Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Splendour Falls” as Want to Read:
The Splendour Falls
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Splendour Falls

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  8,132 Ratings  ·  856 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Splendour Falls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cooper Brown Just started reading this book last night, and I'm already wishing I was in Chinon! I took a trip through France in 2014, during which we had a brief…moreJust started reading this book last night, and I'm already wishing I was in Chinon! I took a trip through France in 2014, during which we had a brief few days in the Loire Valley region. We saw Chambord and its grounds, which is an absolute must! We also spent a day in Amboise and visited Clos du Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last few years of his life. I wish we could've stayed in the area longer! I definitely want to go back someday. Chinon will be on my itinerary for sure! Hope you enjoy your 30th birthday trip! (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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

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
Sep 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was just that when one's parents, after thirty years of marriage, chose to go their separate ways, it made one view life rather more realistically. So what, I asked myself, was wrong with that? So my parents' happy marriage hadn't been so happy after all. So love was never meant to last for ever. It was better that I'd learned that lesson young, instead of making their mistakes all over again.

Meet Emily Braden, the twenty eight year old heroine of The Splendour Falls, whose parents divor
May 04, 2015 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
Oct 29, 2015 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
Oct 31, 2013 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.

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
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 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
Olga Godim
Jun 25, 2013 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
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, kindle, 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
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a mixed bag I'm surprised to finish so soon. Susanna Kearsley is either unconscious of superfluous description or doesn't want readers flitting through, even though mysteries and adventures ought to be pulse-racing. My delight with her originality, like close cousin protagonists, approximates five stars. Regrettably, one feels like flapping the reins of a horse that keeps pausing and rarely galloping forward. In 1995, Susanna was not of the school of avoiding adverbs so that action words ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys an excellent story.
I had a very difficult time putting this book down to prepare for Christmas, and I finished on Christmas! Now to the kitchen to cook, but first Susanna Kearsley’s The Splendour Falls is a enthralling book. Emily Braden and her cousin, Harry, go on holiday to Chinon, France. In Chinon are the ruins of a castle that belonged to King John of England and his second wife, Isabelle of Angouleme. Emily arrives, but where is Harry? The author’s characters are beautifully drawn. I feel as though they are ...more
Mar 30, 2015 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
Oct 04, 2013 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.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I am definitely a fan of Ms. Kearsley's without any doubt now! Her ability to string together words and phrases and create these atmospheric tales of interesting characters and places is incredible. So far (of the entire 2 1/2 books of hers that I've read), I love how the details of the geography and the architecture of the areas she describes feel so real to me. It's almost like they become characters themselves. The ruins around Chinon certainly felt like that in this book. Enough to make me w ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, romance
I'm SHOUTING. I was just blind-sided by this book. I love Kearsley so I more or less knew what to expect, but I think this might be one of her most suspenseful, mysterious ones I've read (that I can remember). I would call this a whodunit mixed with a treasure hunt. Who wouldn't want to take a holiday to a quaint French chateau town.... and then get caught up in a racing murder mystery?

Kearsley does exposition SO well it just sucks me right in. I really liked this protagonist, Emily, I perso
Brittain *The Baddest Female*
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
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
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
Jul 04, 2014 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
Jan 20, 2014 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • An Inquiry Into Love and Death
  • Like Chaff in the Wind (The Graham Saga #2)
  • Kingdom of Shadows
  • Fractured Steel
  • Wicked Company
  • Night of a Thousand Stars
  • The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (Pink Carnation, #11)
  • Mortal Arts (Lady Darby Mystery, #2)
  • Ember Island
  • A Half Forgotten Song
  • Lords of the White Castle (FitzWarin, #2)
  • The Island House
  • Bristol House
New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving romance and historical intrigue with modern adventure.

Her books, published in translation in more than 20 countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and Nat
More about Susanna Kearsley

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Stray City
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • That Kind of Mother
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Weight of Ink
    $10.99 $2.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Take Two (Above the Line, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lisette's List
    $11.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.99
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Send Down the Rain
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • I Want to Show You More: Stories
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Katherine
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Revenge of the Lawn / The Abortion / So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Where We Belong
    $5.99 $1.49
  • Cashelmara
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
“Hindsight, I thought, was like a punishment, remorseless in its clarity and painfully unable to change what had gone before.” 5 likes
“Because everything does make sense, when you look at it from the right angle. All you have to do is find out what that angle is, for whatever it is you want to understand, and bang, the universe becomes a rational place.” 4 likes
More quotes…