Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: The Spendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley

This summer, after reading a couple of her books, Susanna Kearsley became one of my favorite writers, so I’m eager to read anything from her.  The Splendour Falls is the fifth book of hers I’ve read since this summer.

I loved this book.  It is the perfect combination of all my favorite things:  France, castles, art, mystery. 

Emily’s cousin Harry talks her into taking some time off work and visiting Chinon, France, where he’s doing some historical research involving hidden treasure, secret tunnels and a castle.  But when Emily gets to France, her cousin isn’t waiting for her, nor is he at the hotel.  Instead she meets a very interesting group of people staying at her hotel, along with their local friends:  A couple of young men from Canada, an unhappily married couple from America, an English musician who now lives in Austria, a German artist and a French woman who’s ex-husband has mysteriously died.

I found the details and interactions between this odd assortment of characters to be so interesting and entertaining.  Though, I’m also rather jealous.  I travel all the time, have stayed in plenty of little hotels in Europe, and never have I met a group like this.  (I suppose that's good and bad in some ways.)

The best thing about this book is how all the connections between the characters and the castle and the past begin to unfold.  One surprise after another.  While it may appear to be a fairy tale like setting, there are some villains hidden behind the castle walls, or more aptly within the castle tunnels, maybe.  So many secrets and connections to the past.

I couldn’t put this book down.  I was completely immersed in this story.  Picturesque setting, well-developed characters, intriguing story, lots of surprise twists, and even a bit of romance. 

After I read this, all I could think about the rest of the day was how much I want to go to France to visit castles.  Someday.  Maybe in a few months.  After reading this, I made a few decisions about where I’ll be visiting this summer.  Not Chinon, but  hoping to include a few castles in France.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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