Circle of Time


Fiction - Adventure
166 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

Five stars are not enough for Debra Shiveley Welch’s Circle of Time. An accident in the Bermuda Triangle throws Bridget (Bridge) Littleton through time. She awakens in the home of the Lyttleton family, her own ancestors, in the year 1532 near Bristol, England. Thus begins a fascinating alternative history story of love, mystery, intrigue, life and death in the court of King Henry VIII. Ms Shiveley Welch deftly interweaves a handful of themes, from the ‘butterfly paradox effect’ of time travel to the life and loves of Henry, Anne Boleyn and Bridge to present an addictive read of epic proportions. Not since Outlander by Diana Gabaldon have I read such an intoxicating story that grabbed me from page one and kept me reading almost without a break.

Alternative history stories - fiction - invariably require in-depth knowledge of the historical people, places and times illustrated in the story, and Ms. Shiveley Welch is unquestionably an expert on Tudor English history. Time and again, she surprised me with trinkets of information I would otherwise never have known. On two occasions, I went online to query what I thought to be inaccuracies or losses in verisimilitude. On both counts she proved to be correct. I won’t mention them here, I’m certain you’ll see them but you won’t have to chase them down… she’s right on the money.

With the skill of a plastic surgeon, rearranging the face of her patient, in this case historical fact, Ms. Shiveley Welch weaves the fictional Bridget into the historically accurate genealogical trees of the Tudor and Lyttleton families. Her ‘behind the scenes’ narratives and characterizations provide the reader with a unique look at these people, their times and travails, their victories and heart breaking destinies. I highly recommend Circle of Time for all readers.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Circle of Time by Debra Shiveley Welch is a story of the past or is it the future? Twenty-one-year-old Bridget Littleton sets out for a day on her father’s luxury yacht with her friends. As they sail toward Bermuda, she suddenly discovers that everything we ever heard about the Bermuda Triangle is very true. Leaning over the edge of the boat, she sees a face in the water. The winds suddenly get up and a whirlpool appears in the sea. The last thing she remembers is the water spinning and everything going dark. When she wakes up, she is not where she was – instead she is in Bristol in England, in the year 1532. This is an era that Bridget has studied extensively, indeed is linked to through ancestry. She is a beautiful woman and King Henry VIII requests her presence at his court. She becomes lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn and now the real fight begins. Can she escape with her life? Is she going to change history as we know it or is she, in fact, a part of the history that she knows so well through her studies? There’s only one way to find out.

Circle of Time by Debra Shiveley Welch is an amazing story. Right from page one, I was drawn inexorably into this story, shadowing Bridge as she finds herself in an intriguing world, one that she’s only ever read about. Full of historical fact and fiction, this is a tale of epic proportions. It is a mixture of history, of romance, of humor and sadness. It is a tale that wreaks havoc with the heart in more ways than one, and I could not put it down. The plot was fantastic, so original, and clearly Ms. Welch has done a lot of research to get this book just right – it worked. The characters were colorful and realistic to the point where I was there with them, living the story as it unfolded, following the course of time as it wove its way through a rich tapestry. Fantastic book, one of the very best I have ever read.

Marta Tandori

If you love historical novels or those which involve some sort of time travel, you’re going to love Circle of Time by talented writer Debra Shiveley Welch. Twenty-one-year-old Bridget (Bridge) Littleton is on her father’s luxurious yacht, customarily used by him to wine and dine coveted clients, and is sailing the waters of the Bermuda Triangle with her companion, Liam. It’s a beautiful starry night and both are out on deck, enjoying the starlit sky, the salty air and some delicious Bordeaux when the ocean suddenly becomes choppy, making Bridge lose her balance and slip overboard, as Liam valiantly tries to hold onto her hand to keep her from being swallowed by the black whirlpool that seems to have formed out of nowhere. Unable to maintain his grip, he watches in horror as Bridge is sucked into the vortex of dark water.

Bridge slowly reaches consciousness some time later but instead of opening her eyes to familiar surroundings, she struggles to acclimatize to unfamiliar and somewhat primitive images, initially making her think that she’s been rescued by Amish. Pretending unconsciousness, she eavesdrops on the conversation of the two women attending her and is absolutely blown away a short time later to discover that she’s traveled back in time to Bristol, England, circa 1532, and that her rescuer is none other than John Lyttleton, her twelve-time great-grandfather. Thanks to Bridge’s beauty and the unusual circumstances of her rescue, word of her existence soon reaches the king’s court and it isn’t long before Bridge is being summoned to an audience with King Henry VIII himself…

What makes Circle of Time so engaging from the get-go is the fact that Debra Shiveley Welch uses an unusual form of time travel in the form of the Bermuda Triangle – an area in the North Atlantic whose vertices are Miami, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico and the island of Bermuda where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have mysteriously disappeared – to launch her protagonist back in time to the turbulent court of Henry VIII, arguably one of the most famous of England’s monarchs. As if that weren’t enough, she soon becomes lady-in-waiting to the most well-known of Henry VIII’s wives, Ann Boleyn who, as we all know, was beheaded after being convicted of adultery, incest and plotting to kill her husband.

The author’s prose is richly descriptive and finely detailed, much like one of the beautiful tapestries that probably hung on the king’s palace walls. The dialogue is flowery and somewhat formal, perfectly appropriate for the period being represented. And as any lover of historical fiction will tell you, it is that painstaking attention to historical detail which gives a book its shine and the author manages to do this effortlessly, thanks in large part to the author’s own love for Tudor history. Circle of Time is first-class time travel at its best. Part fantasy, part history lesson and one hundred percent enjoyment from beginning to last!