Read The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley Barbara Rosenblat Online

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An ancient castle, a tragic love, and a web of secrets begins to unravel.... Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears - well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, shAn ancient castle, a tragic love, and a web of secrets begins to unravel.... Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears - well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a 13th-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price". And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, there was another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry. As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.Listening Length: 12 hours and 5 minutes...

Title : The Splendour Falls
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 23257932
Format Type : Audible Audio
Number of Pages : 375 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Splendour Falls Reviews

  • Hannah
    2018-10-28 18:47

    Curling up with a book by Susanna Kearsley is a bit like being with old friends: you like them, you trust them, and they're comfortable to be around. Reading a Kearsley book also holds an element of deja vu to it. You feel as though you've read books like this before; books that were descriptive, well written, well characterized and un-put-downable. And then it hits you - aha! - these books are much like Mary Stewart wrote over 40 years ago, only updated to modern times and with a distinctive flair all their own.Splendour Falls mixes elements of the past and the present as our heroine Emily travels to Chinon, France to meet up with her unreliable but likable cousin Harry. Harry is crazy about the Plantagenet kings, and is now researching the legend of Queen Isabelle's hidden treasure, thought to be hidden in the walls or tunnels of Chateau Chinon. Upon Emily's arrival in France, Harry doesn't show up to meet her (not particularly surprising for unreliable Harry), but as the days increase, Emily begins to suspect that all it not as it seems. She meets several fellow guests at the Hotel de France (some likable, some very likable, and some not so much). She also learns of about a second Isabelle - this one from WWII German occupied Chinon. Isabelle #2, they say, took her own life after a tragic love affair, but left hidden a valuable cache of diamonds.As Emily explores the medieval town of Chinon in search of her cousin, she begins to gain clues to the fate of both Isabelles and their respective treasures. She also finds herself drawn to 2 men who might hold the key to her cousin's disappearence.This is a very engaging book. Having read all of Kearsley's books now, I can say that the suspense and paranormal elements aren't as strong as they were in The Shadowy Horses or Named of the Dragon, but that didn't detract from the charm of this book. I loved Kearsley's descriptions of the town of Chinon. It's a damn good writer that can entice me to want to visit France - a country that's never held much interest for me, to be honest. You feel as though you are there in the winding, narrow streets and cobblestone Chateau steps. You can "see" Chinon through the pages of this book, and I know of no other writer, (except the incomparable Stewart), that can make that happen for a reader.This is a solid 4 to 4.5 star book, and will definitely be a keeper on my shelf.Oh, and extra brownie points for featuring a lovable feline in the story. That always makes me happy.

  • Robert
    2018-10-30 11:00

    If you like your tangents long and winded, then THE SPLENDOUR FALLS may just be the book for you. The dialogue may lack purpose and direction; the descriptions may be verbose to the point that it’ll keep your cabinet chock full of words; and you may find yourself meandering through a meadow filled with daisies and daffodils, but that’s just all part of the experience. Not parts I looked forward to, mind you, but I’m sure someone out there will just eat that up faster than a glazed doughnut.While this may have been classified as suspense (and we all know Amazon is the authority on books *cough cough*), the only suspense I managed was if I could keep my eyes on the prize and make it all the way to the end without the aid of toothpicks or hallucinations. Instead, I’d rather see this novel classified under romance or historical or some combination thereof, with its castles and ancient letters and German occupation.As writers, we understand the importance of place, but must we really mention Chinon (the name of the town) 108 times. I believe I received the message loud and clear after the first 107 times, thank you very much. Clos des Cloches received quite a few mentions as well—27 to be exact, or four times less than the specific town. What a shame. It was the little castle that could, but it just ran out of fireplaces.The characters did prove somewhat interesting, but I lost sight of them amidst all the other words and phrases and tortuous plot points.On a side note, I’d like to thank my beautiful wife for bringing to light the fact that nearly half of my one and two-star reads come from NetGalley picks, which either means I can’t pick worth shit, or when it’s free, I somehow manage to lose all sense of judgment and click that button faster than Pavlov’s dog. I promise to try and pick better in the future. In the meantime, though, we may have to deal with a few more less than glorious reads. If nothing else, I’ll do my best to bring the entertainment.Ending with this glorious misstep of a novel, I’ll say the conclusion didn’t really do me any favors, nor did it necessarily enhance the story either.I received this book for free through NetGalley.Cross-posted at Robert's Reads

