Monday, 10 September 2012

Review: The Splendor Falls

I was really surprised to receive "The Splendor Falls" by Rosemary Clement-Moore in the post! I'm going to assume it came from Random House, so thank you Random House! Here is the blurb for "The Splendor Falls":

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage.
Still reeling, Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history... and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand.
Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window... Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?
I'd read the blurb before but it was a while before I read the book. Before I read the book all I remembered was the end to Sylvie's dancing career. And in a way, I much prefer reading this way. I'm not waiting for certain events to happen and I can just enjoy the story as it goes along.
I like Sylvie as a character but I think there will be quite a few people who don't. She doesn't sugarcoat things and tells things as they are (rather like my own sister). I like Sylvie's cutting remarks and the way she responds when people insult her. She's also quite an intelligent person. I sympathise with Sylvie because she has just had her whole world come crashing down. I enjoy dance too but I'm nowhere near as passionate nor experienced as Sylvie. Rhys is a Welsh heartthrob. He's kind and Sylvie can't tell why he feels so familiar. There's also Shawn, a local gorgeous boy with a Tom Sawyer kind of charm. The town all seem to love Shawn who has his eyes set on Sylvie. But Sylvie is not so keen.
The plot follows Sylvie as she is shipped off to Alabama. It took me a while to work out my bearings. Sylvie had originally left New York. I worked out in the book that Yankee just means someone from New York (lots of us Brits or Limeys - we have many nicknames - believe it just refers to an American person). Sylvie starts seeing what can only be described as ghosts. She had previously had to see a shrink so she starts rationalising - after all, who wants to believe they're crazy. But as the presence she feels starts getting worse and there is actual violence towards a member of the household, Sylvie has to start unravelling the mystery of the woman who runs through the woods towards the sound of the baby crying and the man with black eyes who watches from the balcony.
This book is quite long (about 500 pages or so) and as such I could put it down, even if I do like reading a book in one sitting. I loved reading the story as it unfolded. However, there is a lot of history of the town involved. I could keep up but wasn't able to absorb all of the facts, and don't recommend other readers try. I got the gist of this book but there were some really fine details which - although it makes the story interesting - it seems to make the story too compact. If you're not familiar with ballet or dance terms, you may get frustrated reading this book as quite a few are brought up. I didn't mind this because I recognised a few terms and the others I googled.
Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars
- I also want to say that I really don't think this book will be liked by everyone. I think it's going to be a little like marmite, you'll either hate it, love it, or a little of both. -

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