Whanganuilibrary.com
Normal view MARC view ISBD view

The Splendour Falls [text (large print)] / Susanna Kearsley.

By: Kearsley, Susanna, 1966-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016Copyright date: ©1995Edition: Large print edition.Description: 523 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781410487834 (large print : hardcover : alk. paper); 1410487830 (large print : hardcover : alk. paper).Subject(s): Cousins -- Fiction | Treasure troves -- Fiction | World War, 1939-1945 -- Fiction | Large type booksGenre/Form: Historical fiction. | Thrillers (Fiction) | Detective and mystery fiction.DDC classification: 813/.54 Summary: 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.
Tags from this library: No tags from this library for this title. Log in to add tags.
    average rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due
Large Print Mobile Library
Large Print
Large Print KEAR Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"I've loved every one of Susanna's books She has bedrock research and a butterfly's delicate touch with characters--sure recipe for historical fiction that sucks you in and won't let go "-- DIANA GABALDON , #1 New York Times bestselling author of Outlander

An Ancient Castle, a Tragic Love, and a Web of Secrets Begins to Unravel...

Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary own of Chinon, and promptly disappears--well, that's Harry for you.

As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry.

As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.

Don't miss the next enchanting novel from Susanna Kearsley, Bellewether , coming August 2018

Other bestselling books by Susanna Kearsley:
The Winter Sea
A Desperate Fortune
The Firebird

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.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Prologue

...when all was lost or seem'd as lost...

The first night had been the worst. They had come on so violently, and without warning. One moment she'd been peacefully at prayer within the chapel, and the next the captain of her guard was pounding at the door, with orders she should seek in haste the safety of her chamber. And then someone had whispered "siege"...

It had been dreadful, that first night-the darkness and the shrieking of the wind and the fires burning everywhere, it seemed, upon the plain below. But daylight came, and still the castle held. Of course it held, thought Isabelle. This was Chinon. Like the Plantagenet kings it sheltered, Chinon Castle had a will of iron. It bowed before no man.

At first, she had not wanted to believe that Guillaume des Roches could be so bold, so callous, as to try to hold her hostage. He'd been an ally of the king her husband, and in return he had been used most fairly. Had John not made des Roches warden of Chinon? And yet she'd seen the evidence with her own eyes, she'd seen des Roches himself among the men, striding freely through their ranks as though such treason were a thing to make him proud.

If John were here, she thought, he'd teach the traitor otherwise. If John were here...

She drew the velvet robe more tightly round her shivering body and looked again toward the west. The sun had slipped much lower, now. Already it had flattened on the purple haze of hills, spilling its brilliance into the darkly flowing river. Soon, she knew, there would be only darkness left. Four nights now she had stood here in this high and lonely tower, watching while the dying sun sank weakly in the western sky. This time she found herself looking for the fires, her own eyes seeking out the places where the rebels kept their camps.

"They are quite close, tonight," she said aloud, and one of her women stirred beside the hearth.

"My lady?"

Isabelle glanced round, her long hair tangling on the crimson velvet. "I said the fires are close, tonight."

"Yes, my lady."

"It must be very cold..." She looked away again, thinking on the madness that might drive a man to leave the comfort of his own warm hearth in this, the depth of winter.

Her women were watching her, she could feel their eyes. Her calmness, she knew, surprised them. They thought her still a child, as she had come to them three years ago, when John had brought her here, to Chinon, for the wedding. He'd scandalized the court that summer-she had heard the whispers. A man past thirty marrying a girl of twelve...

But even then, she had not been a child. She had already been betrothed to Hugh of Lusignan when John had met her first at Angoulême. No matter. As in the game of chess, a king outranked a knight, and Isabelle had known from their first meeting how the game would end. Some said that she yet wanted Hugh, but they were fools who thought so. In all her fifteen years, she had loved one man only-a quiet man, a caring man, with midnight eyes that smiled for her alone. And had it been her choice to make, three years ago, she would have chosen John.

He was not like his brothers, not like Richard. She'd met the fabled Lionheart-an armored giant with a beard of gold. The image of his father, people said, the image of the Lion himself, King Henry, that raging intellect who, with indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, had bred a line of princes unparalleled in time.

It was, thought Isabelle, the strangest family. They loved and hated one another, wept and warred and plotted, moving always in a weird diagonal between deceit and truth. It had left scars on all of them, especially John. He did not speak of it, but many times she'd seen him standing silent in the chapel here at Chinon, brooding on the very spot where old King Henry, sick at heart, had finally died.

'Twas rumored it was John's fault that the Lion ceased to roar-John's fault because he had been Henry's favorite, and because the king had seen John's name upon a list of those who stood against him. But Henry's heart was not so weak, thought Isabelle. He'd fought his sons before, unflinching. He'd dungeoned up his wife. He'd played John and betrayed him until no one could with any certainty say how his feelings lay. And yet John loved him. When he stood so sad and solemn in the chapel, Isabelle had but to look upon her husband's face to know whose heart had broken there those many years ago.

Still, people would persist in rumors. They whispered now about young Arthur of Brittany, held captive in Rouen for laying siege to the old queen at Mirabeau. John had once been fond of Arthur, his brother Geoffrey's only son, and Geoffrey, who died young, had been of all the brothers closest in both looks and age to John. But Arthur was not Geoffrey. Where his father had been cunning, Arthur failed to think at all, and his rash behavior left John with no option but to take him prisoner.

