Sunday, May 31, 2015

Book Review: Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

An English Tale of Two Families in the Early 20th Century

While the story takes alternate voices between the many characters, this is the tale of two young girls that begins in 1901 as Queen Victoria has just passed away, and covers the reign of King Edward. This is an important event for England and sets the stage for the two girls to meet as their family plots at the local cemetery are next to one another. Initially there is discussion behind closed doors, of one family's choice to have an angel on their plot, as the other family thinks that the urn they chose is much more appropriate.

So begins the beginning of a friendship between Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse, set among the statues in the cemetery and growing up in Edwardian England. Along the way, they become friends with the local grave digger's son that allows them to see past their own privileged existence.

Life is often not as pretty as it looks to the outsiders and we learn a great deal about each family and their own private lives. The Suffragette Movement also plays into the story as well as a few other historical events that also shape the characters' lives.

While this book does play out in the cemetery for much of the story it really isn't morbid and it's interesting how much death and mourning was predominant in this time period. It's a very interesting book for many reasons and I really enjoyed it.

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