Splendour Falls takes place in Chinon, France. It sounds like a wonderful town, and I have added it to my list of places to visit when I win the lottery. Susanna's descriptive passages are wonderful, and Chinon sounds just like a place where mysterious things and tragic love stories happen across the centuries.
Enter Emily Braden, a young woman who's at loose ends and is talked into visiting Chinon by her cousin, Harry. Harry's a history nut and is looking into the possibility that Queen Isabelle, the very young wife of King John, somehow left a priceless treasure hidden in the castle, which is now in ruins. Add in another Isabelle and her German solider from World War 2, and their priceless treasure, and you've got echoes of the past flitting about and around the town and the hotel where Emily is staying.
Oh--and Harry doesn't show up in Chinon. Where the heck is he? Emily is drawn to the mysterious Neil, a gorgeous musician staying at the hotel recovering from an injury. She meets Paul, a fun loving young man staying at the hotel with his brother. Paul and Emily quickly become friends, and start to recognize that something odd is going on around town. Does it involve Harry's disappearance? And are the stories of hidden treasures true?
I was a bit disappointed in this novel, and it took many stops and starts for me to finish it--and this is verrrrry unusual for a Susanna Kearsley novel. I usually inhale them. It seemed slow, and the story wandered in places. I wanted to know more about Queen Isabelle, but that never materialized. And Emily's attraction to Neil didn't seem genuine. I didn't feel any love vibe between the two at all.
But if you like Susanna Kearsley, don't dismiss this book. It is not her best, but as a fan you will read it anyway. If anything, Chinon sounds like a wonderful place, and you'll want to investigate the real Queen Isabelle and her tragic story.
Rating: 6/10; thin plot line and not enough of the paranormal/historical angle that Susanna Kearsley writes so well in her other novels.
Available in paperback and ebook.