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.
Started slow, but eventually I came to be fascinated with all of the characters. Very readable and enjoyable with complex, multi-dimesional storytelling.
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.
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.