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The Splendour Falls

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  10,120 ratings  ·  1,044 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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Cooper Tennant 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)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  10,120 ratings  ·  1,044 reviews

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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.

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
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
* Sigh* It saddens me to have to put a low rating for one of my favorite authors. "The Splendour Falls" is really a 2.5 for me. I was under the impression that the book would delve into Queen Isabelle, wife of King John of England. Instead it turned out to be some type of mystery melodrama with zero chemistry between the female character and many of the interested male parties. If you have never read Kearsley, please try The Winter Sea, The Firebird or Marianna. ...more

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 :-).
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
May 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, romance
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
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Loved this. Just as I've loved every Kearsley book I've read thus far. I only knocked off half a star, because it wasn't my favorite of her books. Still fabulous, but slightly less fabulous than a few of her others. A bit of mystery, as usual, mixed into the history of the castle and the town. Intriguing characters, romantic setting, slow burn romance, I can never get enough. Most definitely recommend anything Kearsley writes.

This was an audiobook. Narrator was Barbara Rosenblat. She d
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
Christine Spoors
This is the 7th Susanna Kearsley book I've read, and unfortunately it is probably my least favourite. I still finished this book in two sittings, devouring 300 pages in a single day because I adore her writing even when there's aspects I'm not fond of. So if you're making your way through Kearsley's books I would still recommend this, it just definitely won't be the one I recommend to people first.

In this book we follow Emily, a woman who travels to the small town of Chinon in France to go on ho
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
This lovely book brought me through a move cross country & was great entertainment. I love Susannah Kearsley’s books and hesitated on the number of stars. I wanted to give it four stars but I just didn’t love it as much as her others. It was good and even thrilling near the the end, but it lagged in places and sometimes I felt we were going nowhere slowly. So, for those reasons I rated it three stars.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok

After reading three of Ms. Kearsley’s books, I’ve come to a sudden and decided realization: I like her writing style. I like the way her words flow like warm water, one sentence into another and the whole prose full of beautiful imagery and nuance.

Which, if I’m being honest, is probably why I’ve read three of her books so far.

Her writing is good. Which makes it easy for me to forget that her plot and character development isn’t exactly very good.

It hurts me to say it — it really does.

I keep r
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
C.  (friends, please call me by name)
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
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, france, kindle
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
Leigh Kramer
There's much to critique in this novel but first let me talk about what I did like. First, I'm going to need to visit Chinon, France as soon as possible because it sounds amazing. The setting is such a huge part of this story and I was completely enamored. This story had less of a paranormal element than I'm used to in Kearsley novels. It was much more subtle, if it was there at all. Overall I really enjoyed the present day storyline and this was largely due to Chinon and the people Emily meets ...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. ...more
Lynn Spencer
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the 90s, this book is (unsurprisingly, given that writers grow and change) quite different in feel from some of Kearsley's more recent books. While there are historical storylines, they play more of a background role than in some of her later works. Here, the focus is squarely on Emily in 1990s Chinon, France, and the tone reminded me very much of some of my favorite Mary Stewart novels, such as Nine Coaches Waiting.

When Emily's cousin fails to meet her at the airport as planned, she
I have been enjoying Susanna Kearsley as far as the only couple other books I've read by her, so it was probably inevitable that I'd come across a disappointment--I just hadn't expected it so early on. The Splendour Falls dragged something awful, and the truth is, the actual story's conflict doesn't even quite surface until about 8 hours into the audio book; 8 hours out of a 12 hour audio book.

As I had had a good impression of Kearsley since the first book I'd read, I'm hoping the next one will
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Kearsley is the queen of mild magic in a real world. This is the second book of hers that I’ve read and both times she was able to create an environment that felt both real and a slightly better version of what’s real. Because who doesn’t want a little bit of magic in their lives??

In this we have local legends playing a major role, and our protagonist (a little too conveniently, but oh well) manages to make friends with all the fun quirky people worth knowing. They each had distinctive personali
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
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another quality read from Susanna Kearsley. I do like her stuff that takes place in Scotland a bit more, but this was still delightful. Now I want to go to France.
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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

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