Emily Braden is intrigued by the medieval story of Queen Isabelle, and cannot resist when her cousin Harry, a historian, suggests a trip to the white-walled town of Chinon, nestling in France's Loire Valley. But when Harry vanishes and Emily begins to search for him, she stumbles across another intriguing mystery -- a second Isabelle, a chambermaid during the Second World War, who had her own tragedy, and her own treasure to hide.
As Emily explores the ancient town of labyrinthine tunnels, old enmities, and new loves, she finds herself drawn ever closer to the mysterious Isabelles and their long-kept secrets
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 Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.
I read two books by Kearsley which I enjoyed a lot so when I got the opportunity to read this one I took it. This is the first book Kearsley wrote and it is being re-released. I was curious if it would be noticeable.
The first fifty pages it is clear this is a Kearsley book. Quick introductions in what the story is going to be about and the main character is introduced and stands. It is easy to imagine Emily and see her walking around doubting if she should travel with her untrustworthy cousin.
The atmosphere in the book is great. I really felt as if I was in a small French town standing on a corner seeing the whole story develop in front of me. The mystery unraveling was done well though I did not really find it easy to puzzle along as multiple people had parts of the story and not all were disclosed. What did disturb me a lot was the amount of men in the story surrounding Emily. This made me feel as if a romantic situation was forced on her and it did not really matter with whom because there were 4 men available and she could pick but it had to happen. Still Kearlsey is a great story teller and if you are in need of a cosy mystery this is for sure a great choice.
The Splendour Falls
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Sourcebooks Landmark: various formats