Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley is a bestselling author in multiple countries and so definitely doesn't need my review. However, I do like to turn people on to good books, so I'm going to do a review anyway.
I read her book The Winter Sea first and I will probably get around to reviewing it as well (I'll just say here that it was fantastic), but then I read several others by her and The Splendour Falls is the most recently read.

Synopis: 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.

First of all, let me just say that I'm dying to go to Chinon, France now. Not only am I a sucker for a castle, but Susanna Kearsley makes the whole town come alive. I especially enjoyed the camaraderie between the travelers at the Hotel. It's something you experience in Europe, but rarely while on vacation in the US.

The book is well written, the tension taut, the mystery compelling. And while I did figure out who the murderer was before the end, it's one of the few times I didn't flip to the back to check to see if I was right. I didn't want to possibly see anything that might change the book for me. The conclusion is satisfying and wraps everything up. I like that in a book, I hate having loose ends blowing in the wind.

The book is a mystery, it's not exactly supernatural, but there are a few hints of the paranormal. It also relies heavily on historical accents, and includes a bit of romance. If you're a fan of Barbara Erskine, I think you'd really love it.

I recommend it. It's a much quicker read than The Winter Sea, but still satisfying. I, myself, plan to read all of Mrs. Kearsley's works.