March 31, 2014

Book Review: The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley


Having given up on love, Emily Braden--the protagonist of Susanna Kearsley's The Splendour Falls--isn't terribly excited about vacationing with her unreliable cousin Harry in the very romantic town of Chinon, France. But Harry, a history professor, believes Queen Isabelle hid a treasure there, and he convinces Emily to meet him.

Harry never shows up--typical behavior for him, though, so Emily assumes he got sidetracked and starts making friends with the other guests at her small hotel. The group forms an unlikely bond, connecting with one of the more important families in Chinon--the owners of the Clos des Cloches vineyard.

Emily is contentedly playing the tourist at Chinon's famous ch√Ęteau and chapel, flirting with the handsome owner of the vineyard, until she finds signs Harry did make it to Chinon after all. If he'd been there, though, why would he leave? Could it be connected to the lost treasure of 13th-century Queen Isabelle? Suddenly suspicious, Emily and some of her fellow guests begin digging into Harry's disappearance, only to uncover far more deadly secrets than they'd ever imagined.

The lovely French setting adds a romantic air to the mystery, as do brief flashbacks to the tragic life of Queen Isabelle. The reader will be rooting for Emily to choose the right man as the romantic tension tightens and the secrets of Chinon are revealed. With The Splendour Falls, Susanna Kearsley has created a gothic romance worthy of Mary Stewart, sure to appeal to romance and mystery readers alike.

I'd never read any Kearsley before, but I really liked this! It wasn't a breathtaking mystery by any means, but it was a sweet story, and it reminded me quite a bit of Madam, Will You Talk? or Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Absolutely!

 Do YOU like romantic mysteries?

I originally wrote most of this review for the always-awesome Shelf Awareness. The image is an affiliate link, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!