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The Splendour Falls

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,241 Ratings  ·  730 Reviews
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 hi ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 380 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group (first published January 1st 1995)
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Nov 22, 2010 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads, gothics
Curling up with a book by Susanna Kearsley is a bit like being with old friends: you like them, you trust them, and they're comfortable to be around. Reading a Kearsley book also holds an element of deja vu to it. You feel as though you've read books like this before; books that were descriptive, well written, well characterized and un-put-downable. And then it hits you - aha! - these books are much like Mary Stewart wrote over 40 years ago, only updated to modern times and with a distinctive fl ...more
If you like your tangents long and winded, then THE SPLENDOUR FALLS may just be the book for you. The dialogue may lack purpose and direction; the descriptions may be verbose to the point that it’ll keep your cabinet chock full of words; and you may find yourself meandering through a meadow filled with daisies and daffodils, but that’s just all part of the experience. Not parts I looked forward to, mind you, but I’m sure someone out there will just eat that up faster than a glazed doughnut.


A mystery with elements of romance, this is about Emily Braden, a young Englishwoman who goes to Chinon in France to meet up with her notoriously unreliable historian cousin Harry, an expert in the history of the Plantagenets. Harry is not in Chinon when Emily arrives and although initially unfazed, Emily eventually becomes concerned about his absence and starts to investigate. The plot touches on the story of Isabelle, the wife of the Plantagenet King John, who allegedly hid a treasure in or ne

Light, easy read and the descriptions of Chinon were wonderful, as Kearsley's settings always are. However, the mystery and romance parts of the story (otherwise known as the plot) leave a little to be desired and fall short of what I've come to expect from this author. That said, a 'meh' Kearsley is better than a lot of other books, it's just never going to be one of my favourites.

Buddy read with Kim :-).
This is by far the most disappointing Kearsley book I have read to date. In fact I believe I have never given one of her books below 3.5 stars before. But Splendour Falls? It absolutely failed to impress.

First of all, by the end of the novel I barely recognized any point to it. The summary overestimates the historical input and the mystery included in the novel by far, in fact there was very little of either. There were very brief viewpoints told from the 1100s (I believe) with Isabelle and her
Katrina Passick Lumsden
I want to make one thing clear before I delve into what I thought of this book; Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors. I'd even go so far as to say that, thanks to books like Mariana and The Winter Sea, she's my favorite contemporary female author. And while The Splendour Falls doesn't disappoint in the areas of atmosphere, dialogue, intrigue, and plot progression, it failed me in one monumentally important area; I couldn't stand the heroine. For the most part, she seems like a relative ...more
Nov 02, 2015 TL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to TL by: her novel Mariana, might have found her from reading Kate Morton but not sure
Shelves: favorites
I really should read this woman's work when I'm off haha... Each time so far I have gotten completely swept up in her work, the real world blurring and not being aware of time. She's one of a handful of writers who have put me under her spell like this (Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Kate Morton, Cat Winters... to name a few):).

This one has a bit of meandering pace to it at times but it never dawdles or stalls... there's a purpose to everything that is written. You are lead steadily down the path, everythin
Jun 01, 2015 Nikki rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, mystery
Looking at the reviews for this book, I had to laugh at how many people compared Kearsley’s work to Mary Stewart’s. Including myself, I’m afraid, which leaves me wondering if Kearsley embraces that or is rather sick of it by now. But truly, some of the plot things here are right up Stewart’s street, too: the moment where the villain kisses the heroine, that charged moment between them. Except that there’s something more subtle here: the villain isn’t purely villainous, but motivated by love as w ...more
Feb 06, 2014 Misfit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not my favorite Kearsley. Took a bit too long to get the story moving and a few more characters than my sleep deprived brain could keep track of. Still, like Jemidar says, an off Kearsley is better than the rest of the genre.

Kindle copy obtained via library loan.
This is my least favorite book by Susanna Kearsley so far. I had a difficult time warming up to any of the characters and the story didn't spark my interest until about 200 pages in. It was hard for me to accept that Emily could become friends with so many male strangers in such a short amount of time and I found the multitude of coincidences that were blamed on "fate" a little annoying.

The story has 2 historical sub-plots, and while this is something I normally adore in her books, having 2 his
Marguerite Kaye
May 20, 2012 Marguerite Kaye rated it really liked it
3 and a half stars.

