Title: The Splendour Falls
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, January 2014
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Sexy Rating: 3
Description from Amazon.com:
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 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.
Susanna Kearsley takes historical facts and actual locations and writes gripping stories about those that lived and those that live now. She makes locations come alive and if you look up those locations you can see photos of the places where the story is set. This makes the reading feel not so much a fiction but as if events are real.
Here are a few photos of the actual locations mentioned in this novel, The Chateau Chinon in France, The Place de General DE Gaulle with the Fountain, the bar in the Hotel Chinon (actually The Hotel De France) and a room in that same hotel:
She is masterful at creating flesh and blood characters. In this, one of her earlier books, the pacing is a little slow but the story so compelling that little mind is paid. There is a mystery and there is a villain but we are lulled into not suspecting the true nature of the villain. We are left wondering if the villain would actually have harmed our heroine. The romance is slow developing and we are left to wonder for a long time if our heroine will find true love.
I am a huge fan of Susanna Kearsley’s highly original novels and although this is not my favorite, it is an outstanding read. Even if one of her novels is not my favorite she still writes heads above others in the genre.
I recommend this book to all readers who like to be placed in the actual location of the story and those who love a mystery.
(This is a reissue of a Kearsley book published in the 1990’s.)