The Splendour Falls. Finished 11-24-15, rating 4.25/5. 380 pages, pub. 1995
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 hid her casket of jewels. But when Emily arrives at her hotel she finds that Harry has disappeared, and as she tries to find him she becomes involved with some of the other guests and learns of a mystery dating from the German occupation during the Second World War. Another Isabelle, a chambermaid at the hotel, fell in love with a German soldier, with tragic results.
Emily becomes increasingly aware of strange tensions, old enmities and new loves; as she explores the city, with its labyrinthine dungeons and tunnels and its ancient secrets, she comes ever closer to the mystery of what happened to both the Isabelles of Chinon’s history. from Goodreads
Kearsley has officially become a comfort read for me. This was my third read from her and each of them has left me satisfied and happy. There is always a back story that takes place in another time that connects with the current story in some way. This book had less of the back story, which I think it suffered for, but the mystery, romance, and yes, evil all combined to make this a fun read. I didn’t think it was as good as the other two, but this is an earlier work of hers and it’s still good.
The essence of the setting is always so easily felt and her writing is so accessible that once I get started I find it hard to put down. There were so many potential bad guys in this one that I didn’t really have and handle on it until late in the game, but those smarter than I probably figured it out much sooner.
If you love historical intrigue with a dash of modern day romance I highly recommend Kearsley.