallas, TX (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.
Beverly (Lockport IL)
A spunky American girl weds a upper-crust English nobleman and brings her free-thinking ways to the English society. The book spans two world wars, has a number of juicy family scandals and locations ranging from VIrginia, London, and Cairo. As a librarian who does some Reader's Advisory, this will be an interesting book to recommend for those vaguely unfamiliar with WWI, England's interest in empire building, social reforms in England and Egyptian slums, and a woman's changing place in society.
Marjorie (Bonita Springs FL)
Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean
This is a great book for fans of historical novels. I have read every Philippa Gregory book I could get my hands on and found this novel to be right up there on the same level of interest. The plot was fast moving and the history of Cairo during World War II was new to me and very interesting. I really enjoyed Delia's character. I will be looking for Rebecca Dean's next novels.
Brenda (Winter Haven FL)
A New Story on an Old Subject
Having recently read countless books on WW II, a surprise was to unfold as this story took on Egypt's part in this war. Who thinks of Egypt when on the subject of Hitler or the Holocaust?
The only fault with this story is the necessity to mention how gorgeous and well-dressed the main characters are. It was actually annoying at times because there was a fantastic story to be told and it would have been just as good with plain-looking heroes/heroines.
The ending was also a surprise...a nice one, but still unexpected.
This was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone...even those who say "please not another WWII book"!
Virginia (Forest Park IL)
If you enjoy reading Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford, I think you will enjoy this book. I love reading books that take place in the 1920-30s and have loads of detail about the parties the characters attend along with what they are wearing. Many real historical figures are included, such as the Duke and Duchess of Wales (before they became the Duke and Duchess) and Anwar Sadat. But the book does take a serious turn when it turns to Egyptian politics pre-WWI and during the war. I didn't want the book to end.
Laura (Houston TX)
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.