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Falling Angels

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  16,820 ratings  ·  1,033 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 2001)
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Best Historical Fiction
231st out of 4,929 books — 19,112 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
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
Alison
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
Colleen
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
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
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
Gail
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.
Gift
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
...more
Betty Strohecker
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
Lisa
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
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.
Tamara Ketter
If you read Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" in school and enjoyed it, then this book is for you. Set at the beginning of the 20th century, it deals with women's rights, growing up, control, class differences, and other changes in people's lives. The only disconcerting thing about the book is that it is told from different characters' perspectives, and it takes some time to get used to that. Definitely a good read!
Chris
I really am still thinking about the stars for this book. I liked it enough, characters were likable enough, although I am still considering it- what does that say? I read this with enthusiasm- back and forth between the families- parents and children- and servants and in the British form of speaking- it was just droll. Not in a witty sort of way. Not bad- not great.Some big events just kind of sat there. ho hum.
I am so spoiled by shoot em up, bang bang, chase around the world, drama and innuend
...more
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
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
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Sisterhood of the...: Falling Angels Tracy Chevalier 11 12 Apr 26, 2013 12:13PM  
Was being a suffragette bad for Kitty? 3 31 Feb 17, 2012 01:28PM  
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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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