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Falling Angels

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,707 Ratings  ·  1,168 Reviews
In her New York Times bestselling follow-up, Tracy Chevalier once again paints a distant age with a rich and provocative palette of characters. Told through a variety of shifting perspectives- wives and husbands, friends and lovers, masters and their servants, and a gravedigger's son-Falling Angels follows the fortunes of two families in the emerging years of the twentieth ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Best Historical Fiction
227th out of 5,760 books — 22,138 voters
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo IshiguroThe House at Riverton by Kate MortonBrideshead Revisited by Evelyn WaughA Room with a View by E.M. ForsterHowards End by E.M. Forster
Downton Abbey-esque Books
46th out of 530 books — 906 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
Mar 30, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit
Gaslit England during the turn of the century. The story starts during the funeral of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) and ends during the funeral of King Edward VII (1901-1910). On their visit to the cemetery to pay respect to their beloved queen, two families meet: the Colemans and the Waterhouses and their relationships are started by the friendship between their two 5-y/o daughters, Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse. They meet when they are 5 years old and the story ends when they are in the br ...more
Cheryl  Bennett
Jul 31, 2008 Cheryl Bennett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women!
Recommended to Cheryl by: Patty
This book grabbed me from the very first page. Set at the turn of the century, the story takes place amidst the women's suffrage movement. Gender issues are also noted, whereas the man was the head of the household and "handled" the wife.
Each character speaks individually, allowing the reader to listen and decide for themselves where to put the importance of each character. The voice of the youngest children is included, as is the maid, cook, grave digger to the "gubner."
Issues of class are also
Mar 21, 2009 bookczuk rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
Once again Tracy Chevalier weaves a tale of everyday life in a different time- takes us gently through the customs and mores that define a particular point in hostory. She also allows her characters to unfold, not from one single point of view or from an omnipotent observer, but each from their own perspective. Through her words, they each grow and evolve- even the most shallow of characters shows surprising depth. The descriptive quality, simple prose, multiple perspectives, all help the story ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Stacy rated it it was amazing
Victorians were obsessed with death and sex. This book opens with the death of Queen Victoria, and ends with the death of King Edward, placing it squarely in Edwardian times, but the Victorian obsessions of death and sex are the two themes of this novel, pushing and pulling each other forward to modern times or back towards the Victorian age.

The book follows two rival families sharing adjacent cemetery plots and who eventually become next door neighbors. The two little girls become friends, the
Susan Roy
Jul 26, 2009 Susan Roy rated it it was ok
When I picked the book I was intrigued by the time period and the vehicle of using several characters and their point of view to narrate the story. I read “Girl with the Pearl Earring” which I liked very much and thought the author did a marvelous job researching the period and bringing the time period and the characters were well developed. Based on my past experience with this author I thought I’d give it a try. Unfortunately I was deeply disappointed with this book.

Various characters in the
Mary Pellecchia
Mar 16, 2008 Mary Pellecchia rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, feminists, people who enjoy experimental narrative
This takes place in Edwardian London, beginning the day after Victoria's death in 1901 and ending with the death of Edward VII in 1910. It concerns how the turn of the 20th Century affects two neighboring families, one of which hearkens back to the Victorian Era and one of which looks ahead to a new time. It especially concerns the incredibly stifling lives of women at the time. The mother in the forward family becomes a suffragette, pushing them forward perhaps a bit faster than they would wish ...more
I found this book to be initially better than the infuriating "Girl with a Pearl Earring", maybe because it tried to present the story from different points of view, but then I got angry because the promise was totally unfulfilled. The characters were unbelievable and flat, as if written with some sort of manual in hand.

There were two girls who became friends despite the differences between their families and personalities, but nothing came out of it, because simply labeling one girl as "shallo
Mar 11, 2011 Dinjolina rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 05, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book from the first to the last page. When Maude Coleman and Lavinia Waterhouse, both five years of age, meet at their families' adjoining cemetery plots on the day after Queen Victoria's death, the friendship that results between sensitive, serious-minded Maude and narcissistic, melodramatic Livy is not unlikely, despite the difference in social classes. But the continuing presence in their lives of a young gravedigger, Simon Field, is. Far too cheeky for a boy of his age and cla ...more
Riadiani Marcelita
Sep 18, 2015 Riadiani Marcelita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, like-whoa
I love how this book exposes so many different aspects of the Victorian lifestyle; from people with high society statuses, to servants and even a gravedigger's son. The fact that the story is told through the eyes of thirteen very different characters makes it even more interesting to read, since I never seemed to get bored with the whole concept of the story.

