Monday, 11 February 2013

Falling Angels

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Published: October 2001

What They Say: Will friendship overcome the social boundaries of Edwardian London in this bestselling historical tale perfect for fans of Audrey Niffenegger and Sarah Waters.

January 1901, the day after Queen Victoria’s death: two families visit neighbouring graves in a fashionable London cemetery. One is decorated with a sentimental angel, the other an elaborate urn. The Waterhouses revere the late Queen and cling to Victorian traditions; the Colemans look forward to a more modern society. To their mutual distaste, the families are inextricably linked when their daughters become friends behind the tombstones. And worse, befriend the gravedigger’s son.
As the girls grow up and the new century finds its feet, as cars replace horses and electricity outshines gas lighting, Britain emerges from the shadows of oppressive Victorian values to a golden Edwardian summer. It is then that the beautiful, frustrated Mrs Coleman makes a bid for greater personal freedom, with disastrous consequences, and the lives of the Colemans and the Waterhouses are changed forever.

A poignant and historical tale of two families brought reluctantly together, Falling Angels is an intimate story of childhood friendships, sexual awakening and human frailty. Its epic sweep takes in the changing of a nation, the fight for women’s suffrage and the questioning of steadfast beliefs.

What Sheli Says: This was my second foray into reading Chevalier's work and it was just as good as the first!

This book is set just post-Victorian era following the death of Queen Victoria and we follow it right through to the rallies held in London by the Suffragettes. The story is told from a number of characters' points of views and we meet a number of people along the way.

The detail of this book is brilliant, and I liked the fact that it was based around the subject of death, something that the Victorians treated very differently to how we do today. However, it is not morbid or dark in any way. It just shows a different view of life and how people dealt with it back then.

The descriptions were really evocative without being overly wordy and the characters were all really well developed, even if some were a little infuriating!

Chevalier is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I would definitely recommend her to fans of Sarah Waters.

Sheli's Rating: 10/10

“Over his shoulder I saw a star fall. It was me.”

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