Can love last beyond the grave?
Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.
Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.
Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?
So, I took this out of the library a few weeks ago. I was a bit dubious at first because it's quite a long book (528 pages) and I thought it'd be really slow-paced and boring. But although it was a bit slow-paced, it wasn't boring at all!
I enjoyed the plot and the setting. The author took the city girl moves to the countryside storyline but added a supernatural element, a (mostly) likeable cast and a romantic, historic setting which made the story dark, gothic, and a wonderful read. The romance was the best aspect of the book and I absolutely loved Rhys. He was so mysterious which just made him more appealing, and his whole persona made him one of the most intriguing male characters I've read in a long time.
However, I did feel the story dragged on quite a lot. Everything Sylvie did was described, even the most mundane things like eating breakfast, walking the dog, sneaking the dog upstairs, going to the garden. The dog was cute but mentioned way too much, in my opinion. Although it was refreshing to read about a female lead with a pet, the pet didn't really have to be mentioned in every other sentence. It didn't stop me from reading on, but I think the book would have been a lot more enjoyable if it was shorter and contained less description of the day-to-day aspects of Sylvie's life at Bluestone Hill.
It is an extremely well-written book though. The characters were well developed to the point I felt so much frustration for one of them (Shawn), I just wanted him to be killed off. The descriptions were maybe too long but so vivid that I could picture Sylvie and Gigi walking around the town, and the garden etc.
The history and supernatural stuff mixed in well with the plot, although at times it could be a bit confusing. I would've like to learn more about the American Civil War and the ancient Welsh backstory, but I felt Clement-Moore included just the right amount of intrigue and magic surrounding the town.
I would recommend it to fans of gothic romances, love triangles, slow-moving (but still enjoyable) reads and well-developed characters. The mixture of mystery, romance, history and ghosts made The Splendor Falls a book I wouldn't mind purchasing in the future.