"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

04 February 2014

2014 Book Review #6: Falling Angels


A book with depth.

Setting is early 20th century London, England.

Author is same one who wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring which I didn't read but I did see the movie and it was fantastic....saw it when it first came out, with my hubby, back in the 1990's.  

This particular novel would also make a good movie if Hollywood could make it just like the book......actually the BBC would probably do a far superior job. I'm not liking what Hollywood produces lately.

Anyways...this is a book review not a movie review!

This book leaves an impact on your mind....and in your heart.  It's got a lot of depth to it.  A lot of grief.  A lot of happiness.  A bit of humor.  A lot of love.

And yet it isn't a romance, really.  Nor is it a mystery.  I guess it would fall into the "historical fiction" genre.

At any rate, it's the best novel I've read so far in this new calendar year and my previous book review was a good one....I gave that book a 10!  This is even better. I read this book in 3 days.


It is 1901, January, and Queen Victoria has just died.

Two families are visiting their family grave-sites in an old fashionable cemetery near their neighborhoods in London.  Both families have a mother, a father, and 5 year old daughters.  One of the families also has a younger daughter.  Each grave-site is decorated.  One has a sentimental angel and the other, an elaborate urn.  The families do not know each other.  They are separated by social class.  As well as by taste.

The Waterhouses (Albert, Gertrude and their daughters Lavinia (Livy) and Ivy May) cling to the traditions of traditional England.

The Colemans (Richard, Kitty, and daughter Maude) are open to a more modern society.

The two families become linked when the 5 year old daughters, Livy and Maude, meet behind one of the tombstones....and...they also meet the impetuous little boy, Simon, whose Pa is the head gravedigger.  Simon, of course, is in an entirely different society class.  Yet he is the sweetest friend and loves deeply.

The girls begin to grow up and the new century begins. Electricity replaces the old gas lamps, and cars replace horse and buggy.  England emerges out of the shadows of the oppressive Victorian era to a golden Edwardian summer.  

All throughout their childhood, the girls are fascinated by the cemetery.  They are also very fascinated by the angels and they take walks and count all the angels in their section of the cemetery.  And one day, something happens to one of the angels.  Change is in the air...........

And it's at that time, that the beautiful Kitty Coleman decides to make a plea for greater personal freedom.  She joins the group of London suffragettes much to the chagrin of the Waterhouse family.  By doing so, it reaps disastrous consequences.  Both families are changed forever. Death and life are a circle.........and both Livy and Maude learn that life does go on.....


A most excellent book.  I love how the characters made me smile, laugh, cry and rejoice.  This is a very daring novel and introduces some daring concepts for the early 20th century.  

The angel statues in the cemetery are a bit symbolic and hard to explain without revealing exact events in the story that I don't want to spoil for you, should you decide to read it.

I like the rawness of emotions displayed by each character.

Each chapter is a different character's voice.  Although Livy, Simon and Maude (as well as Kitty) are the main characters, please pay close attention to Ivy May.  Pay attention also to the Coleman's maid, Jenny.  She plays a very important role in this story.

The plot basically is centered around the social mores of that time period as well as what was going on politically (women's rights/the right to vote) in England at that time.  The politics doesn't make the book get bogged down though....it is intricately woven into the plot so as not to bore the reader.

You hear from the servants and the masters...from the children to the grown-ups.  From the wives, husbands, lovers, and friends.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I couldn't put this book down. I was even reading it while cooking dinner on Monday evening.....I just had to find out what was going to happen between these girls.

The book also centers around young girls growing up........and all the feelings and thoughts that center around parents who want what they think is best for their children. The girls learn some hard life lessons in this story...you will find your self wiping away tears, shaking your head in frustration at the mothers (at least I did!!) and wanting the fathers to take a more direct approach in their daughters' lives.  It's a coming of age book, so to speak.

The author does a fantastic job of showing the different prejudices of that time period......and all the beauty of family ties.

I've discovered a new-to-me-author and I plan on looking for her other books she has written since this one.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 14 and older.

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10+.

1 comment:

Susanne said...

Looks like I'll be putting this on my library list.