Review Blog

May 06 2010

The Splendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

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Corgi Books, 2010. ISBN 9780552561358.
(Ages 14+) Sylvie's career in ballet is shattered when her leg is broken. Ballet had been all consuming for her, keeping her centred through her father's death. When her mother decides to remarry, Sylvie is sent to Alabamba to stay with relatives. When she arrives she discovers that the family home was once a mansion, and the surrounding area is rich with the history of her ancestors. She is attracted to the town's golden boy Shawn, who leads a mysterious Teen Town Council, and to Rhys, the enigmatic young man from Wales. When strange things start to happen, she begins to wonder if she is losing her mind, seeing strange apparitions in the house and nearby woods.
A combination of gothic mystery and romance, The splendour falls kept me reading until the end. I like ghost stories and this aspect of the book was very captivating. The addition of standing stones, ley lines, Welsh legends and a magic Circle of teens all led to an interesting story that was entertaining and escapist although a few less threads may have lead to a tighter conclusion.
Sylvie's character was well fleshed out and she developed into an enterprising young woman by the end of the story, although she is confronted with ghosts, hears a baby crying in the woods and smells lavender in the bedroom she has been given . Told in the first person, her sarcastic side comments added a note of humour and give insights into the characters of the other players in the mystery. The usual love triangle is engaging, although I would have liked to have learnt more about Rhys' experiences in Wales. Gigi, Sylvie's little handbag dog, has an awesome character all of her own and will really appeal to dog lovers.
The splendour falls is an engaging paranormal romp that should appeal to girls who like ghosts and things that go bump in the night.
Pat Pledger

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