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Falling Angels

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  23,679 ratings  ·  1,514 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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E.L. Parfitt I wouldn't be as harsh to say it's pablum. It is inspired by the times with some author leeway as per all her books. It's always hard what to write fo…moreI wouldn't be as harsh to say it's pablum. It is inspired by the times with some author leeway as per all her books. It's always hard what to write for the sake of the book or historical accuracy. A problem I face with my current book set post-Brexit, coronavirus times, but haven't previously with my B&B reimagining. I would add though, she researches her books well. That said this was my least favourite and I wasn't keen on all of the suffragette references, while fascinated by the two young girls hanging out in a graveyard. Thus, I don't think it is what you are looking for. I found The Orchard to be the most well researched and quite fascinating with its descriptions of managing an apple orchard. And, in general, I love all her books.(less)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 27, 2010 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 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
Craig Monson
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Chevalier’s second novel shifts from 17th-century Delft to London between the deaths of Queen Victoria and Edward VII. A lot of the action takes place in a cemetery, much like Highgate, populated by some 30 angel monuments, one of which eventually topples. The title presumably also refers to some of the female characters, who are in the process of abandoning the Victorian pedestals that have kept them somewhat set in stone. The narrative unfolds in a stream of brief, first-person accounts, less ...more
Jan 09, 2010 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
Mar 21, 2009 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
Sotiris Karaiskos
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The second book of Tracy Chevalier I read in a short time and what I can say is that it offered me another special reading experience. I can't explain it exactly based on logic but this quiet way writing and these simple but special stories that are written with attention to detail create an effect that is particularly enjoyable to me. Of course in the case of this book I confess that in the beginning I struggled a bit, this strange structure with the very small chapters and the continuously alt ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, top-author
Loved this historical fiction family drama that begins in 1901 and the death of Queen Victoria that sets the scene and the tone of the book.
Multiple point of views keep this moving at a brisk pace as we sample the lives of each different character; both male and female, rich and poor.
Susan Roy
Jul 20, 2009 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
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
Mary Pellecchia
Mar 16, 2008 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
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Read this the first time in 2017 and I only gave it two stars, don't know my reason behind that but this time I've enjoyed it more, it's an interesting look at life in early 1900s. I thought it was interesting to see different behavior and what they thought was right and wrong. Not my favorite Tracy Chevalier but it was a good book nevertheless ...more
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pam Jenoff
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love everything Chevalier has written but this unique story set in Edwardian London has been a particular, long-time favorite. The story focuses on the friendship of two young girls from different backgrounds and includes several perspectives, including that of a gravedigger's son and an ardent suffragette. A well-researched piece of historical fiction and a gripping story.
Feb 05, 2013 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 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, like-whoa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 15, 2012 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
Nov 28, 2014 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
Terry Mark
Feb 21, 2013 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. ...more
She-Readers Book Club
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inventive storyline and I enjoyed the friendship between the two girls and Simon. The cemetery setting was beautiful and the mothers of both girls reminded us that our moms are just humans with complex lives of their own. I liked the writing style and how the story was told by all of the different characters in their own voice. Jenny was a favorite for me. I also really liked the portrayal of Miss Black. Such an edgy, feminist vibe.
Lori Anderson
Apr 25, 2011 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
Nov 06, 2012 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
Jo Ellen
Mar 30, 2014 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 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.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one, although this made for a heck of a book to finish just after giving birth to a baby girl. I mean, I can think of worse, but the (view spoiler) was not exactly welcome just now.

Other than that, I found this to be a quick, engaging read. I enjoyed getting so many different perspectives, and appreciated that each change in point of view was clearly marked.

The book has plenty of literal angels in the cemetery, including a li
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was ok


I didn't realize this was a slice of life novel, I'm not really a fan of those types of stories even though they tend to be well written a character rich, they just have nothing going on... That's what this book's main problem was. Nothing really happens for over 300 pages. But something inside of me wanted to finished it to the end.

I really like Chevalier's style of writing and generally like her books, but this books rambles on and on. There were points in the novel when it seemed like
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Thanks to her trustworthy research, I always learn a bit of history from Tracy Chevalier stories. In this book you will learn about mourning etiquette, grave digging and women's suffrage in early 1900s England.

This one didn't enfold me in a dream-like atmosphere as Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Virgin Blue did but it was still a captivating read.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
read in school, kind of cozy but kind of boring.
Jun 10, 2010 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 27, 2009 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
Betty Strohecker
Mar 03, 2015 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
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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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