  • Kim
    2018-10-27 14:44

    A mystery with elements of romance, this is about Emily Braden, a young Englishwoman who goes to Chinon in France to meet up with her notoriously unreliable historian cousin Harry, an expert in the history of the Plantagenets. Harry is not in Chinon when Emily arrives and although initially unfazed, Emily eventually becomes concerned about his absence and starts to investigate. The plot touches on the story of Isabelle, the wife of the Plantagenet King John, who allegedly hid a treasure in or near Chinon Castle in the 13th century and also on the story of another (fictional) Isabelle, a chambermaid who is thought to have hidden a treasure in Chinon during World War II. The best aspect of the work is the service Kearsley does for the French tourist industry. Her description of the town of Chinon and Chinon Castle is enticing. I’m planning to visit the Loire Valley early next year and I’ve wanted to see Chinon Castle for a long time because it’s the setting of The Lion in Winter. Now I want to see it more than ever. In addition, Kearsley writes well, using clear and elegant prose. However, the novel is not without its weaknesses. I did not find Emily particularly believable, not a lot happens for the best part of 300 pages and some aspects of the plot remain unexplained. Moreover, the villain is fairly obviously one of the men who show a possible romantic interest in Emily, Kearsley (view spoiler)[ kills off possibly the most attractive male character (hide spoiler)] and coincidence is layered upon implausibility to get to the resolution of the mystery. The narrative also includes stereotyped “gypsies” with an apparently uncritical acceptance of the myth that they are all thieves - even the friendly, otherwise reliable ones. In addition, I wasn’t particularly moved by the romance angle, but that may be because the description of one of the candidates reminded me a bit of this man …..…… Julian Assange, whose looks I find rather creepy. And after having some difficulty with Kearsley’s use of dual time lines in other novels, I rather missed that factor here and would have liked to see a bit more of the historical Isabelles.Overall, this was a pleasant, undemanding read and a good choice for the Christmas break. It didn’t knock me out, but then I’ve stopped expecting that from a Susanna Kearsley novel. An enjoyable - if fluffy - buddy read with my lovely friend Jemidar. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Nikki
    2018-10-22 10:37

    This is by far the most disappointing Kearsley book I have read to date. In fact I believe I have never given one of her books below 3.5 stars before. But Splendour Falls? It absolutely failed to impress.First of all, by the end of the novel I barely recognized any point to it. The summary overestimates the historical input and the mystery included in the novel by far, in fact there was very little of either. There were very brief viewpoints told from the 1100s (I believe) with Isabelle and her "treasure" and will he/won't he rescue me from this castle. Unfortunately these viewpoints were written quite well and were the best the novel had to offer. I really question why Kearsley did not simply (or ever does in fact) write a straight-forward historical fiction novel. This was made all the more frustrating by the fact that the protagonist of this novel in present day (almost 20 years ago now, however) is exceedingly dull. She is quite hell bent on being anti-love, her basis being her parents divorced pleasantly when she was an adult. I really cannot understand the problem? How can you be scarred from THAT? But regardless, the novel really has very little romance in it, in fact I don't understand why the author even bothered. The romance is unbelievable, forced and so awkwardly quick in the end that I don't see how I was supposed to care or be invested as a reader. So the novel included almost no historical element, little mystery and a very ridiculous love aspect but that may not be my biggest complaint. The book was boring. BORING. The protagonist wanders around Chinon for endless pages with absolutely no purpose, events occur that have no impact on the overall story but it goes on for paaaaaaages. The descriptions and events with no impact are told with such verbosity I could not help but come to dislike this book. There was simply no redeeming quality to the book for me, which was rather surprising considering how much I've enjoyed other Kearsley novels. If you like verbosity, wandering walks in the countryside detailed for no reason but to have words on a page and including just enough historical element to make you believe there MAY be more coming only to be disappointed--this is the book for you!

  • Jemidar
    2018-11-10 12:53

    Light, easy read and the descriptions of Chinon were wonderful, as Kearsley's settings always are. However, the mystery and romance parts of the story (otherwise known as the plot) leave a little to be desired and fall short of what I've come to expect from this author. That said, a 'meh' Kearsley is better than a lot of other books, it's just never going to be one of my favourites.Buddy read with Kim :-).

  • Katrina Passick Lumsden
    2018-10-19 11:41

    I want to make one thing clear before I delve into what I thought of this book; Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors. I'd even go so far as to say that, thanks to books like Mariana and The Winter Sea, she's my favorite contemporary female author. And while The Splendour Falls doesn't disappoint in the areas of atmosphere, dialogue, intrigue, and plot progression, it failed me in one monumentally important area; I couldn't stand the heroine. For the most part, she seems like a relatively intelligent, resourceful, pleasant person. She's quiet, which I can definitely relate to, and she genuinely enjoys being around people. All of these things were a bit overshadowed, however, by her mousey personality and ridiculously cynical outlook. At the beginning of the book, we get Emily's take on why she's so cynical:"It was just that when one's parents, after thirty years of marriage, chose to go their separate ways, it made one view life rather more realistically. So what, I asked myself, was wrong with that? So my parents' happy marriage hadn't been so happy after all. So love was never meant to last for ever. It was better that I'd learned that lesson young, instead of making their mistakes all over again."This is her sob story. When she was 19, her parents amicably divorced and are now both happier for it. This is what our heroine uses as an excuse to avoid relationships. It's not that I don't think there are people who become cynical after something that, in the grand scheme of things, is rather petty, and I can at least appreciate that Kearsley presents Emily's emotional retardation as a negative thing...but I have a really hard time with the fact that that was the obstacle between the heroine and the hero. He's sweet, he's talented, he's sophisticated and apparently looks like a Greek god, but hold up! Emily can't become emotionally involved because love doesn't last for ever.I enjoyed the story overall, but I had a really hard time putting up with Emily "I'm scared of life" Brayden, and that made this less fun than I expected a Susanna Kearsley novel to be.

