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The Passing Bells: A Novel (Greville Family) [Paperback]

Phillip Rock
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

18 Dec 2012 Greville Family

Before Downton Abbey, there was Abingdon Pryory, the elegant country home of the Grevilles—a titled English family who, along with their servants, see their world turned upside down when England goes to war. Once their well-kept lawns and whirling social seasons give way to the horrors of World War I, no one, upstairs or downstairs, is left untouched. For fans of sweeping historical fiction, the reissue of Phillip Rock's New York Times bestseller The Passing Bells is a breathtaking family saga not to be missed.

Frequently Bought Together

The Passing Bells: A Novel (Greville Family) + Circles of Time: A Novel (Greville Family Saga) + A Future Arrived: A Novel (P.S.)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (18 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062229311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062229311
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


“A capacity to shock, to astonish, and to engage . . . written throughout with economy and wit.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Swift and startling power . . . moving . . . entertaining . . . can absorb you into its fictional landscape as easily as Alice passing through the looking glass.” (Chicago Tribune Book World)

“Well-written, exciting . . . echoes of Hemingway, Graves, and ‘Upstairs, Downstairs,’ with characters who breathe and about whom one cares.” (Library Journal)

“Spellbinding. This is really a start-reading-and-don’t-stop-until-you’re-finished-novel.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Every twenty-five years or so, we are blessed with a war novel, outstanding in that it depicts not only the history of our time, but also its soul.” (West Coast Review of Books)

“Fascinating . . . a timeless tale of the conflicts that emerge from a violent change. It is a delight to read.” (Cleveland Press)

From the Back Cover

The guns of August are rumbling throughout Europe in the summer of 1914, but war has not yet touched Abingdon Pryory. Here, at the grand home of the Greville family, the parties, dances, and romances play on. Alexandra Greville embarks on her debutante season while brother Charles remains hopelessly in love with the beautiful, untitled Lydia Foxe, knowing that his father, the Earl of Stanmore, will never approve of the match. Downstairs the new servant, Ivy, struggles to adjust to the routines of the well-oiled household staff, as the arrival of American cousin Martin Rilke, a Chicago newspaperman, causes a stir.

But, ultimately, the Great War will not be denied, as what begins for the high-bred Grevilles as a glorious adventure soon takes its toll—shattering the household's tranquillity, crumbling class barriers, and bringing its myriad horrors home.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An elegy for a destroyed generation 17 Nov 2011
Philip Rock strikes the central chord in the tragedy of the Great War. In The Passing Bells, he catches perfectly (or at least, it seems perfect - I wasn't there) the sense of carefree Edwardian England in the lazy summer days of 1914, but by the end of the book the reader realizes the immensity and nature of the change that the horrors of the trenches wrought on Society at large and his characters in particular. The setting is perfect, the events graphic.

The story is told largely through the eyes of an American in England and Europe, and this gives a focal distance which would otherwise be impossible. The author gets the tone of it just right.

But it is the characters and the writing that is the author's triumph. Each character is finely and subtly drawn, each one multi-faceted and convincing. You laugh with them, you cry with them; you live and you die with them - and you exist in the half-life of shell shock so intensely it rips your guts out.

A triumph - a bitterly sad, shocking and heart-rending triumph.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did you know there are sequels? 22 Jan 2012
By D. Hart
I absolutely love this book and have read it many, many times since I bought it in the 1980s. However, a few years ago, in a secondhand bookshop in France, I found "A Future Arrived" by the same author and was amazed to find it was the final in a trilogy! I scoured the internet and found the second book which is called "Circles of Time". All three are brilliant and I would recommend them without a doubt.

All the characters are there - except Lydia - and the development of the characters, inter-twined with the rise of Nazism in Germany, is beautifully and evocatively written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passing Bells: 17 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful saga of an upper class family and the changes the first world war brings. I would strongly reccomend it to anyone interested in that period of history, it covers both the changes on the home front and life in the trenches giving a real feeling for the lives of the people involved.
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