I feel the same about Susanna Kearsley as another reviewer - her books are like old friends. To a degree predictable structure, but always with beautiful settings and new twists. Having just re-read Mary Stewart for the first time in about 20 years, I found this one strangely resonant of her style, something I hadn't noticed before.

I loved the setting of this story, since I'm a complete Francophile, though I've never been to Chinon. I loved the twists and turns, and the inte

Chinon, France - with Château de Chinon on the hill

Okay, I know I've been shouting "SUSANNA KEARSLEY!" for a few weeks now, but you'll have to put up with some more as I gush over The Splendour Falls. This lady can write, peoples. She's one of the best authors I've read at making locations come alive for the reader, and I think that's because she's visited most, if not all, of the locations in her novels. I fell in love with Chinon through her descriptions of it, just as I've fallen in love with
Sep 15, 2014 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, france, mystery
This was a great read. I've kind of been in a book-rut lately...seemingly reading good - ok stories but nothing that seemed to just capture me. Splendour falls did! Wonderful descriptions of a place I'd love to visit and quirky characters with mysteriousness surrounding them. Very atmospheric. It's also an easy read.

It is a bit different from the other 2 Kearsley books I've read, but in no way inferior. That being said, I was shocked to see low reviews on this one from lots of people. That makes
Apr 14, 2015 Obsidian rated it liked it
The Splendour Falls by Susana Kearsley.

Mass Market Paperback, 380 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group

Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction

So I don't know what to really say about this book. It was an interesting book, but not at all what I expected. Sometimes that can be a good thing. I read one of Ms. Kearsley's books before, "The Winter Sea" and really loved it. I had hoped that I would love this book as much as I did that one.

The main character of Emily just s
Olga Godim
Jun 25, 2013 Olga Godim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainstream
A very lyrical story, this novel is slow and introspective. On occasion, the narration rambles aimlessly among medieval streets and their denizens or stops altogether to contemplate a mystical treasure or a human folly. Personally, I prefer more action and less woolgathering, but in case of this novel, the author took the only possible approach. She invested most of her skills in her characters.
They’re alive and diverse, a fascinating bunch, each one with his or her distinct personality, althou
Jan 01, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing
I admit it! I am a Kearsley addict....and just when you think, 'this is good but different' (for it is different from her usual style - an earlier work) she brings it altogether at the end that leaves you grinning from ear to ear! Agatha Christie move aside, this novel kept you guessing and had so much heart and soul that you were there in Chinon France feeling each and every emotion of these characters. Loved it.
Colleen Turner
Really 2.5. I reviewed this for

Over the past few years Susanna Kearsley has become one of my all-time favorite authors. She has this remarkable way of melding and twisting the past and present together, creating these unforgettable, well developed characters and settings and spicing it all up with a sweet dose of romance. My love for her stories is so strong that I went out and bought every book of hers I could find after reading the very first one. Whether it’s this high
Nancy Goldberg Wilks
SPLENDOUR FALLS by Susanna Kearsley

When I first began reading Splendour Falls, by Susanna Kearsley, I was initially disappointed, as I am wont to be, when I find that one of her books is not set in Scotland. But, there was King John and Queen Isabelle and siege and intrigue and hidden treasure. And, as with Kearsley’s other books that take place outside Scotland, I was wont to very quickly forget about Caledonia and became fully engrossed in the particular setting of this novel. With Splendour
Abigail Yow
Yet another beautifully written novel by Susanna Kearsley.

The splendour falls is slightly different from the rest of her time slip novels. It touches more on the architectural aspect of Chinon and its citizens.

Emily Braden is a likable protagonist who is mature and an absolute sceptic due to several reasons. Following her little escapade and watching her grow as a character were interesting to read about. The author did an exceedingly good job of breathing life into her supporting characters as
Jul 05, 2016 R.A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emily desperately needs a holiday. When Harry (her very unreliable cousin) invites her to holiday in Chinon, France, she decides to go.
But things are not as they seem in this French castle town. There might be hidden treasure (and a murderer!) in the tunnels.
I thought the setting was fully realized. (I want to visit Chinon now!) The characters were individually compelling as well as working in an ensemble. And there were a few moments that made me teary-eyed. I was pulled in from the start and
Having just finished 'Every Secret Thing' by Emma Cole (aka Susanna Kearsley) and loving it I was really excited to pick up 'The Splendor Falls'. I thought it sounded like a sure thing to become another favorite.