  • Giedre
    2018-11-10 16:57

    1.5/5It was just that when one's parents, after thirty years of marriage, chose to go their separate ways, it made one view life rather more realistically. So what, I asked myself, was wrong with that? So my parents' happy marriage hadn't been so happy after all. So love was never meant to last for ever. It was better that I'd learned that lesson young, instead of making their mistakes all over again.Meet Emily Braden, the twenty eight year old heroine of The Splendour Falls, whose parents divorced five years ago and now seem to lead lives that fulfill them. But Emily was damaged by the amicable divorce so badly, that she's now a cynic. Emily is so world-weary that she doesn't even believe a love that lasts till teatime (or whatever). Emily's world is a faithless place with no happy endings. Emily consoles herself that it's better to know these things early. Emily is a dumbass. The Splendour Falls is a mystery with romantic elements that's honestly a mixed bag of things, but for all its flaws I was kind of liking it. I thought that Kearsley did a great job with the Chinon setting, too. What she utterly failed at, in my opinion, was giving her heroine a better reason for her "cynicism". Basing it all on her parents' divorce? Kind of really ridiculous. I understand it might have been a shock at twenty three, but five years later? Not so much. Her parents are happily living their lives, yet she still chooses to base her worldview on their divorce. I don't buy it. There are so many less asinine things to base it on. What's more, her lack of self-awareness about it just pissed me off so badly, that I had to pause reading every time her cyniscism reared its unfounded head and count to ten. I admit to pangs of loathing. Yes, that's how much she dragged this book down for me. So, Mariana just lost the My Least Liked Kearsley Book title. It now belongs to The Splendour Falls. I gotta say this little reading journey through Kearsley's earlier novels was... anticlimactic. Though, judging by The Winter Sea and The Firebird, the two of her later novels I really liked, her other post-2000 books might be more to my liking.

  • Nikki
    2018-11-15 12:38

    Looking at the reviews for this book, I had to laugh at how many people compared Kearsley’s work to Mary Stewart’s. Including myself, I’m afraid, which leaves me wondering if Kearsley embraces that or is rather sick of it by now. But truly, some of the plot things here are right up Stewart’s street, too: the moment where the villain kisses the heroine, that charged moment between them. Except that there’s something more subtle here: the villain isn’t purely villainous, but motivated by love as well. There seems something genuine in his attraction to the heroine, his interest in her.And Kearsley is much harder on my heart. As with Season of Storms, I found myself falling for a character who didn’t make it to the end of the book. Kearsley did a great job with character, much more so than Stewart: I can believe in what happens between the protagonists, I adore a lot of the characters, and all of them have an inner life. There is something dreamlike about the whole book, with these moments of clarity where you really get to know characters and see what makes them tick, even less significant ones.The plot itself is a bit convoluted, and I could perhaps have done without the drama of Hans and Isabelle’s story, the convenient way everything comes back together at just the right time… but then, it was exactly what I expected from the genre, and worked out with sympathetic characters and a sense of place, it doesn’t come off too badly.Originally posted on my blog.

