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Claire

Falling Angels

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I hardly wanted to read this book. Girl with a Pearl Earring was so perfect, I thought this was bound to be a disappointment by comparison. But it was good.

 

I loved the portrayal of the pressures and quirks and unrest in our society just after the death of Queen Victoria - and the fact that most of the novel took place in a cemetary! The exploration of the different views of death and sex and women worked well, but in some ways I was more aware of all that, than the actual story itself.

 

I guess I was most moved by the character of Kitty Coleman and her frustrations and her strained relationships with her daughter, Maude. What did other people think of her? I didn't find her entirely likeable, but I did so want her to find the fulfillment she was looking for, somehow.

 

Loved this book - do read it, everyone! I also have a sudden urge to go and wander around Bradford's large victorian cemetary, to look at the angels!

 

Who else has read this? Do come and comment. Megustaleer, where are you :)

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I loved this book and, for some reason, imagined it as set in Stoke Newington cemetary. Somehow it seemed to me to be a peculiarly London book so it was interesting to see that Claire could place it in Bradford.

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I agree with you, BrumB - it does seem very much a London-based book. I hadn't imagined it was actually set in Bradford.

 

It's just that it would be a very long trip for me to visit a London cemetary, and Bradford is very close and has rather a big Victorian one and I'm curious about it all of a sudden!

 

How long ago did you read it? Which of the characters or events do you find has stayed in your head the longest?

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I had read and enjoyed Girl With A Pearl Earring, but was a bit doubtful when it was suggested a few months later that we read Falling Angels for my RL bookgroup, I have so often been disappointed whe reading further books by an author I have enjoyed at the first 'meeting'.

 

As it turned out, I enjoyed this more than GWPE, right from that startling first chapter. Although Kitty is disappointed by the previous night's encounter, and seems to be resigned to a 20th century as dour as the 19th it is clear to the reader that she will not be able to stand her restricted life for much longer. We are already waiting for her to break out.

 

And I felt sorry for Richard, who was really at a loss to know what was wrong, and what he could do about it!

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I agree with you, BrumB - it does seem very much a London-based book. I hadn't imagined it was actually set in Bradford.

 

It's just that it would be a very long trip for me to visit a London cemetary, and Bradford is very close and has rather a big Victorian one and I'm curious about it all of a sudden!

 

How long ago did you read it? Which of the characters or events do you find has stayed in your head the longest?

 

Don't worry Claire I realised you didn't think it had been set in Bradford but it was interesting that you saw most Victorian cemetaries as similar.

 

I read this when it first came out and before I had really heard of Tracy Chevalier. The details are now rather vague in my head. Oddly enough I think the relationship that stayed mainly with me was the one between the girls and the boy, Simon - the gravedigger's son (?). So the class division must have struck me more than the suffragette movement - a bit worrying! As literature, I loved the graveyard metaphors of the urn and the angel. What surprises me when you walk round Victorian cemetaries is how similar the monuments are compared say, with those in a country churchyard. In my experience you seldom get the same sense of the individual or the passing of time. But they are certainly grand places and tell their own story. Think I'll read this again! Thanks, Claire.

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Don't worry Claire I realised you didn't think it had been set in Bradford but it was interesting that you saw most Victorian cemetaries as similar.

 

To be honest, I have no clue at all how similar they might be. If I make it there, I'll let you how it measures up ;)

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I also have a sudden urge to go and wander around Bradford's large victorian cemetary,
Watch where you are walking, you wouldn't want to spend a cold winter's night at the bottom of an open grave!

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Simon's chilly night was one of the things I remembered most clearly, and I wouldn't want the same thing to happen to you.

 

He must have been a strong little beggar to survive a night as cold as that.

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