Unfortunately that was not the case. The set up of the contemporary story fell completely flat for me. The relationship between the main character Emily and her cousin Harry didn't feel authentic, Emily's personal hang up seemed contrived and their dialogue was forced.

After finishing 'E
Jan 20, 2014 Toni rated it really liked it
Susanna Kearsley is extraordinarily talented in transporting the reader to any location. Her descriptions of Chinon convince you that you should board the next plane in order to vacation there.I enjoyed this book very much even though , at first , I was a little troubled that Emily's whole outlook on life was predicated on her parents divorcing after 30 years of marriage.She grew on me as the book progressed. I would not place it as the best mystery story that I have ever written but there was m ...more
Jul 07, 2014 Margaret rated it it was ok
I'll read anything set in France, and, coincidentally, I was in France just a few months ago in the area where this novel takes place, so I was particularly interested to read it. Well, it took me about two months to read, so not exactly gripping. The story suffers from a lack of focus - is it a historical novel? a mystery? a romance? all of the above? (check) - and only coheres at the end. By then I didn't really care all that much. I also saw the Bad Guy coming from miles off, and I'm not that ...more
Apr 05, 2016 LindaW rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle-ebook
Although not my favorite Kearsley novel, I still enjoyed it a lot! Set in modern Chinon, France, with mysteries from the Plantagenet era, WWII, and the current time to be solved. So, no time slipping in this book, but a missing cousin, new acquaintances, ghost stories, and a sense of foreboding keeps our heroine guessing until the end. More of a who-done-it than the other of her books that I've read.
E.M. Tippetts
Jul 30, 2015 E.M. Tippetts rated it it was amazing
I always love Kearsley's books. My mother warned me that this one was slow to get started. I confess, I didn't notice. The setting and the characters were so engrossing, I didn't mind that the mystery didn't launch until 1/3 of the way in.
Sep 16, 2015 Theresa rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense

Emily Braden has a cousin Harry, who is a historian. He convinces Emily to vacation with him in France, near Chinon castle, but Harry doesn’t show. Where could he be?

Emily is enchanted with the small town of Chinon and the history of the area. Her hotel has a small core group of foreigners who welcome Emily into their circle, and she at first is not too concerned with cousin Harry’s disappearance as he is typically late to his engagements. As time goes on, Emily learns more about the occupation
Lynn Williams
Sep 29, 2014 Lynn Williams rated it liked it
The Splendour Falls is my second Kearsley book and I confess it was an enjoyable and easy read. A mystery story with (a little) romance. This really falls outside my usual type of book ‘comfort zone’ but it was a good holiday read and I fancied a bit of a mystery.

The story starts as Emily sets off to France to join her, somewhat unreliable, cousin Harry in the town of Chignon. Harry’s fascination with the plantagenets lead him to France where he wants to u
Megan B
Jun 18, 2014 Megan B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For anyone who has stated or believes this is not equal to any of Ms. Kearsley's later novels, I would like to offer you a Chuck Norris throat kick.

This is the 1st novel I've read of Ms. Kearsley's that didn't follow a dual story of past and present, but it did not take away anything from the story, quality of characters, or exceptional writing!

Emily is supposed to be meeting her easily distracted (very ADD seeming) cousin in Chinon, France, for a long-overdue holiday and some historic fact-find
Bree Hill
Jan 22, 2016 Bree Hill rated it really liked it
I didn't know how I was feeling at one point with this book. Honestly from around page 100 through 200 I was a little lost at times and bored but after reading Marianna by Susanna Kearsley I told myself push through, I'm sure something amazing is around the corner. I didn't expect the twists and turns she through into this book. Just when I thought things were making sense and becoming predictable another the wrench was thrown into things. I gave this four stars only because for a while it dragg ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve read several books by Susanna Kearsley and have fallen in love with her style of writing. Her settings are evocative and her characters different. The Splendour Falls is another good one that I enjoyed, but it’s not my favorite by her.

Emily’s cousin, Harry, a PhD history professor, invites her to join him in the medieval town of Chinon, France, where he is going to do some research. When she arrives there he is nowhere to be found, which is not that unusual, because he often forgets about o
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Aka Emma Cole.

Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.

Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.

Susanna Kearsle
More about Susanna Kearsley...

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“Hindsight, I thought, was like a punishment, remorseless in its clarity and painfully unable to change what had gone before.” 5 likes
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