In Falling Angels , Tracy Chevalier has combined a moving elegy to the lost innocence of the 21st centurys grandmothers and great-grandmothers with a reminder of the strength and modernity of their aspirations and achievements. Maude and Livy are aged six in 1901, when Queen Victoria has just died and the whole country is in mourning. In 1910 they are almost young women who have experienced their own personal losses and belong to a generation who are no longer prepared to wear black for months to mark the death of Edward VII. Their families, the Colemans and the Waterhouses (no relation to the painter), meet in a graveyard beside their family graves. One has a large marble angel erected above it, the other an urn (an allusion more to the morbidity of a Victorian columbarium than the eternity of Keats pre-Victorian unravishd bride of quietness). Their choices of a monument to death seem to reflect their differing attitudes to life, but Chevalier makes clear that these two families are forever linked in their fates and aspirations. The story moves swiftly, switching to multiple narratives: young but quickly maturing Maude and Livy; the adult Colemans and Waterhouses; their servants; and Simon the gravedigger boy. Chevalier has chosen carefully who speaks when, and who, more importantly, keeps silent. Livys little sister Ivy May is one of the most beguiling figures of the work, but is given only two sentences of her own (and those two bring a lump to the throat). Mrs Colemans experiences with the campaign for womens suffrage are marginalised through silence; Maude and Livy tell instead of their reaction to the womens antics. And while Falling Angels may be a story of women, despite, or perhaps because of their exclusion from contemporary politics, Simons observations are the most honest and revealing.