13 March 2019

Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier - Book Review

I'm back with another review of a Tracy Chevalier novel - Falling Angels. As usual, I loved the story and the author's style, which is unique and so pleasant to read. Not only is Falling Angels a fantastic novel, but also a vivid picture of Victorian Britain and London's suffragette movement. Indeed, it is set at the beginning of the 20th century, just after Queen Victoria's death, and describes in detail family life of the middle classes and rituals surrounding death, burial and mourning. Though these may seem dark topics, Chevalier writes about them in a documentary style and through the eyes of adults and children in a unique way.

The Waterhouses and the Colemans are two families living in the same neighbourhood and whose gravestones are one next to the other. Lavinia Waterhouse makes friends with Maude Coleman and Simon, the gravedigger's son, by playing at the cemetery. Their lives and their parents' intertwine as the children grow up and the suffragette movement emerges.

The strongest character in the novel is perhaps Kitty Coleman, who goes from being an uncommon woman of the middle class to a strong woman fighting for her values - but I won't say more to avoid spoiling the story. On the other hand, I couldn't stand the characters of Gertrude Waterhouse and old Mrs Coleman - they were so irritating yet so well-depicted in their bad tempers!

Some of my favourite passages were towards the end of the book, so I won't share them. I will just say that as you read the book, you can get more and more into it, until events take an unexpected and dramatic turn.

I have now read all novels by Tracy Chevalier but Remarkable Creatures, which I'll try to get back into, and I'm desperate to read her upcoming novel A Single Thread.

Have you read Falling Angels or other books by Tracy Chevalier? Did you enjoy them? 

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