  • TL
    2018-10-22 18:44

    I really should read this woman's work when I'm off haha... Each time so far I have gotten completely swept up in her work, the real world blurring and not being aware of time. She's one of a handful of writers who have put me under her spell like this (Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Kate Morton, Cat Winters... to name a few):).This one has a bit of meandering pace to it at times but it never dawdles or stalls... there's a purpose to everything that is written. You are lead steadily down the path, everything twisting and coming together on its own. Conclusions you have drawn may be right, or wrong ;-) But it is well worth the journey.Chinon and the people come alive on the page, I fell in love with the whole atmosphere... I wanted to keep 'walking' along the paths of the city and keep the company of my book friends. Chinon is on the list of places I will have to visit before I die :).The one behind some of the events happening wasn't who I thought, the last person I would have suspected. I didn't share Emily's suspicions with one person but with the other I could see how the connections were made and how she could think what she did. I was proud of her for keeping her head, very brave of her.How the events and person concerned were connected was amazing. Subtle as well, if some facts hadn't come up *shrugs* It had a feeling of fate about it at times, like an unseen hand was guiding everybody (could be just me). There's a touch of 'something' behind everything, take it how you want but for me, it had me smiling then and now, thinking back on it. A haunting story in its own way, but a beautiful one as well.Would highly recommend, pure magic it is <3Nothing to complain about here, adding her to my 'book family' list *waves* Happy reading!---Quotes:"It was a lovely night for late September, crisp and clear, filled with the drifting scents of autumn-- pungent leaves and petrol fumes and slowly burning coal. My watch read ten past eleven, but there were still people passing me by on the pavement--young people mostly, in boisterous clusters, making their way to the lively bar on the nearest corner. ""We were all silent a moment, reflecting on the wreckage of a war that none of us had lived through. For me, the war meant only Granddad's faded ration book and the neighbor's horrid bomb shelter and musty gas masks gathering dust in the cupboard under the stairs. It all seemed so distant from me, really--an hour or so of film in black or white, and stories told by old men at the local, ""We kept to the river walk. There were plane trees here,too--not as ancient or peaceful as those of the Promenade, but nearly as tall, and the breeze blowing through them was idle and cool. It had blown the mist from the murmuring river that danced past in sharp sparkling ribbons of light, and the pavement was dappled with shadow and sunlight, both shifting in time with the whispering leaves."“Hindsight, I thought, was like a punishment, remorseless in its clarity and painfully unable to change what had gone before.”“I don't know--is happiness a thing we choose, I wonder? Or is it something handed out to some, and not to others?""A bit of both, I should think.""...I'm not so sure... I think we all make choices in our lives that set us down the road to happiness or disappointment. It's just that we can't always see where the road is leading us until we're halfway there.” “I think we all make choices in our lives that set us down the road to happiness or disappointment. It’s just that we can’t always see where the road is leading us until we’re halfway there.” “...he raised a hand to touch my face, a touch of promise, warm and sure, and as I struggled to smile back at him he kissed me. It felt so very right, so beautiful; tears pricked behind my lashes as life flowed through all my hollow limbs, and I lost all sense of place and time. It might have been a minute or an hour...”A lovely review of the book here:Brittain (Tara Belle Talking)'s Review

  • Misfit
    2018-11-18 15:03

    Definitely not my favorite Kearsley. Took a bit too long to get the story moving and a few more characters than my sleep deprived brain could keep track of. Still, like Jemidar says, an off Kearsley is better than the rest of the genre. Kindle copy obtained via library loan.

  • Cristina
    2018-10-29 18:40

    This is my least favorite book by Susanna Kearsley so far. I had a difficult time warming up to any of the characters and the story didn't spark my interest until about 200 pages in. It was hard for me to accept that Emily could become friends with so many male strangers in such a short amount of time and I found the multitude of coincidences that were blamed on "fate" a little annoying. The story has 2 historical sub-plots, and while this is something I normally adore in her books, having 2 historic tales in addition to the modern story was a little confusing and neither was satisfactorily developed. My taste doesn't usually run to mysteries and this book had a lot of intrigue and riddles to solve and I found myself doing some skimming to get through the investigating. The descriptions of Chinon were amazing and it is obvious from the detail that the author spent time in the area. I think this is one of Ms. Kearsley's earlier novels so I'm going to assume that is why I didn't love it as much as her more recent books. If you're a big fan like me you'll want to read it, but if you've never read a book by Susanna Kearsley I suggest you don't start with this one.

  • Gretchen
    2018-11-02 14:58

    http://nofeet.booklikes.com/post/1528...

  • Mary
    2018-10-31 17:43

    Chinon, France - with Château de Chinon on the hillOkay, I know I've been shouting "SUSANNA KEARSLEY!" for a few weeks now, but you'll have to put up with some more as I gush over The Splendour Falls. This lady can write, peoples. She's one of the best authors I've read at making locations come alive for the reader, and I think that's because she's visited most, if not all, of the locations in her novels. I fell in love with Chinon through her descriptions of it, just as I've fallen in love with Exbury (fictional village inspired by Avebury, Wiltshire from Mariana), Polgelly (fictional village inspired by Polperro, Cornwall in The Rose Garden), Eyemouth (actual town in southeast Scotland from The Shadowy Horses), and Cruden Bay (actual village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland from The Winter Sea. Hotel de France, ChinonUnlike the majority of her novels, The Splendour Falls is set entirely in the present, with only brief glimpses into the past through the imagination of the main character, Emily. Likewise, this is the only work of hers I've read without a real element of fantasy or supernatural. There's a hint of it, true, but only enough to give the book a strong Gothic feel. I've made the comparison to Mary Stewart before, but it's more evident here than ever. Clos de l'Echo, Chinon - the real Clos de ClochesOf course, the real reason I love Kearsley so much - and the reason I keep coming back for more - is not her locations or her mysteries, but her characters. And Emily - who doesn't believe in happy endings, has a soft spot for strays, and "has a thing" about being underground - was perhaps my favorite protagonist to date. The supporting characters, most of whom were Emily's companions at Hotel de France, were all developed well and vividly drawn. I could hear their voices as I read, from Clos de Cloches owner Armand, to Canadian brothers Paul and Simon, to British violinist Neil, to bartender Thierry, to German artist Christian, to Americans Garland and Jim, and more. Chapelle Sainte-Radegonde, ChinonIf you like romantic suspense, Gothic mysteries, and the like, I'd highly recommend this, especially if you have read and enjoyed Mary Stewart or Daphne du Maurier. I can't rave enough about Susanna Kearsley and her writing and I'll be counting down the days until her newest novel, The Firebird, is released.

