Cover image for Circle of pearls
Circle of pearls
Laker, Rosalind.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, 1991.

Physical Description:
825 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


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FICTION Adult Large Print Large Print

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Author Notes

Barbara Ovstedal was born on October 3, 1921 in Bognor Regis. She wrote a few romances under the pseudonym Barbara Paul, but changed to Rosalind Laker when Barbara Paul gained recognition. Her books included Sovereign's Key, Far Seeks the Heart, Warwyck's Woman, The Venetian Mask, Circle of Pearls, The Fragile Hour, and The Golden Tulip.

Under her own name, Ovstedal has written a travel book about Norway, as well as several novels, including Red Cherry Summer, Valley of the Reindeer, and Souvenir of Sweden. She died on November 23, 2012 at the age of 91.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The era of the English Civil War, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution has long been neglected by writers of historical fiction. That is most unfortunate, since the seventeenth century in England was a time of fascinating political, cultural, and religious ferment. Laker's novel, while occasionally too heavy on romance and too light on history, does a credible job of bringing the period to life. As the reader follows the maturation of Julia Pallister, a young girl whose family members are staunch royalists, the political, social, and religious conflicts between upper and middle class, Puritan and "Papist," Roundhead and Cavalier unfold. Julia is a plucky, brave, and captivating heroine; an interesting melange of characters, both historical and fictional, march through her life. This isn't War and Peace, but it is both fun and informative. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

As British writer Laker's To Dance with Kings illuminated court life in Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, her latest work strikingly depicts 17th- and 18th-century England during the Cromwell interregnum and the Restoration. And as her earlier heroine was a practitioner of the art of fan-making, the protagonist of this engaging historical novel starts a cottage industry of ribbon embroidery after Cromwell and his Puritan regime are succeeded by luxury-loving Charles II. Through her account of the fortunes of a Royalist family, the Pallisters of Sotherleigh manor in Sussex, Laker animates the civil strife that set Cavaliers versus Roundheads, neighbor against neighbor. Julia Pallister is fated to love two men: her brother's Oxford friend Christopher Wren, and Adam Warrender, the Puritan scion of the adjoining estate. Hot-tempered, impetuous Julia, whose traits betray her into regrettable situations, is an appealing character. If her plotting is cliched and overly sentimental, Laker's well-integrated research (details of political turmoil and domestic customs, of the Great Plague and the Fire of London) make up for the sometimes cloying love story. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

A real gem. Julia, daughter in a Cavalier family, is charged to keep the only remaining Elizabethan gown and the family estate safe in Puritan England. This becomes especially difficult when the home is officially owned by a Roundhead fanatic. Julia is in love with the family friend, Christopher Wren, whose career grows from astronomer to architect. Laker presents the lifestyles of the rich and the lower class in detail. The entertaining plot unfolds realistically and logically, but with surprises, too. The reading level is not difficult; new vocabulary can be defined in context. There are relatively few characters, so readers come to know them well. The novel continues through the Restoration, the plague, and the great fire. The epilogue occurs 60 years later and ties up loose ends as Julia visits Wren's tomb at St. Paul's and then charges a daughter of the future to keep the circle unbroken, the present learning from the past through a beautiful gown of pearls. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.