In January 1901, two families become inextricably linked when their daughters meet in a fashionable London cemetery. Separated by social class as well as taste, the Waterhouses cling to traditions while the Colemans look ahead to a more modern society. As the girls grow up and the nation emerges from the shadows of oppressive Victorian values, one woman's bid for greater personal freedom has disastrous consequences, changing the lives of both families forever.
Don't miss Chevalier's surprise best seller and book club favorite, Girl with a Pearl Earring.
©2001 Tracy Chevalier; (P)2001 HighBridge Company
"Chevalier again proves herself an astute observer of a social era...[she] shows imaginative skill in two neatly accomplished surprises, and the denouement packs an emotional wallop." (Publishers Weekly)
"[Twomey's narration is] a quiet tour de force that makes this intriguing tale enthralling." (AudioFile)
I love historical fiction! This story is definately worth the listen/read. I had a real sense of how life differed in the previous century's turn. The characters are very believable. If you took a time machine back, you'd meet one of them. A Victorian era author could not have told the tale better.
The view of life from the numerous and varied percpectives was done brilliantly. The author gives personal and accurate glimpses of humanity through the eyes of different classes, generations, and values, holding the listener's attention at every turn. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
The author provides a vivid description of life for women during victorian times from the lowly servants to the upper class. An interesting "listen" and I couldn't wait to get back to it.
Ms. Chevalier excels at character development, and her considerable talents are put to good use in this book. The story line is a little thin, but that is compensated by a cast of richly developed characters, each with their own voice. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at English Victorian society through a variety of perspectives.
An intruiguing and unusual view of a turn-of-the-century English household and neighborhood. The characters are surprising and convincing.
The main word that kept coming to mind while listening to this book was "weak". The characters are flat and one dimensional, and Chevalier cannot seem to decide which topics to focus on. The end of the oppressive Victorian Era, class distinctions at the turn of the century, The suffragette Movement, A girl's coming of age, infidelity - and sexual depravity were all included here. Sadly by attempting to tackle so much she ends up covering none of them well.
This story just ends up shallow, dull and with a plot that disolves rather than concludes.
Bottom line, this is simply not Tracy Chevalier's best work.
Audible side note: why the narrator chosen for this story opted to read it with an American accent is a mystery to me. The entire story and its characters takes place in England, but it may as well have been Columbus. I found this to be very disappointing.
I'm not sure what's more irritating..having an American reader for a book set in Victorian London or having an American reader make excruciating attempts at an English accent.
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