  • Marguerite Kaye
    2018-11-07 15:33

    3 and a half stars. I feel the same about Susanna Kearsley as another reviewer - her books are like old friends. To a degree predictable structure, but always with beautiful settings and new twists. Having just re-read Mary Stewart for the first time in about 20 years, I found this one strangely resonant of her style, something I hadn't noticed before. I loved the setting of this story, since I'm a complete Francophile, though I've never been to Chinon. I loved the twists and turns, and the inter-weaving of past and present, the twining of three different stories into one mystery. I read it in two gulps, as compulsively as ever with Ms Kearsley's books, and I had no idea until the end of where the story was going. What I wanted more of was the history, both Isabelle's stories, to be more interleaved. And I wanted to know more about Emily, the narrator and heroine. I couldn't quite believe that her parents' divorse when she was, after all, an adult, had had such a devastating effect on her character. It was claimed that it changed her fundamentally, but I found it difficult to believe that someone of her age, whose character must to a degree have been set, would allow herself to be so redefined. This is a common problem with Kearsley's heroines, I find - they are interesting, there's depth to them, but it is rarely plumbed enough for me. That said, I really enjoyed it. Sadly, I've only got one more book to read on her back catalogue now, I hope she's got something new coming out soon.

  • Olga Godim
    2018-11-16 11:45

    A very lyrical story, this novel is slow and introspective. On occasion, the narration rambles aimlessly among medieval streets and their denizens or stops altogether to contemplate a mystical treasure or a human folly. Personally, I prefer more action and less woolgathering, but in case of this novel, the author took the only possible approach. She invested most of her skills in her characters. They’re alive and diverse, a fascinating bunch, each one with his or her distinct personality, although none of them appeared substantive to me. Like the novel’s situational landscape, the characters are dreamlike. I’ve never met such people in real life. They’re all a bit too literary, indigenous to the fictional world the author had created, but not the world I live in. Maybe I live in the wrong world? Or maybe the protagonist’s worldview is decidedly different from mine. The plot of this novel seemed unnecessary, almost accidental. Emily, the protagonist, is a young British woman, on vacation in France. The entire story revolves around her leisurely stay in an old hotel and her wandering around the small tourist town of Chinon. There is a mystery there too and a couple of murders as well, but those lines didn’t seem organic to the story. The integrity of the novel would’ve been served better without them. On the other hand, the historical vignettes grafted into the modern day tale feel natural. They enrich the story and deepen its emotional impact, and so do the numerous poetic descriptions of people and locations.The only description that is lacking is that of the protagonist. Unlike most of the secondary characters, who are portrayed in detail: clothes and eye color, mannerisms and professions, Emily is an enigma. I don’t know how she looks or what she does for a living. I don’t know her back story either, and my lack of knowledge hampers my understanding of her inner conflicts. Sometimes, Emily’s dilemmas feel as obscure and incomprehensible as the problems of another, minor character – a French queen who died 700 years ago. Despite this little quirk, the writer’s language is beautiful, inviting the reader to relax and enjoy the muted, pastel flow of her story. And I did enjoy this novel, although I won’t ever re-read it.

  • Angie
    2018-11-07 13:02

    This was a great read. I've kind of been in a book-rut lately...seemingly reading good - ok stories but nothing that seemed to just capture me. Splendour falls did! Wonderful descriptions of a place I'd love to visit and quirky characters with mysteriousness surrounding them. Very atmospheric. It's also an easy read.It is a bit different from the other 2 Kearsley books I've read, but in no way inferior. That being said, I was shocked to see low reviews on this one from lots of people. That makes me sad. If you are on the fence about trying it, ignore all that and definitely give it a go. I'm so glad I didn't look at the reviews before reading. It is also a "clean" story!! Yea!

