The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
ISBN:  9781402258619 (paperback)
ISBN:  9781402258626 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00F8HUAFA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 1, 2014 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

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 own 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 thirteenth-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, 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.

The town of Chinon, France is mired in legend and mystery. The mystery surrounds the disappearance of a treasure hidden by Queen Isabelle in 1205. There’s also a local legend centering on another Isabelle from World War II. Emily Braden isn’t really hung up on legend or mystery, but she looks forward to the opportunity to spend some time in Chinon with her cousin Henry—her unreliable, but completely lovable cousin. Heedless to any nay-sayers, Emily sets off for a well-deserved break from her tedious and boring life. Of course, Henry is nowhere to be found upon Emily’s arrival in France, and thus begins Emily’s step into intrigue that goes back more than seven centuries.

The Splendour Falls is actually a reprint and was originally published in the mid-1990s. Unlike some of Ms. Kearsley’s later this books, The Splendour Falls is a more straightforward contemporary romantic suspense story with bits of history interspersed throughout the story. Emily comes across as rather staid in the first part of the story, but she quickly becomes less-restrained as she interacts with characters in Chinon, including other guests at the hotel, hotel employees, and town residents. The interactions between Emily, the flirtatious and outgoing Lazarus brothers, the mysterious and reserved violinist Neil Grantham, and the fun-loving Lucie and her father, Monsieur Armand Valcourt adds interesting layers to the story. As Emily becomes more settled in Chinon and with her new acquaintances, she also becomes more mired in the current intrigues happening in the shadows. Can Emily unravel the mysteries of Chinon and find her cousin before it’s too late?

I actually read The Splendour Falls in late December 2013. It was one of the last books I read during that year. I found The Splendour Falls to be a fast-paced read that had moments of humor, as well as intrigue mixed in with the history, suspense, and romance. I enjoyed the characters, historical aspects of the story, and the action. If you enjoy romantic suspense that blends history with contemporary action and a hit of the gothic, then you’ll definitely want to put The Splendour Falls on your reading list. Have you already read it? Please let us know what you thought about it.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Author: thebookdivasreads

I'm a reader, an avid reader, or perhaps a rabid reader (at least according to my family). I enjoy reading from a variety of different genres but particularly enjoy fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, ChickLit, romance and classics. I also enjoy reading about numerous non-fiction subjects including aromatherapy, comparative religions, herbalism, naturopathic medicine, and tea.

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