Sunday, March 13, 2011
Review: The Splendor Falls
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2009)
Summary: 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?
After cheerfully devouring Clement-Moore's fast-paced and irreverent Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series, I was eager to read her other novel. While this was a complete 180 from the Maggie Quinn series, I definitely enjoyed this book as well.
The Splendor Falls is a slow-paced, Southern Gothic sort of supernatural mystery/thriller/romance. It builds gradually, and has a wonderfully unique and in-depth backstory. Rosemary Clement-Moore does a great job of ratcheting up the tension, both from Sylvie's mysterious visions and from the romantic sparks that fly between Sylvie and Rhys. And Shawn, but come on. Mysterious Welsh geologists beat out 18-year old Southern boys without a sweat, in my mind.
While some of the characters (Cousin Paula, Addie) are not entirely fleshed out, there are unexpected treasures (I loved the Reverend, in his short appearances, as well as Rhys's father.) and the ghosts of Hannah and the Colonel are amazingly strong characters for being dead. Sylvie is a wonderful character, deeply in pain from the death of her father and the loss of her former career (and life) as a ballerina, but still strong and curious and smart.
This book wasn't a "must-read-it-all-in-one-sitting" kind of book, but it definitely stuck in my brain in between reading sessions. I look forward to future books by Rosemary Clement-Moore, whether they are Maggie Quinn books or other stand-alones.