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The Splendour Falls
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The Splendour Falls

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  2,863 ratings  ·  426 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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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...more

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 :-).
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
This book was sort of an odd mish-mash of dual-timelines, mystery, and romantic suspense. I think what kept me reading was Kearsley's description of place, and the rather eclectic cast of characters, many of whom seemed to have skeletons in their respective closets. I feel like some of the plot elements were a bit contrived, and even superfluous to the main story, but Kearsley managed to weave them together in a way that made for an enjoyable read. I think what I enjoyed most about this novel we...more
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...more
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 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...more
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...more
Marguerite Kaye
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...more

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...more
Olga Godim
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...more
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...more
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...more
I was entirely unfamiliar with Ms. Kearsley's work when I picked this up but I was completely taken in by her beautiful prose and wonderful gift for setting. I sincerely long to see the medieval French city of Chinon for myself after being so completely immersed in it with the sweet, naive, and spirited Ms. Emily Braden and the wonderful cast of characters she encounters. This is just the sort of smart, charming, romantic mystery one wants on a cold winter day filled with ancient ruins and ancie...more
Lynn Williams
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...more
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.
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...more
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
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...more
I am a big fan of Kearsley's books and I was really looking forward to reading this one. While I did like it I found it to be quite different from Kearsley's other books. The writing was still wonderful and the descriptions of Chinon made we want to go visit it myself. What was different about this book was the murder mystery that was such a major plot of the book. I am not a big murder mystery/suspense reader so I was not really thrilled with that part of the book but the characters and the wri...more
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
This book seemed to transport me directly to Chinon, France. I felt like I was on vacation myself reading it and fell in love with her rich characters. I was surprised at the direction the plot took, but that seems to be what the author wanted.

I had two main qualms with this book. The first is that I felt the reluctance of the protagonist wasn't explored deeply enough to give you a true sense of her character. I also wish the love interest would've had more interaction with Emily. And I guess th...more
Sigh, I just finished! Kearsley is quite a writer and her greatest gift, IMHO, is one which seats itself, the tale and YOU, in a specific "place". Her locale feel and connection in every novel is just extraordinary. Norah Lofts (fabulous writer with this same skill/gift who wrote during the middle of the last century)comes to mind, every time I read Kearsley. To me, this was nearly 5 star- and slower in pace, but just as good as her later and more acclaimed novels. Her people are real, and flawe...more
The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley follows Emily Braden, a disenchanted and somewhat cynical young woman to Chinon where her flaky cousin is supposed to meet her for a holiday/research opportunity. Harry, her cousin, doesn't show (par for the course) and she proceeds to meet some fascinating and handsome people who will keep her entertained until Harry makes it to her.

A few days pass and he still isn't there. There is a mysterious murder in the town and everybody seems on edge. Emily, with...more
Susanna Kearsley's books each have an other-worldliness about them, whether it's time-travel as in The Rose Garden, ancestral memory from The Winter Sea, the ability to speak with ghosts like in The Shadowy Horses or being able to sense and experience the past as in The Firebird. However, The Splendour Falls stays firmly rooted in reality with only a whisper of the supernatural fluttering around the edges. If anything what is most other-worldly about it is its uncanny resemblance to Mary Stewart...more
Donna Antaramian
If you have picked up The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley expecting it to be one of her charming time travel romances novels you are in for a surprise. The story revolves around 28 year old Emily Braden who is convinced by her errant cousin Harry to go on holiday to the French town of Chinon, France where a young and beautiful Queen Isabella once rumored to have hidden a great treasure. Ahh but there is another story of a lost treasure and another beautiful Isabella – the treasure or treasur...more
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...more
SOS Aloha
The splendour falls on castle walls ,
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.

- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate to Queen Victoria

Susanna Kearsley borrows a verse from Tennyson’s THE PRINCESS to title her book, THE SPLENDOUR FALLS. Grandeur surrounds Château de Chinon - the crowning attraction of a picturesque town along the Vienne River. Chinon captivates Harry Braden, an English historian specializing in Henry II (who reside...more
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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
More about Susanna Kearsley...
The Winter Sea (Slains, #1) The Rose Garden Mariana The Shadowy Horses The Firebird (Slains, #2)

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“Hindsight, I thought, was like a punishment, remorseless in its clarity and painfully unable to change what had gone before.” 2 likes
“To sail beyond the sunset… I’d thought that beautiful, once. But now I knew it was a wasted effort, chasing sunsets. There was nothing on the other side.” 1 likes
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