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.