And so the rumors shifted, day to day. Arthur of Brittany was free... he was in fetters... he was planning his escape... he was too weak to raise his head... he had been moved in secrecy from Rouen... Some said-she'd heard it only yesterday-that Arthur was already dead, that John had had him killed. What foolishness, thought Isabelle. John could not kill the boy.

She might have told that to the men camped now around the walls of Chinon Castle, if they had been like to listen, since it was for Arthur's sake that they had come. They thought to hold her hostage for the freedom of the reckless young pretender. Fools, she thought. They knew John not at all.

The wind struck chill through the high narrow window. It had a voice, that wind-half human and half demon, that numbed the soul and turned the heart to stone. Isabelle turned slowly from the dimming view and crossed the great round room to where a smaller window gazed upon the north. The northern sky was deepest blue and full of cloud, without a star to pierce the gloom. Did they have stars, she wondered, at Le Mans? Her message would, by now, have surely reached him. Le Mans was not so very far away. She had but to hold out a few more days, and help would be at hand. Isabelle smiled faintly in the firelight. Even if John had loved her not at all, she knew he would not lose his precious Treasury. Indeed, she might have thought he loved his Treasury above all else, had it not been for the day she'd teased him about it and he'd caught her to him, there in front of everyone, and told her: "You are my treasure." She could still taste his kiss upon her lips...

Her hand moved, unthinkingly, to the gold and pearl pendant at her throat, and she frowned. "Alice," she said quietly, over her shoulder, "I would have my jewel casket."

"Yes, my lady." The woman by the fire rose obediently.

"And Alice..."

"Yes, my lady?"

"Which of the servants knows the tunnels best?"

They did not need to ask which tunnels she was speaking of. Chinon Castle was riddled with them. John often said it was a mystery that the walls did not collapse.

"Old Thomas, my lady," came the answer, finally. "He works in the kitchens."

"Then I would have him brought to me," said Isabelle, "without delay. I have need of him."

The women stared at her, and murmured, but they knew better than to question her wishes. For all her youth, this waif-like figure by the window was yet Isabelle of Angoulême; she was their queen, and she would be obeyed. Old Thomas would be fetched with haste.

Content, Isabelle turned back to the small window and the fires burning brightly on the blackened plain below. She did not hear the door behind her close, nor hear the footsteps of the women ringing down the cold stone passage. She only heard the wind. She was still standing motionless, her eyes upon the northern hills, when Alice came to set the small jewel casket down beside the bed.

Alice was the oldest of her women, and her gaze fell very gentle on the sad-eyed little queen. "He will come, my lady," she said softly, and they both knew it was not Old Thomas that she meant.

Isabelle nodded, without words, and blamed the stinging winter wind for the sudden trail of dampness on her face...

Excerpted from The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

In this latest from New York Times best-selling author Kearsley (The Firebird), Emily Braden, a young Englishwoman, travels to the historic French town of Chinon to meet her cousin Harry, a scholar on a research trip. When Harry never turns up and one of the locals is found dead, Emily learns Chinon is a town where things often go missing. During the 13th century, Queen Isabelle is said to have hidden a great treasure in the town's castle. Years later during WWII, a woman, also named Isabelle, disappeared from Chinon with a satchel of Nazi diamonds given to her by her German lover. With an intrepidness that would make Nancy Drew proud, Emily pursues these mysteries, dodging murder and finding love with Neil Grantham, an English musician along the way. Kearsley writes gorgeously about the delights of being in a beautiful town, and the joy of the first moments of love. The march through the story's clues plays like a cinematic thriller. And though the narrative is interrupted by two distracting, experimental scenes set during each of the Isabelles' lives, and Emily is at times overly revelatory, the main plot will keep readers turning pages. Agent: Shawna McCarthy, The Shawna McCarthy Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Book Review

Into an enchanting village steps Emily Braden, a young Englishwoman who has lost all belief in romance. Long ago, young Queen Isabelle, captured and awaiting rescue, hid a treasure in the vicinity of the Moulin Tower of the Chateau Chinon. Centuries later, another Isabelle found star-crossed love with a German soldier, and she, too, is rumored to have left a treasure behind. Now, Emily's unreliable yet lovable cousin, Harry, has convinced her to go on holiday with him to Chinon. Naturally, despite all promises to the contrary, Harry does not meet her at the train station nor at the hotel. Yet the moment Emily steps through the doors of the Hotel de France, Paul and Simon Lazarus offer her a drink, and she joins a cast of characters simply waiting for her to begin this romantic, mysterious adventure tinged with gothic elements. Her motley crew of supporting characters includes the Lazarus brothers; Jim Whitaker and his insufferable wife, Garland; Christian, a German painter; and Martine, a gallery owner whose ex-husband recently fell to his death on the steep chateau steps. Yet it is the violinist Neil Grantham, with his midnight blue eyes, who captivates Emily's hesitant heart. Soon, Paul and Emily begin to explore Chinon, and as soon as Emily shares the tale of Queen Isabelle, Simon joins the treasure hunt. An invitation to the elegant vineyard Clos des Cloches leads to more than a flirtation between the darkly handsome owner, Armand Valcourt, and Emily as the hunt for the treasure shifts to the tunnels underneath the wine cellars. Streets are labyrinthine, motivations obscure, and mysteries abound, including the identity of the gypsy man shadowing Emily's steps as well as the whereabouts of Harry. A master of gothic romance, Kearsley (The Firebird, 2013, etc.) deftly plants clues, strews red herrings and toys with her readers' predictions. The journey is thrilling.]]]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.