  • C.
    2018-10-31 18:57

    This is a mixed bag I'm surprised to finish so soon. Susanna Kearsley is either unconscious of superfluous description or doesn't want readers flitting through, even though mysteries and adventures ought to be pulse-racing. My delight with her originality, like close cousin protagonists, approximates five stars. Regrettably, one feels like flapping the reins of a horse that keeps pausing and rarely galloping forward. In 1995, Susanna was not of the school of avoiding adverbs so that action words burst out. She has expired her quota on "I decided", "frowning", and the adjective "great". Tacking it onto "big" is excessive like many sentences. We have definitely heard enough about shadows, light, and cigarettes.A queen's escape and a hotel's fifty year-old legend are fascinating. It's inspiring to know you truly could follow their trails in old ground like France. However the conclusion must hold up. Like most authors, Susanna deflated a vibrant atmosphere by adding a present crime, instead of leaving characters to solve ancient questions in the region we are visiting. Why do authors have trouble believing these are exciting without modern embellishment? She excelled with twists and turns because her personages are complex. I loved most of the surprises and layers that are revealed. Unfortunately, the explanation of Harry's disappearance was stupid. Contact could work in a million other ways.Four stars weren't possible with decorative segues holding back the power of such intriguing treasure legends, which Susanna connected superbly. Thus I'm settling upon three. Writing, atmosphere, and pace matter even with fantastic contents and Susanna can be counted on for enthralling, mysterious content. "The Splendour Falls" was only her second novel and it was noticeably less sluggish and descriptively overdone, so I continue to believe her next and next will be better. I certainly enjoyed this novel's mysteries.

  • Lorraine
    2018-10-23 16:03

    I had a very difficult time putting this book down to prepare for Christmas, and I finished on Christmas! Now to the kitchen to cook, but first Susanna Kearsley’s The Splendour Falls is a enthralling book. Emily Braden and her cousin, Harry, go on holiday to Chinon, France. In Chinon are the ruins of a castle that belonged to King John of England and his second wife, Isabelle of Angouleme. Emily arrives, but where is Harry? The author’s characters are beautifully drawn. I feel as though they are friends of mine! The story is so cleverly weaved together that it touches all of the characters. Definitely a 5 star book! Highly recommended! Now to the turkey.

  • Obsidian
    2018-10-18 14:35

    The Splendour Falls by Susana Kearsley. Mass Market Paperback, 380 pagesPublished April 1st 1996 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing GroupGenre: Fiction/Historical FictionSo I don't know what to really say about this book. It was an interesting book, but not at all what I expected. Sometimes that can be a good thing. I read one of Ms. Kearsley's books before, "The Winter Sea" and really loved it. I had hoped that I would love this book as much as I did that one.The main character of Emily just seems a bit lost throughout this whole book. Going to Chinon in order to treasure hunt along with her cousin Harry seems like a way for Emily to get back involved with people and places after her parent's divorce. FYI Emily is not a teenager, she is a grown woman acting as if the entire world has gone crazy.She finds herself drawn to a man, but doesn't want to be pulled in by him because she can tell with one look into his eyes that he would be about real love and commitment. Yes, us women hate those things.I don't really know what to make of Emily. At times she just seems to find herself wandering aimlessly around Chinon or with her fellow companions from the hotel. She always seems to find hidden meaning in everything that she sees and she feels like something terrible could have maybe happened to Harry, though there's no evidence that anything did. The plot of the book I thought initially would tie in better to the history of Chinon and King John (yes that King John) and his Queen Isabelle. I have no idea why there was even a prologue dealing with them and their "treasure". Once you find out what the treasure is I think you may roll your eyes. I did. A few times. Additionally, a French girl named Isabelle who lived in Chinon during World War II is part of the present day plot and has more to do with the story than the one dealing with King John and Queen Isabelle. Mystery sets in when Emily is still searching for her cousin and starts to become afraid that something happened to him once he reached Chinon. The pacing was all over the place too. I think that because we had so many cast of characters and each one had their own motivations, issues, that a lot of pages were just wasted with a character talking to Emily about something and she would say "ahh I understand it all now". No not really, but it started to seem that way. For example, when Emily somehow clues into one of the characters having an affair with someone else I was just baffled at her reasoning. It made no sense to me and I am still wondering how this one character managed to do so since his "partner" on this trip was a stage five clinger. I had a problem keeping up with what this book was supposed to be. I found myself getting bored with the book and honestly don't know what it was supposed to be really. A romance book with a mystery or a mystery book with just a hint of romance? The overall mystery of where was Emily's cousin Harry was just nonsensical when we get to the final reveal. I can't even with the other mystery that Emily got involved with and the final denouement with that as well. This book changed halfway through from being what I thought would be an exploration of Chinon and the history of King John and Queen Isabelle to a murder mystery plot that I think even Poirot would have passed on as being too simplistic.

  • Helen
    2018-11-12 10:42

    I admit it! I am a Kearsley addict....and just when you think, 'this is good but different' (for it is different from her usual style - an earlier work) she brings it altogether at the end that leaves you grinning from ear to ear! Agatha Christie move aside, this novel kept you guessing and had so much heart and soul that you were there in Chinon France feeling each and every emotion of these characters. Loved it.

  • Kara
    2018-10-23 16:02

    I am definitely a fan of Ms. Kearsley's without any doubt now! Her ability to string together words and phrases and create these atmospheric tales of interesting characters and places is incredible. So far (of the entire 2 1/2 books of hers that I've read), I love how the details of the geography and the architecture of the areas she describes feel so real to me. It's almost like they become characters themselves. The ruins around Chinon certainly felt like that in this book. Enough to make me wish I could go visit! :)Emily, herself, is a character I easily connected to and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing this "forced" holiday with her. All the vast and interesting people she meets and the certain someone who continually remains on her radar, especially when she'd rather not be quite so aware of him. The romance bits are limited, but do they ever pack a punch! Ms. Kearsley excels at using few words, yet depths of emotion are felt. While I wouldn't say I loved this story with no reservations, I can absolutely say I am planning to read more of her books in the very near future!

