I reviewed Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier a few weeks ago and saw that there was only one of her books I had not read, so I ordered it at work and read it on the weekend.
Falling Angels opens with the death of Queen Victoria and with her death the end of the Victorian era. We meet two families, one family stalwarts of Victorian ideals and the others moving towards the modern ideas of Edwardian England.
We see friction arise from the ideas of changing times, movements to change laws and the breaking down of class ideas. The life of the two families cross and intersect over 10 years.
As I read this book I was constantly reminded of John Galsworthy's "The Forsyte Saga".
In fact it is like a mini version of that mammoth classic! And that is a compliment. In 401 pages Tracy Chevalier covers a similar time frame and ideas, that you read in the 3 books of 'The Forsyte Saga.
I was fascinated by the forms of Morning and rites of death that where in place during these times and are used as a metaphor in this book.
The dress that you can see from the above link is not a Morning Dress for the reasons below;
"The hemline is fully pleated and has a "kilting" of magenta pleated satin peeking out from under the black satin - which, according to the expert - proclaims that this gown could not, under any circumstances, be worn for mourning."
(above is a wonderful website and I can spend hours hours here just looking at the wonderful creations. As a side note, these dresses and all other "women's" craft over the millennium to me are amazing because they show what woman could do and what they where "allowed" to do to be creative. For every one Artemisia there must have been hundreds of women who could not have a creative outlet like that, but had to relye on dress making or cross stitch or tatting to express themselves.)
Sorry about that back to the book.
Falling Angles is a good read, in fact I would have liked it more if there was more to read! I found it just a teeny tiny bit to brief.
It also contains one of the most beautifully tragic lines I have ever read.
"Over his shoulder I saw a star fall. It was me."
Read that in context and tell me if you don't cry.