The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Skinny: After a crippling accident that leaves ballerina Sylvie Davis unable to dance and the death of her father, she is sent from her Manhattan home to her father’s cousin’s house. In Alabama. She arrives in the middle of her cousin’s attempt to restore their family home and slowly begins to uncover mysteries about her family she never knew existed. Things begin to heat up as she becomes closer to one of her aunt’s house guests, Rhys, the mysterious guest from Wales. And things become more mysterious when she begins hallucinating, seeing specters that shouldn’t be there. Leftovers from her extra-strength pain meds or something more…?BFF?: Look. I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a complainer. Give me something and I’ll complain about it. Which is why no… I probably wouldn’t want to be BFFs with Sylvie. I get it. She had some bad shizz happen to her – broken leg, dead dad, new step dad. But the complaints go on and on and on… She’s fun, though. You’ve gotta give her that. I don’t think I’d want to be BFFs though. Maybe we could be friends who go out and
Readability: Spooktacular! Okay, so it wasn’t that spooky. But it was good. Clement-Moore does a good job of capturing the voices of not only Sylvie (since it’s written in first-person) but of the characters around her without being cheesy. As a Southerner, I get a little offended when our Southernerisms are over done or exaggerated. There’s no need to make us sound like inbred hillbillies without a smart thought in our head. (I’m looking at you Sweet Home Alabama.) The book is smartly written and flows very well, without being choppy or hard to follow. It’s also fun to see a Yankee dropped right smack in the middle of Alabama.
Crush Level: 7
Rhys, you make my heart sing! There’s just something nice about falling for a fictional character. I don’t know what it is; maybe the fact that they can’t break your heart. Anyway… Rhys just justified my idea that the British are hot. Bad teeth jokes aside, there’s just something exciting about an accent mixed with brains and studliness. Rhys, if only you were real and like 10 years older…
This book takes place in Alabama. What?! I’m not going to lie; that’s what immediately made me want to read it. It could have been about zombies fighting evil purple fairies and I would have read it. What makes it even better is that it takes place in an area of the state that is a little spooky, that does have a ghostly vibe and awesome history.
I’m not really big into ghost stories. In fact, I totally chicken out of any and every scary story or movie I try to see. But let’s face it: Southern ghost stories are AWESOME. There’s always some big history or romance behind them, tales of jilted love or murdered brothers. They never disappoint because the story is usually more fascinating than the haunting.
Sylvie’s dog Gigi plays a huge role in this book, whether as comic relief or to tug on your heartstrings. There were several times I wanted to read more about the dog than I did about any of the other characters. And there were many times I scooped up my own puppy and cuddled her as I was reading.
There’s some stuff about this book that just didn’t quite fit. I was all set for this huge ole ghost story and then there’s magic? And magic blue rocks? Meh, it was a disappointing turn. Bring back the ghosts! Boo! Augghhh!
Superlatives – Most Likely to End Up Crazy in Alabama