This book really sneaks up on you with short, sharp chapters that make you think you'll read just one more... The next thing you know, the book is finished in just one or two sittings. The characters are charming and endearing, and the story never gets mired down with irrelevant detail. It's hard to put down, and it's perfect for a quick, light read. Feel free to email with questions. ~LeAnn
This was a wonderful book. It is a 'fast read' with chapters organized as each character narrates their view of the developing story and their part in making it. Beginning in 1901, it contrasts the values at the end of the Victorian era with those developing at the opening of a new century and continues to tell its tale through the contrast of relationships, standards, and lifestyles between two well-to-do households whose daughters become best friends. True to history, the local cemetery was a more than a place to bury the deceased; it was a thriving business that testified to social standing through the location and ornamentation, and was as much a social destination for the living as a resting place for the deceased. When two girls meet over the closely placed graves of their families adjoining plots, they begin a journey from child to adulthood. Together they encounter the son of a grave digger. The relationship between these three demonstrates their youthful acceptance of circumstance. As the plot progresses, it offers lessons in social inequity, and produces the startling events that will lead each to maturity.
I chose to read this after having enjoyed reading "Girl with a Pearl Erring". Though equally interesting and highly readable, they are very different books. Ms Chevalier has demonstrated that she is no paint-by-numbers writer as she artfully weaves the creativity of a story teller with the faithfulness of an historian. I look forward to reading more of her work and whatever surprises they have in store.
After "Girl with the Pearl Earring" I definitely had high expectations, but this book is, in a different sort of way, actually better. Every chapter relates a different character's first-hand take on the events of the day, starting New Year's Day 1901 and on through 1910 - covering the period following the death of Queen Victoria through the end of the rule of her son, Edward. Sort of like "Upstairs, Downstairs" there are upper class English suffragettes, their long-suffering and befuddled husbands, conniving servants, abortionists, grave diggers that even the lower classes look down their noses on, and not-so-innocent children. Granted, I'm an unapologetic book snob, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one - and even found the final chapter to be quite touching.
If you like historical fiction, the book captures the turn of the century England. I liked the insights into the changing mores of the era. The story is told from different characters' perspective, so you view society through different lenses. Not as a compeling story as The Girl With the Peal Ear Ring. Yet I liked the insights into the characters' lives.
This is an interesting book about two neighboring families with young daughters living in London during the early 1900's. Its storyline revolves around women's rights and issues, and the rules regarding proper mourning. Though I thoroughly enjoyed "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Virgin Blue", this Tracy Chevalier book seemed less gripping, and it wasn't as sensual as her other books. I thought it was a good book just not a great one.
Tracy Chevalier's Falling Angels differs from some of her other works in that it jumps from historical period to modern. The tale is cleverly woven between generations, and is very intriguing. Great book.
Gave me new insight to the Victorian experience and made me look at cemeteries in a whole new way. Chapters are told from different characters' perspectives. Overall, like it better than Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Since I consider "Girl with the Pearl Earring" one of the best books I've every read, it would be hard for Chevalier to do as well and nearly impossible for her to do better. That being said, this is an engaging book, with an interesting premise. One might have an interesting time comparing and contrasting it to Ibsen's "A Doll's House", set in roughly the same period, though in a different country. The characters are interesting enough and her writing is always excellent, but I just couldn't help comparing it the "..Girl.." and finding it lacking.
I found this book to be really entertaining. It doesn't hurt that it revolves around a time period I am obsessed with, not to mention the unexpected theme of changing Victorian funeral culture on the cusp of the new century. I liked this even better than Girl with a Pearl Earring, although it could be perceived as macabre by some, it was so much less depressing. A GREAT story with fascinating historical details. The main character of Maude is my hero! Highly recommend...
I LOVED Falling Angels! At first I was turned off by the first chapterette, about someone having an affair. But if I don't keep a list of who the characters are, I get confused. I hadn't done that because I started it at the doctors office. So after awhile, I picked the book up again and kept a list and really got into it very fast! I wondered what the little girls had to do with it. Why is the cemetery so important? What's the point of this plot? What does the title mean? So began getting all excited and couldn't figure out the ending, but it made me feel good when it did.
This is quite different from her other works, and is unusual in that it is not based on a painting. It is a study of two families brought together by their daughters in a cemetary visiting their respective families deceased. One family is quite well to do, the other aspiring yet middle class and conservative. The girls grow up during the suffragette movement, and it affects their lives in good and horrible ways.
Not one of Chevaliers top works, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. It was interesting to read about post Victorian domestic life, particularly the cumbersome traditions and dress associated with mourning.
I loved this book. It is the only book that I can remember listening to that got me so involved that I actually wept at one part. I am a grief therapist, and this book so eloquently and deftly portrays two families dealing with grief. WONDERFUL book, in a historical setting in London.
