1901, the year of Queen Victoria's death. The two graves stood next to each other, both beautifully decorated. One had a large urn - some might say ridiculously large - and the other, almost leaning over the first, an angel - some might say overly sentimental. The two families visiting the cemetery to view their respective neighbouring graves were divided even more by social class than by taste. They would certainly never have become acquainted had not their two girls, meeting behind the tombstones, become best friends. And furthermore - and even more unsuitably - become involved in the life of the gravedigger's son. As the girls grow up, as the century wears on, as the new era and the new King change social customs, the lives and fortunes of the Colemans and the Waterhouses become more and more closely intertwined - neighbours in life as well as death.
- Tracy Chevalier