  • Colleen Turner
    2018-10-24 10:34

    Really 2.5. I reviewed this for www.luxuryreading.com.Over the past few years Susanna Kearsley has become one of my all-time favorite authors. She has this remarkable way of melding and twisting the past and present together, creating these unforgettable, well developed characters and settings and spicing it all up with a sweet dose of romance. My love for her stories is so strong that I went out and bought every book of hers I could find after reading the very first one. Whether it’s this high expectation or the story itself I am not sure, but The Splendour Falls fell somewhat flat for me.The narrator’s voice was beautiful and the way she read through the descriptions of Chinon, France really helped immerse me in the setting, but it was hard to keep track of the various characters, their actions and their connections to the main character, Emily Braden, as the sound of their voices all meshed together. While I could flip back through a written copy of a book to clarify any confusion within the plot and characters I obviously couldn’t do that with the audiobook version and therefore I had moments where I couldn’t keep track of what was going on.The story itself left much to be desired as well. The plot begins with Emily Braden agreeing to meet her cousin Harry in Chinon for a holiday away from her troubles. When she arrives in Chinon Harry is nowhere to be found, but this doesn’t seem to bother Emily at all as Harry is described as incredibly unreliable. Emily stays in Chinon, exploring the beautiful town and becoming close with various other people staying at her hotel. While I understand this to be the author’s way of getting Emily to Chinon for her to discover the mysteries and secrets she begins to uncover it just didn’t seem very realistic. She is presented as so closed off and yet she is able to make friends and mingle in Chinon without knowing anyone. I just found this odd.What I was most disappointed with, however, was the lack of any real immersion in the history. My favorite parts of her books are the time slips that give us the history through the eyes of those experiencing it and seeing how that history affects our present day storyline. While there were two separate historic storylines affecting and influencing Emily’s story – Queen Isabelle hiding her jewels during a 13th century siege on the castle in Chinon and a tragic love story between another Isabelle in Chinon and a German officer during WWII – these were barely shown from the viewpoint of those characters and mostly just referenced in Emily’s timeline. Both historic timelines had so much promise and could have added so much more to the story development but were instead just mentioned for how they affected what was going on with Emily and her friends.If this were any other author’s novel I might have rated it higher as the scenic descriptions of Chinon are lovely and it is written with a lyrical and intoxicating style. However, being that I have read other books by Ms. Kearsley and they blew The Splendour Falls out of the water I cannot help but feel that this book was disappointing. This will in no way keep me from reading every book that Ms. Kearsley comes out with as I am hooked for life. However, I would recommend any reader new to the author start with one of her other novels.

  • Nancy Goldberg Wilks
    2018-10-27 10:58

    SPLENDOUR FALLS by Susanna Kearsley When I first began reading Splendour Falls, by Susanna Kearsley, I was initially disappointed, as I am wont to be, when I find that one of her books is not set in Scotland. But, there was King John and Queen Isabelle and siege and intrigue and hidden treasure. And, as with Kearsley’s other books that take place outside Scotland, I was wont to very quickly forget about Caledonia and became fully engrossed in the particular setting of this novel. With Splendour Falls, it was not long before I wanted to book travel to Chinon. Britisher Emily Braden, whose cousin, Harry, was a Plantagenet scholar, was persuaded by Harry to take a vacation and meet him in Chinon. However, Harry, true to form, was not very reliable. Despite his promise, King John did not come for Isabelle during the siege; despite his promise, Harry did not meet Emily’s train on her journey to Chinon. John, however, did send a knight to rescue Isabelle; Harry, on the other hand, simply neglected to show at the agreed upon time and place. Perhaps Emily was right: Prince Charmings no longer existed. But John’s young wife was not the only Isabelle of intrigue in Chinon’s history; another Isabelle, in another historical time, was also shrouded in mystery. Although Emily had known of King John and Queen Isabelle, she was unaware of all that was hidden in Chinon – hidden in its history or hidden in the many tunnels running underneath it. It did not take long, however, for her to become ensconced in the complexities and intrigues of its people and its history. As always, Kearsley’s characters are wonderfully developed, complex, and fascinating. The interweaving of their lives – especially on the Chinon backdrop – is masterful. The story is very compelling; more often than not, I reached the end of a chapter and decided to read just one more – until, of course, I reached the end of that next chapter.Chinon teems with history. And, along with that history, there is magic everywhere. Perhaps, Emily, there are Prince Charmings after all!HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • Brie
    2018-11-16 18:55

