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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.
Elizabeth, Amigos Library Services, Dallas, TX
Palace Circle: A Fascinating Journey
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to read this book with the First Impressions program.
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.
Penny Vincenzi meets Philipa Gregory
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.