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January 1901, the day after Queen Victoria's death. Two families visit neighbouring graves in a fashionable London cemetery. One is decorated with a sentimental angel, the other with an elaborate urn. The Waterhouses revere the late Queen and cling to Victorian traditions, while the Colemans look forward to a more modern society. To their mutual distaste, the families are inextricably linked when their daughters become friends behind the tombstones. And worse still, befriend the gravedigger's muddy son. As the girls grow up, and the new century finds its feet, as cars replace horses and electricity outshines gas lighting, the nation emerges from the shadows of oppressive Victorian values to a golden Edwardian summer. It is then that the beautiful, frustrated Mrs Coleman makes a greater bid for personal freedom, with disastrous consequences, and the lives of the Colemans and Waterhouses are changed forever.
©2002 Tracy Chevalier (P)2002 Harper Collins UK