    4.5I'm SHOUTING. I was just blind-sided by this book. I love Kearsley so I more or less knew what to expect, but I think this might be one of her most suspenseful, mysterious ones I've read (that I can remember). I would call this a whodunit mixed with a treasure hunt. Who wouldn't want to take a holiday to a quaint French chateau town.... and then get caught up in a racing murder mystery? Kearsley does exposition SO well it just sucks me right in. I really liked this protagonist, Emily, I personally felt like I could relate to her really well. All of the characters in this story come in at certain times, and so you wonder what everyone means to the plot. That's something of Kearsley's writing I love, that all her characters MEAN something. They contribute to the plot, provide segues, and all link up with each other in ways you never saw coming until they're revealed. And when the mystery REALLY starts revving up in the second half, it's almost at breakneck speed. The characters' roles are coming to light, and there's cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that had me LOSING my MIND. Kearlsey knows how to weave a plot, especially a mystery plot. Finally, one of the other things I love about Kearsley's writing is the way she does romances. They are completely subtle, and I will admit that sometimes I just want to shout "COME ON" but that's what makes them wholly satisfying at the end. When you don't know who the endgame love interest is going to be, when you're seeing how Emily responds to both options, and then when it becomes clear who it is... I was left a puddle of mushy satisfaction, to be honest.

  • Abigail Yow
    2018-11-09 12:55

    Yet another beautifully written novel by Susanna Kearsley.The splendour falls is slightly different from the rest of her time slip novels. It touches more on the architectural aspect of Chinon and its citizens. Emily Braden is a likable protagonist who is mature and an absolute sceptic due to several reasons. Following her little escapade and watching her grow as a character were interesting to read about. The author did an exceedingly good job of breathing life into her supporting characters as well. I enjoyed each one of them.I was never really interested in France but the author did such a wonderful job in portraying and describing every miniscule detail of Chinon that I found myself wishing that I could visit that very place one day.As for the romance, I did enjoy it but towards the end, I was hoping more. That, with all due honesty, is my only complaint.Fans of Ms. Kearsley or anyone, in general, who just wants to cuddle up with a good book should not miss this novel!

  • Barb
    2018-10-21 15:37

    Having just finished 'Every Secret Thing' by Emma Cole (aka Susanna Kearsley) and loving it I was really excited to pick up 'The Splendor Falls'. I thought it sounded like a sure thing to become another favorite. Unfortunately that was not the case. The set up of the contemporary story fell completely flat for me. The relationship between the main character Emily and her cousin Harry didn't feel authentic, Emily's personal hang up seemed contrived and their dialogue was forced.After finishing 'Every Secret Thing' where the writing, storyline and pacing were so good reading this was a huge disappointment. Every note of the contemporary story sounded out of tune and I just couldn't get past it.So, sad, but I find that my reading experience with Kearsley is varied, sometimes I love her, sometimes not so much.

  • Margaret
    2018-10-29 16:46

    I'll read anything set in France, and, coincidentally, I was in France just a few months ago in the area where this novel takes place, so I was particularly interested to read it. Well, it took me about two months to read, so not exactly gripping. The story suffers from a lack of focus - is it a historical novel? a mystery? a romance? all of the above? (check) - and only coheres at the end. By then I didn't really care all that much. I also saw the Bad Guy coming from miles off, and I'm not that bright in figuring out the reveal in advance. The first person narrator character is one of those annoying heroines whom many other characters in the book seem to find fascinating for no discernible reason to the reader...

  • Toni
    2018-11-04 18:01

    Susanna Kearsley is extraordinarily talented in transporting the reader to any location. Her descriptions of Chinon convince you that you should board the next plane in order to vacation there.I enjoyed this book very much even though , at first , I was a little troubled that Emily's whole outlook on life was predicated on her parents divorcing after 30 years of marriage.She grew on me as the book progressed. I would not place it as the best mystery story that I have ever written but there was much more to the book than just the one mystery. The characters were well drawn , the history was interesting, the landscapes were beautiful ,the interaction between the characters was warm and believable, and the few surprises were not easily predictable.

  • R.A.
    2018-11-17 13:34

    Emily desperately needs a holiday. When Harry (her very unreliable cousin) invites her to holiday in Chinon, France, she decides to go. But things are not as they seem in this French castle town. There might be hidden treasure (and a murderer!) in the tunnels.I thought the setting was fully realized. (I want to visit Chinon now!) The characters were individually compelling as well as working in an ensemble. And there were a few moments that made me teary-eyed. I was pulled in from the start and I never wanted to quit. I enjoyed the whole experience.

  • LindaW
    2018-11-03 18:49

    Although not my favorite Kearsley novel, I still enjoyed it a lot! Set in modern Chinon, France, with mysteries from the Plantagenet era, WWII, and the current time to be solved. So, no time slipping in this book, but a missing cousin, new acquaintances, ghost stories, and a sense of foreboding keeps our heroine guessing until the end. More of a who-done-it than the other of her books that I've read.