Mar 6, 2010

Review: The Splendour Falls

Rosemary Clement Moore
  • ARC: 512 pages
  • Publisher: UK Corgi Childrens (28 Jan 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0552561355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552561358
  • Source: ARC from fiercebook
  • My rating: 4/5
Sylvie Davies is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage. Still reeling Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history ...and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand. Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window ...Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?

I loved this book. It was so cute and neat and nice and I didn't want it to end. Lucky for me, it's quite a long one, over 500 pages.

I should mention first that this is probably not a book for those who love fast-paced, action-packed paranormal romances. The Splendour Falls is quite a slow one. Starting with a prologue explaining Sylvie's fatal injury, it does seem to be happening very fast at the beginning as she gets shipped off from Manhattan to Alabama, heart-broken and hurt, questioning her own common sense. But once she arrives in Alabama,  the story takes on a nice, relaxed Southern laziness that I could clearly feel radiating from the pages.

It's hard to say what's so compelling about this book. Surely it's not one to keep you at the edge of your seat, but I enjoyed reading it, and could barely put it down. Each chapter holds a surprise. It may not be an epic one, but it will have you spell-bound and anxious to find out what happens next. There is some magic woven into the story, toward the end the suspense grows but it's all  dosed very carefully. Much more, it conveys an atmosphere of the healing power of nature and rediscovering the purpose of your life. The main question is, if you could use magic for your own gain, would you do it even if it means destruction and disharmony on the other side of the line? What are you willing to risk for your own happiness?

Sylvie is a lovable character. Her pain, the emotional and physical alike, feels genuine. Her sarcastic remarks are funny; she is spontaneous and  though shaken she is self-confident and knows to take her stand. Of course there is the inevitable love triangle, a confused girl, a mysterious guy and the Mr Perfect guy. I admit, I fell in love with Rhys. Deep sigh. How do you not fall for a guy with a charming Welsh accent? Generally speaking, there's an array of interesting and nicely crafted characters with strong and unique voices.

My only complaint is that there is a lot of page-fillers. We follow Sylvie from the moment she wakes up in the morning to the moment she falls asleep. There's a nice lot that could have been cut out without damaging the story. It would gain some pace and the sudden outburst of events at the end wouldn't feel so abrupt. The ending was...well, let me just say, not so enjoyable. Everything that includes children being violated and murdered, no matter how effective it may be for the story...sorry, you lost me there. No complaints on the writing, either; the voice sounds perfectly in tone with the characters and the setting. 

If you have a green thumb and enjoy gardening, this is a book for you. Rosemary's garden descriptions are beautiful. She actually makes you smell the scent of grass, feel the cool of the morning dew, see the silver moonlight and hear the rush of the river. The ghostly atmosphere will send chilly spikes down your spine. Rosemary Clement-Moore wrote a nice, easy to read and enjoyable novel that works just fine without the pressure of having to be an adrenalin rush. More than once I thought about what a good movie it would make. If you're tired of vampires, zombies, werewolves and such, try this book.
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