Through this book I can delve into the past and examine the London lifestyle in the Victorian era that I didn't have much clue about befor
Mar 17, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Tracy Chevalier's book I read. I really enjoyed the style of writing and the different perspectives. The main theme of the book is rather sombre and poignant as it mostly revolves around death and mourning but despite all this, I liked it a lot as it also includes the Victorians' way of thinking when faced with a death of a loved one. A favourite topic of mine - the suffragettes, is also mentioned quite frequently during the latter half of the novel. Although, it does not form ...more
Aug 25, 2015 Colleen rated it really liked it
I totally enjoyed this book even though I didn't give it a 5 star. But it was a "period" book that gave a glimpse of the historical importance of cemetaries for "preambling" and for showing the wealth and position that each person held. But, even more than that, what it was like for ladies of the time to live in the parameters of the lives they were destined for. And the children who also fell into that society and what is expected of them. Fascinating stuff -- to me. Well written book and would ...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Dec 27, 2015 Magrat Ajostiernos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
No me ha gustado mucho :(
Personajes planos, previsibles y con poca fuerza. Tramas vistas una y mil veces... En fin, me quedo con el contexto, que al menos se nota que la autora se documentó para realizar el libro
Terry Mark
Mar 03, 2013 Terry Mark rated it liked it
This is the third Tracey Chevalier book I've read and my least favourite. I quite liked the early stages of the book when the girls first met and their times playing in the cemetery but for me the book then went down hill and got more depressing and very sad, and I realise it was probably a very miserable time for a lot of people at that time but it dragged me down with it I'm afraid.So that won't be going on to my bookshelf with the other two.I hope it can find it's way to someone else's.
Lori Anderson
Apr 27, 2011 Lori Anderson rated it it was amazing
This was one of those stories that brought tears to my eyes at the end. It's an Edwardian tale of friendship, tragedy, loss, and recovery.

Some people say this book isn't plausible because friendships between a richer yet well-grounded girl, a less-rich but melodramatic girl, and a lowly grave-digger their age is highly unlikely. I would say, things happen when kids are involved. You never know who your friends will be.

I was little jarred when the story line, which is told by the point of view of
Jo Ellen
Aug 24, 2015 Jo Ellen rated it it was amazing
I abandoned the last book I was reading because after reading halfway through the book, I felt no interest in any of the characters. The opposite was true of the people in this novel. I was immediately caught up in all of their lives from the beginning. And I must say, the beginning was rather shocking considering the novel started in 1901.
A cemetery and the suffragette movement provided dramatic backdrops for each character to narrate his/her story. I was amazed at how much one can learn about
Mar 03, 2008 Diana rated it it was amazing
I love this author, and the subject matter of this book was so macabre, yet intriguing. On my last trip to London we visited Highgate cemetery (which the fictional cemetery in this book is based on. Chevalier describes everything is such detail. Highgate was a Victorian cemetery and can only be toured on the Victorian side with a guide. I was as enchanted with this book as I was with the cemetery. Both gave me chills.
Betty Strohecker
Mar 03, 2015 Betty Strohecker rated it it was amazing
Tracy Chevalier's inspriration for this novel was a visit to London's Highgate Cemetery, a very fashionable place to be buried during the Victorian period, but one that fell into disrepair after WWI. She set this story from 1901 - 1910, the end of the Victorian period and its traditions, moving into a more modern age, Edwardian. Her tale revolves around two familes - the Waterhouses, who cling to their Victorian values, and the Colemans, who are looking toward the future. These familes own neigh ...more
Secondo il mio parere questo è il vero capolavoro della Chevalier. Leggerlo è stata una lotta contro il tempo, divorando le pagine.
La storia come sempre ambietata nel passato, in un momento particolare, la prima settimana di Gennaio del 1900. Siamo in Inghilterra. Due famiglie abbastanza diverse tra loro si incontrano/scontrano per la prima volta in un cimitero, perchè le rispettive tombe di famiglia sono contigue.
Da questo momento le loro vite rimarranno inesorabilmente intrecciate, loro malgr
Nov 06, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok
Ok, this is my third Tracy Chevalier book, and I think I'm done with her now. I really, really enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, which had a lovely atmosphere and focused on subject matter very interesting to me.

