Falling Angels
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Falling Angels

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  15,429 ratings  ·  960 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 Plume (first published January 1st 2001)
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K.D. Absolutely
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 5 of 5 stars
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...more
bookczuk
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
Susan Roy
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...more
Stacy
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...more
Mary Pellecchia
Mar 16, 2008 Mary Pellecchia rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Dinjolina
Hmpf.
Hmpf,hmpf.
This book was a bad try at writing dark.
Well all the books from this author are that,but still!
I had a real problem whit the destiny of the main character and her mother.
At least she was the main character to me.
All the others were so horrible you wanted to beat them whit a stick!
So,the mother dies.And the girl does not get the boy she wants because of her winy bratty friend that indirectly messed up her and her mothers life.
Go figure.
I just have enough of injustice to look at in...more
Tocotin
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...more
Ileen
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...more
Julie
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...more
Anne
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....more
Lori Anderson
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...more
Terry Mark
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.
Diana
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.
Ruth
c2001. I got this book from the library but what I really wanted to read was another book with the same name but by a different author which the library did not have. Perhaps this coloured my feelings for this book but I found it a pretty pointless book. The only blurb on the cover all related to Girl with a Pearl Earring. The only good thing about this book is that it is a quick read. I found the plot to be disjointed with no real explanations or details given eg what really happened to Ivy May...more
Helen Davis
I had the same feeling about Kitty, who opens this story, as I did about Ella in 'Virgin Blue',i.e. I didn't particularly like her -so self absorbed and apparently unwilling to see things from others' point of view. But, as with Ella, one gets drawn into Kitty's world and how it all looks to her. And this is also true for all the other characters. Once again Chevalier conjures up a lost world so vividly you can even smell it. It's remarkable how Chevalier writes so that you can feel close to cha...more
Sheli
Original review at Reading in Progress

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 d...more
Alex
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
Natalie
Jul 23, 2008 Natalie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Chevalier fans; historical fiction people; people who have nothing to do
I'm currently reading this. So far, it's okay. I'm about 3/8 of the way in, and it isn't really captivating. There isn't much of a story so far. It's just graveyards, graveyards, graveyards. Blah. Hopefully things will start moving faster and an actual storyline will develop.

UPDATE:
I finished this yesterday and I must say that I didn't like it. First of all, I would really give this novel 2 1/2 stars; I didn't believe it was good enough for me to give it 3 stars.
Chevalier attempts to use the mu...more
Heidi
I didn't quite know what to expect from this book, as I hadn't read the synopsis before embarking upon it...

Chevalier's narrative is told from multiple perspectives; she has employed this technique in other works, with varying degrees of success...this book falls firmly in the 'less successful' end of the spectrum...

My overwhelming problem with this book stemmed directly from the sheer number of different narrators. There are almost too many to keep track of and though each section contains the...more
LindyLouMac
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6...

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...more
Lorna
Aug 09, 2011 Lorna added it
I'd not read anything by Tracy Chevalier before, though of course I'd seen the film of Girl With A Pearl Earring - so I wasn't sure what to expect.

This book is utterly compelling - a real page-turner. It's the story of two families in London between the death of Queen Victoria and the death of Edward VII, and is told in a number of different voices - the young girl Maude Coleman, her parents, her friend Lavinia Waterhouse, Lavinia's sister Ivy May, Lavinia's parents, the servants in the Coleman...more
Lynn
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...more
Riadiani Marcelita
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...more
Amanda
Jul 17, 2009 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I really don't know how I feel about this book. There were some great parts but i felt like the book went straight from the beginning to the end, like there was no real middle meat to the book. The end was also extremely abrupt. Some of the characters we interesting as well. Kitty was much like the book - had a flicker if interesting in the beginning but just faded, even when she was at the peak of her story line. Maude, Kitty's daughter was very interesting to follow. She seemed to walk the cen...more
Jennifer
Falling Angels, an parlour drama set during Edwardian times, worked out well in my reading schedule due to its being a perfect fictional counterpart to Stiff.

Yes, Victorians love funerals. And the falling angels referred to in the title are angels who live on top of graves. Naturally death is a major player in this book - as well as gravediggers, repressed families, and suffragettes. I liked the alternating narrators. Everyone, from the char maid to the grandmother of the household, has an oppor...more
Victoria
I have a habit of, when choosing a book, picking a few up, reading the first few lines and seeing which one appeals the most. This one grabbed me straight away. I don't know where it came from - I found it at the bottom of a box of books in my spare room. I was very pleasantly surprised though. It was a good read. I learnt something about the feminist movement. I became attached to the characters and felt something for them all (even self-centred Lavinia!) It was really beautifully written and I...more
Alison Scicluna
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
Marie
The constant switching among narrators put me off at first, but as the story developed I realized that the multiple perspectives added depth and kept things moving. The story ended much more darkly than I expected, although in retrospective, the cemetery features so prominently, what did I expect? What I have enjoyed about all Chevalier's books are the interesting backdrops that she creates-- rich with historical and social details that resonate with the plot. In this case it's turn-of-the-centu...more
☮Karen
A very enjoyable story taking place from 1901 to 1910, from Queen Victoria's death to the day Edward VII dies. This was a decade of social and political change in England, which the storyline depicts perfectly through the two neighboring families, one with a progressive mother and somewhat tolerant daughter, and one with a much more conservative mother and daughter. The husbands are still in their "Lord and master" roles. All the characters are so well defined and evolving, making it all so inte...more
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1973
Born:
19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Childhood:
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.

Educa...more
More about Tracy Chevalier...
Girl With a Pearl Earring The Lady and the Unicorn Remarkable Creatures The Virgin Blue The Last Runaway

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“Over his shoulder I saw a star fall. It was me.” 14 likes
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