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If you’re looking for a gripping historical fiction audiobook, look no further than “Falling Angels” by Tracy Chevalier. This compelling narrative is filled with rich historical detail, captivating characters, and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

In this audiobook review, we will delve deep into the world of “Falling Angels” and explore all of its key elements. From the historical setting to the character development and narration style, we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • “Falling Angels” by Tracy Chevalier is a must-listen for historical fiction fans.
  • The plot is filled with twists and turns that will keep listeners engaged.
  • The historical context adds depth and richness to the story.
  • The characters are well-developed and grow throughout the narrative.
  • The narration style enhances the listening experience and brings the story to life.

About the Author

Tracy Chevalier is an American-British author and historian, born in Washington, DC in 1962. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating with a degree in English in 1984. Chevalier moved to England after graduation, where she has resided ever since.

Chevalier’s writing style is well-known for its historical accuracy, strong attention to detail, and vivid character development. Her most famous works include “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “The Lady and the Unicorn,” and of course, “Falling Angels.”

Notable Works Publication Year
Girl with a Pearl Earring 1999
The Lady and the Unicorn 2003
Falling Angels 2001

Chevalier’s historical fiction transports readers to different time periods and places, providing a glimpse into the lives and experiences of individuals from various walks of life. As a celebrated author, Chevalier has received widespread acclaim for her literary contributions and has been awarded numerous accolades.

Falling Angels is a testament to Chevalier’s exceptional writing style and ability to transport readers to a different time and place. Her literary contributions continue to inspire and entertain readers today.

Plot Summary

Falling Angels plot summary

Tracy Chevalier’s audiobook “Falling Angels” takes listeners on a captivating journey through the lives of two families during the early 1900s in Edwardian England. Set against the backdrop of the suffrage movement, the story follows the lives of two young girls, one from each family, who develop an unlikely friendship.

As the story unfolds, listeners are taken through a series of twists and turns, including a tragic death and a scandalous affair. The characters’ paths cross and intertwine, leading to unexpected reunions and revelations. The story’s climax is a gripping courtroom drama, with the families on opposing sides of a legal battle that will have lasting consequences for them all.

Through Chevalier’s vivid descriptions and rich storytelling, listeners are able to immerse themselves in the lives of the characters, feeling their joys, sorrows, and struggles. With a balance of historical detail and compelling narrative, “Falling Angels” is a must-listen for fans of historical fiction and captivating storytelling.

Historical Setting

Experience the vivid atmosphere of early 20th century London with “Falling Angels.” Tracy Chevalier’s detailed research brings to life the social, cultural, and historical contexts of this captivating story.

The narrative is set during the Edwardian Era, a time of political and social change in England. The story is fueled by the suffragette movement, which aimed to secure women’s right to vote. The author traces the struggles and aspirations of the movement’s supporters, focusing on two young girls from different class backgrounds: Maude, a daughter of an upper-class family, and Lavinia, a working-class girl.

The cultural aspects of the era, such as communication, entertainment, and fashion, are also explored in the narrative. Chevalier immerses the listener in the world of the early 1900s, with its distinct mannerisms, language, and customs.

Class Divide

Class plays a significant role in the novel, highlighting the stark differences between the rich and the poor. The upper-class obsession with tradition and etiquette clashes with the working-class drive for change and equality, creating tensions and conflicts throughout the story.

Upper Class Working Class
wealthy and powerful financial struggles, manual labor
privilege and entitlement fight for workers’ rights, social justice
well-educated, refined limited education, informal behavior

Chevalier’s exploration of the class divide illustrates the harsh reality of the time period and the struggle for social change.

Impact on Characters

The historical setting significantly impacts the development of the characters. Maude and Lavinia’s friendship is tested by the societal norms and expectations of their respective classes. Moreover, the suffragette movement challenges Maude’s secure and privileged lifestyle, forcing her to question her own beliefs and values. The working-class characters face oppression and discrimination, but their resilience and determination inspire the girls to take action and make a difference.

Narration Style

narration style

One of the most striking aspects of the audiobook version of “Falling Angels” is the unique narration style. The chosen narrator, Julie Teal, delivers a captivating performance that enhances the listening experience and brings the characters to life. Her ability to switch seamlessly between different voices and accents gives each character their own distinct personality, making it easy for listeners to follow the plot and empathize with their emotions.