This one didn't have those draws. I picked this up because it's right around Election Day and I thought it was all about the women's suffrage movement. Instead, I find it's a story about two families at the turn of the century, and their seriously petty, semi-dysfunctional problems. Wow
Jun 10, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it
I've read and enjoyed a couple of Tracy Chevalier novels, Falling Angels was published in 2002 and it is another great historical read - quirky, informative, at times very funny and some great characters.

It starts at the beginning of the twentieth century and is set in London, narrated by different characters including members of two families and a grave digger's son who lives and works in the neighbouring cemetery.

The two main characters are the two females of the families - Kitty and Gertrude.
May 29, 2009 LindyLouMac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the third novel by Tracy Chevalier that I have read and I have found them all utterly compelling and so different. I loved the choice of title which I felt was a clever use of symbolism, with angels falling throughout the book! The opening chapter may well surprise you about those staid Victorians.
Falling Angels is about the friendship of two little girls Lavinia Waterhouse and Maude Coleman.
Covering the time from when they first met in the local g
May 17, 2009 Lynn rated it really liked it
This tale opens on the day of Queen Victoria's death. Two families, with adjacent plots, meet for the first time at the cemetary. The book follows these two familes through their ups and downs over the course of nine years. The story pretty much revolves around the cemetary and is quite the commentary of Victorian England's obsession with death.

I enjoyed hearing everyone's voice: the story was told through about a dozen differnt "voices". It was never hard to keep up with each voice, and I enjo
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Set in Edwardian London, Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier takes place from January 1901 to May 1910 and was a joy to read.

This historical novel confidently covers themes of mourning, mourning etiquette, class and the suffragette movement with an engaging and natural writing style.

The chapters are narrated in the first person by several of the main characters, although each character picks up the thread of the story and continues with it, rather than re-living the same events from their point o
Feb 07, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
I seem to keep checking out Tracy Chevalier books because she is very prolific and there are always audio books by her on my library shelves! I think she is an interesting, good writer. A lot of her stuff like "Girl With the Pearl Earring" has some historical basis, but this one is simply a novel. I quite liked it. But it won't change your life or anything. :) I need Brad Ferguson to write brilliant reviews for me.
Aug 12, 2016 Letitia rated it liked it
This novel does something that I think is important to good historical fiction: it integrates actual historical events and the trends of the day into the lives of the fictional characters. The deaths of royals, the suffragette movement, the centrality of death to the reality of Victorian lives, all come through as authentic cultural touchstones.

The issue with this particular novel is that there is little to no plot. As a cultural and historical snapshot I think it's done very well. As a story, i
Sep 27, 2015 Priscilla rated it it was ok
Falling Angels was a disappointing follow-up to The Girl with the Pearl Earring. None of the subtlety or plausibility and I felt through the whole thing that Chavalier merely used the novel as a way of showing off how much research she had done on the women’s suffrage movement.
Mar 04, 2015 Gift rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-novel
This was my fourth (or fifth?) book from Tracy so I had an idea what should I expect- nearly perfect historical research, beautiful language, and original topic. So I didnt mind waiting more than 60 pages, because… it is Tracy and Tracy normally has smooth but quite slow starts.
What was the result? It was definitely worth waiting! The book was not as witty as “The Lady and the Unicorn”, nor so good written as “Girl with a Pearl Earring” but I enjoyed. I liked the idea of “linked diaries” which
Jan 27, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed several of Tracy Chevalier's books and I did like this one although not quite as much as some of her others. Again, I was hung up on the star rating system. In my opinion, "Falling Angels" was somewhere between a three and a four. It opens in 1901 on the death of Queen Victoria and we see how upper middle class people were expected to behave. In particular, will Maude and Lavinia become good friends? Will these two such different personalities learn to stand up as modern women despi ...more
Robert Palmer
Feb 02, 2016 Robert Palmer rated it it was amazing
This story is told with the voices of the various characters, two little six year old girls,Maude and Lavinia,there Mothers and Fathers, the maid,the cook,the grave diggers Son and the cemeteries manager. The setting of the story is Victorian England ( London 1901 ). Beginning with the death of Queen Victoria and ending with the death of King Edward VII in 1910. Much of the story takes place in a London cemetery as the two girls meet in the cemetery and soon become best friends,their Mothers,how ...more
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Sisterhood of the...: Falling Angels Tracy Chevalier 11 14 Apr 26, 2013 12:13PM  
Was being a suffragette bad for Kitty? 3 37 Feb 17, 2012 01:28PM  
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19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

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