THE SPLENDOR FALLS
Rating: 4.5 Enchantments
Sylvie Davis' promising career as a ballet dancer is over before it really even has a chance to begin. Thanks to a fluke, she fell and broke her leg and is unable to dance again. To top things off, her mother just remarried and while her and the step-shrink go off on a honeymoon, Sylvie's been shipped south to visit a cousin of her father's she barely remembers meeting once to stay at a house she's never seen. But once she arrives in Alabama, Sylvie finds herself in what seems like a different world.
Cousin Paula's remodelling the family estate into a bed and breakfast, and the whole town seems to think she's something special just because she's a Davis, something she just doesn't understand at all. Add in the weird vibe she's getting from some of the locals, including Paula's business partner's daughter and the fact there's strange rumours about the house and things people have seen there, things maybe Sylvie's sorta seen for herself and things are way too complicated too quick for her liking.
One of the best things about Ms. Clement-Moore's writing is her characters. No two are ever alike, but they're as real as real can be. Sylvie is no exception to the rule and neither are those around her in Alabama. I especially loved the relationships between Sylvie and both Rhys, the mysterious stranger staying at the unfinished bed and breakfast with his father and Shawn Maddox, the local good boy, who seems to like Sylvie a little too much, too quickly. The house itself quickly becomes a character of its own, unfamiliar and at times slightly menacing, Sylvie isn't sure what to make of it—or Alabama as a whole. Her father never talked about the place, and maybe she can see why. But when she finds away to seek solace and time on her own, recreating what used to be a magical garden, the secrets of the past begin to be unleashed, something that puts her directly in danger.
THE SPLENDOR FALLS is one of my favorite reads of the year. Sylvie's a great character, I loved her voice, her weariness at where she was and what her future holds now that her dream of being a prima ballerina is shattered. Faced with that and what seems like an unpleasant stay in Alabama—Cousin Paula won't even let her take her beloved little dog up to her room, she soon finds herself involved in something more mysterious and supernatural than she'd ever expected. It all seems to start when she sneaks out with the dog to the back of the house and she sees a figure watching from one of the upstairs windows. But it's not Rhys or his father or even Cousin Paula. Who could it be? And what's their connection to the house? There were so many scenes I loved it's hard to pick one to highlight, but when Sylvie runs into Shawn in town and he takes her to the local coffee shop. All the locals are so excited to see the two of them together, Sylvie begins to wonder what exactly is going on.
Rosemary Clement-Moore lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. THE SPLENDOR FALLS is her fourth book for young readers. Visit Rosemary online at www.readrosemary.com