In Falling Angels
Tracy Chevalier tells the story of two London families at the dawn of the Edwardian era. The day after Queen Victoria's death both the Colemans and the Waterhouses visit the cemetary, visiting the gravesites of their own family. Their plots are adjoining and their daughters, Maude and Lavinia, become fast friends. Simon, the gravediggers son, quickly falls in with them. It will be two years until the girls meet again when the Waterhouses buy a house that adjoins the Coleman's property. The girls spend much of their free time, together with Simon, in the cemetary, and eventually draw other members of their family inside it's walls as well.
Mrs. Coleman uses this an opportunity to relieve the tedium of her life and is soon heavily involved in the suffragist movement. She is bored with her own home life and eventually her political involvement consumes not only herself, but that of her own family and finally with disasterous consequences that of the Waterhouses.
Chevalier wrote this story in 1st person, sharing with us the persepective of all the key players, as well as incorporating the stories of some of the secondary characters. Most of the play goes to Maude, Lavinia, Kitty Coleman, and Gertrude Waterhouse, but everyone gets their chance to be heard - even if only for one line. The characters are richly drawn and the background is given just enough detail to be historically accurate but still have room to write a moving ficitional account of two families living through it.
I was really drawn into this story and found it hard to put down this book, finishing it in two sittings. Chevalier has definitely found herself a new fan and I will be picking up another of her books very soon.