Set between the deaths of Queen Victoria and her son, King Edward VII, this novel explores cultural changes at the turn of the century.
The story ends and begins in a London cemetery. Tracy Chevalier is brilliant at giving history new life and I feel as though I have learned more from her novels than from textbooks… perhaps because I find textbooks desolately boring! In this book, Chevalier explores Victorian mourning customs, the advent of cremation and the rise of suffragettes as women in Britain marched to get the right to vote.
The story is told from different perspectives: a traditional family, the servants, gravediggers, suffragette’s and two young girls called Maude and Lavinia who grow up as best friends.
I love everything Tracy Chevalier writes and this is no exception. It is possibly one of the most tragic of her stories that I have read. I cannot sum up Chevalier in a little post like this so I just recommend that you read:
‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’
‘The Lady and the Unicorn’
‘The Virgin Blue’
You will learn so much and you will love!