Thursday, January 30, 2014

Latest Review: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

Chinon-chateau of legend, steeped in the history of France and England. It is to Chinon that Emily goes on a long-awaited holiday, to meet her charming but unreliable cousin, Harry. Harry wanted to explore the old town and the castle, where Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, had withstood the siege of Chinon many centuries ago, and where, according to legend, she hid her casket of jewels. But when Emily arrives at her hotel she finds that Harry has disappeared, and as she tries to find him she becomes involved with some of the other guests and learns of a mystery dating from the German occupation during the Second World War. Another Isabelle, a chambermaid at the hotel, fell in love with a German soldier, with tragic results.

Emily becomes increasingly aware of strange tensions, old enmities and new loves; as she explores the city, with its labyrinthine dungeons and tunnels and its ancient secrets, she comes ever closer to the mystery of what happened to both the Isabelles of Chinon's history.

My Blabberings:
In general I thought it was an okay foreign mystery tale with a smidge of historical bits.  I would've preferred more historical bits myself :)   At first I was so excited because Kearsley usually injects quite a lot of historical "flashbacks" in her novels, and when I saw that the historical portion would be about the Plantagenet family it made me do a happy dance.  Unfortunately, the historical aspect of this book was pretty sparse. 

Also the romance felt a bit tacked on...and honestly, I have no idea why these two would make a good couple other than their "intense attraction."  Not my fave of Kearsley's novels...this was a liked it but didn't love it kind of situation (unlike The Firebird which I loved)!

3/5 stars


  1. Kearsley's earlier novels don't feature the same level of historical content as her later books. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as some of her others, and I also expected that there would be more historical content.

  2. I'm listening to this on audio now, and I'm struggling with it a bit. It's okay, but not nearly as good as The Shadowy Horses or The Firebird.