I just read this book for the second time. It is a truly a sad story of two little girls and their families during Victorian times. It is a good book because it shows the influence of Victorian ideals on the lives of two families and the frustration obviously felt by the women of the era. I recommend it.
I absolutely LOVED this book! It takes place in Victorian England, and is told via shifting perspectives of the characters in the book. Basically, the story revolves around two families who happen to meet because their family grave plots lie next to each other. The characters are so vivid, and the story itself very interesting; Chevalier is an excellent writer. This is one book I couldn't put down until I finished it. It is a great read, and highly recommended!
My copy has a list of readers and their comments on inside of cover. All raved about book. My grown daughter added her rave vote and I will have to now add mine. (I am almost at the end.) I found the book to be a fun read and unusual; I like to take it to bed. Interesting: The scene in the first chapter is...different. A way to hook the reader perhaps? (A strange man climbs out of the bed of the main, married, female character's bed...but the husband knows and approves.)
I enjoyed Chevalier's "Girl with a Pearl Earring' so I picked this up as well.
It's a character-driven historical novel of two families, especially their daughters, who grow up as neighbors, their lives intertwining and becoming complicated through the cemetery by their homes, from the death of Victoria (1901) to the end of the Edwardian era (1910). Along the way, there's friendship, enmity, rivalry, class issues, women's suffrage, abortion, infidelity, and always, the role of death and the cemetery in this society...
Very well-written, enjoyable book.
I ordered this book after reading the reviews. I didn't know what to expect. I sat down to read it and I must say I couldn't put it down. I don't know what it is about this book. It's not earthshaking but the author portrays her characters so well that you immediately get caught up in their lives. There are so many layers to it. I think it would be an excellent book for a book club to discuss.
Fabulous book about the transition from Victorian England at the turn of the century and the early women's rights movement. Told fromt he perspective of each character! Our book club gave it a big thumbs up!
Oh my gosh. Tracy Chevalier has done it again! An incredible story that draws you into the lives of the two main families and the experiences that pull them together and keep them apart. I was so impressed with Girl With the Pearl Earring that I had to get more by this author. Not a disappointment!
This is an author you either like or you don't care for. There seems to be no inbetween. I find her some what boring and hard to get into. I know others who love her. This was hard for me to get interested in and i did not care for the writing. I have also tried her Girl With The Pearl Earring and found the same for that book. I won't be reading any more of hers.
This book follows two Victorian London girls, who meet in an unlikely place and manner, from childhood to adolescence.
My interest in the story's characters and plot really was only piqued when I was about halfway through the book- things really seemed to pick up then. Perhaps the method of narration Chevalier employs, skipping between the first-person perspectives of ten or so characters, caused a feeling of distance for me. Though it's interesting to 'hear' what each person is thinking, this method sacrifices intimacy and mystery, and therefore complexity.
Though the plot and setting were both compelling, their inherent turn of the century excitement outshines the characters, which left me with an overall feeling of superficiality.
A woman is caught up in the British suffrage movement, her family is burdened with her absence. Her daughter experiences the throes of childhood relationships changing as one matures. The shadow of death lingers throughout the story. This was a good story to pass the hours of transcontinental driving, but don't expect any significant enlightenment.
Ms. Chevalier's charater development makes for a most interesting read, as in all her books. Her stories are never dull and I having a problem putting the novels down when I start them. Fortunately they are quick reads.
One of those books that you get pulled into, abit slowly at first then you are off and going. The characters are interesting and develope a certain place in everyones story. You will like the complexity of the story with out it being muddied down. A really great read.
Reading this book made me realize the astounding changes and attitudes of England during the change of the century . The story is told from the main characters point of view at the same time,very interesting and riveting.I have now become a great fan of the author. Marvelous storytelling.I didn't want the story to end.
I loved this book, which we read for my book club. I couldn't put it down and it's a pretty quick read. It's set in the early 1900's and is about two families with young girls that grow up next door to each other. The ending is somewhat tragic but this book is highly recommended.
By the aurthor of Girl with a pearl earring.Jan.1901,the day after Queen Victoria's death: two famies visit neighboring graves in fashionable London cemetery.One is decorated with a sentimental angel,the other an Elaborate urn.Separated by social class as well as taste,the Waterhouses cling to traditions while the Colemans look ahead to more modern society.
In January 1901, two families become inextricably linked when their daughters meet in a fashionable London cemetery. Separated bu spocial class as well as taste, the Waterhouses cling to traditions while the Colemans look ahead to a more modern society. As the girls grow up and the nation emerges from the shadows of oppressive Victorian values, one woman's bid for greater personal freedom....