Teal’s narration style also delivers a vivid sense of the historical setting, transporting listeners to Edwardian England with her tone and inflection. She conveys the subtle nuances of the time period and the social dynamics that shape the story, making it a fully immersive experience. The combination of Chevalier’s rich historical detail and Teal’s masterful narration creates an audiobook that is both informative and engaging.

Overall, the narration style in the audiobook version of “Falling Angels” is a critical component of its success as a listening experience. Teal’s delivery brings the characters and setting to life, making it easy for listeners to become fully engrossed in the story. It’s a must-listen for anyone who appreciates historical fiction that is both informative and entertaining.

Character Development

Tracy Chevalier’s “Falling Angels” is a thought-provoking narrative that intricately explores character development. The two families at the center of the story, the Colemans and the Waterhouses, face various challenges that test their morals and convictions. Through their journey, listeners witness the evolution of each character, highlighting their growth, motivations, and relationships with each other.

The main protagonist, Maude Coleman, is a dynamic character whose beliefs are challenged as she confronts societal norms and her own prejudices. Her daughter, Lavinia, undergoes a similar transformation as she navigates her own path and grapples with her identity. In contrast, Simon Waterhouse embodies the changing times, adapting to new opportunities and technologies that come with the turn of the century.

Character Development
Maude Coleman Challenged beliefs, evolving morals, confronts prejudices
Lavinia Coleman Transformation, grappling with identity, navigating her own path
Simon Waterhouse Adapting to changing times, new opportunities, embracing technology

The complex web of relationships between the characters in “Falling Angels” adds an extra layer of depth to the story, further highlighting the impact of character development on the overall narrative.

Themes and Messages

Tracy Chevalier weaves complex themes and messages throughout “Falling Angels,” exploring the struggles and triumphs of women during a time of great social change. The novel challenges traditional gender roles and highlights the resilience of characters who resist society’s expectations.

One theme explored is the power of social class. The novel illustrates the stark divide between the working-class and upper-class, and how this divide affects the characters’ interactions and experiences. Another theme is the notion of female autonomy and independence, and how women navigate their way in a society that often limits their opportunities. Chevalier also touches on the theme of death and mourning, exploring the intricacies of grief and its impact on individuals and families.

The novel’s messages are subtle but powerful. Chevalier encourages readers to question societal norms and expectations, inspiring them to think critically about their own lives and relationships. The novel also emphasizes the importance of friendship and emotional support, highlighting the impact that supportive relationships can have on an individual’s well-being.

The themes and messages of “Falling Angels” resonate with readers, challenging them to examine their own beliefs and value systems. Chevalier’s thoughtful exploration of complex themes and nuanced messages makes this audiobook a must-listen for those who enjoy historical fiction with depth and substance.

Critical Reception

Tracy Chevalier’s “Falling Angels” has garnered mixed reviews from critics and readers alike since its release as an audiobook. While some praise the book for its vivid historical setting and compelling characters, others criticize its slow pacing and lack of plot urgency.

One reviewer on Goodreads gave the book 4 out of 5 stars, noting, “I enjoyed Tracy Chevalier’s writing and found the story and characters intriguing. The historical backdrop was also fascinating and well researched. However, the plot felt rather meandering and lacked a strong sense of urgency.”

On the other hand, a review from Publishers Weekly was more positive, stating, “Chevalier has a gift for bringing historical settings to life, and ‘Falling Angels’ is no exception. Her attention to detail and depth of character development make this a must-read for fans of historical fiction.”

Overall, the critical reception of “Falling Angels” as an audiobook review has been mixed, with both positive and negative aspects noted by reviewers.


In conclusion, “Falling Angels” by Tracy Chevalier is a must-read audiobook for historical fiction lovers. With a captivating plot, rich historical detail, and well-developed characters, this audiobook is a true gem. The chosen narrator enhances the listening experience, bringing the story to life.

The underlying themes and messages of the story resonate deeply with readers, making “Falling Angels” a thought-provoking and impactful narrative. While some critics point out areas for improvement, the audiobook has received generally positive reception.

Overall, we highly recommend “Falling Angels” as a worthwhile addition to your audiobook collection. It showcases the talent and skill of Tracy Chevalier as an acclaimed storyteller and offers an engaging listening experience from start to finish.

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