The Splendor Falls

The Splendor Falls

4.3 63
by Rosemary Clement-Moore
     
 

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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

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Overview

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?

"Lush with Southern atmosphere, The Splendor Falls expertly weaves together romance, tension, and mystery. Haunting and unforgettable!" —Carrie Ryan, bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

"Sylvie's voice is sharp and articulate, and Clement-Moore . . . anchors the story in actual locations and history. . . . Her ear for both adolescent bitchery and sweetness remains sure, and her ability to write realistic, edgy dialogue without relying on obscenity or stereotype is a pleasure."-Publishers Weekly

"Long, satisfying and just chilling enough, this will please a wide audience and leave readers hoping for more."-Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seventeen-year-old Sylvie has recently lost both her father and her nascent career as a ballerina. Sent to visit family in Alabama during her newly remarried mother’s honeymoon, Sylvie grapples not only with dislocation and grief, but with hallucinations—in Central Park, in the airport and in her family’s antebellum mansion, Bluestone Hill—that she cannot control or explain. Her cousin Paula, an old-school steel magnolia, is no comfort, but Sylvie finds warmth in the competing attentions of theTom Sawyeresque Shawn Maddox and Rhys Griffith, a visitor from Wales with secrets of his own. As Sylvie learns more about Shawn, Rhys and the history of Bluestone Hill, she finds strength to understand her family’s past and her own unsettling but hopeful future. Sylvie’s voice is sharp and articulate, and Clement-Moore (the Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series) anchors the story in actual locations and history, offering au courant speculations about the nature of ghosts and magic. Her ear for both adolescent bitchery and sweetness remains sure, and her ability to write realistic, edgy dialogue without relying on obscenity or stereotype is a pleasure. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Megan Lynn Isaac
After a freak accident destroys seventeen-year-old Sylvie's promising career as a ballerina, she is sent to recuperate with distant relatives in rural Alabama. With only her purse-sized Chihuahua, Gigi, to comfort her in exile, Sylvie holds her disdain in poorly concealed check. Yet, nothing turns out as she expected. Historic tragedy, Welsh mythology, and discontented ghosts cling to the house at Bluestone Hill as thick as kudzu vines. And the young men in residence are similarly complicated and mysterious. Charismatic Shawn seems eager to engage Sylvie in a romantic entanglement like the ones for which their ancestors were famous, but his self-assured manipulation of every encounter puts her on edge. Rhys, spending the summer doing geological research in the area, shares Sylvie's sense of sarcasm and wit but is clearly hiding something. The deeper Sylvie probes into the secrets that link her to the house, its ghosts, and the young men, the more danger she encounters. A slow beginning and an excess of Southern stereotypes weigh down the opening of this lengthy supernatural thriller, but once Sylvie is firmly situated at Bluestone Hill, the tension begins to build. Poised between shock and incredulity, Sylvie struggles to make sense of the strange apparitions she cannot seem to avoid and the two swains who seem tied to them. Readers of Clement-Moore's earlier trilogy will not be at all surprised when the magic vested in the stones, which give the house its name, turn out to mark something unexpectedly powerful. Reviewer: Megan Lynn Isaac
Kirkus Reviews
Clement-Moore forsakes her Maggie Quinn series to craft a stand-alone Southern Gothic with a Celtic flair-and leading man. After an injury destroys 19-year-old Sylvie's ballet career and she gets drunk at her mother's wedding, she finds herself and her dog shipped down to her dead father's Alabama family, complete with huge estate-cum-inn and resident ghosts. The local teens wield an inordinate amount of power, their cute leader wants Sylvie and Welsh guest Rhys infuriates and attracts in equal measure. The mythological and historical grounding-legendary Welsh prince Madoc; natural magic; hidden journals; family secrets-is excellent, artfully shared via conversation when exposition is necessary, although Sylvie's resistance to admitting the paranormal drags on a bit given all the hints. The dialogue displays the author's trademark wit and zip, especially when Sylvie and her aunt's business partner's daughter spar. By digging up-literally and figuratively-her family's past, Sylvie begins to heal and move past her accident. Long, satisfying and just chilling enough, this will please a wide audience and leave readers hoping for more. (author's note) (Fantasy/mystery. 13 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385736909
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.62(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I wanted to hate Alabama, and nothing about my arrival disappointed me.

To be fair, there aren't many places that are easy to fall in love with in ninety-degree heat and eighty-five percent humidity. The bumpy flight from my connection in Atlanta, on a minuscule plane with doll-sized seats, hadn't helped. And that was before some snafu at the gate forced us to deplane on the tarmac and ride a bus to the terminal.

I'd been out of my walking cast for two weeks. My leg throbbed like a sadistic metronome as I limped down the concourse, and the toes of my right foot were swollen like fat pink cocktail weenies. Gigi's carrier bag hung from my shoulder, my fingers white-knuckled on the strap. It's bad enough to dread something; it's even worse when the pain of moving forward is more than metaphorical.

I could rest a minute, sit down between the barbecue restaurant and the souvenir shop with the Confederate flag coffee mugs. For that matter, I was inside the security checkpoint. No one could come in and get me without buying a plane ticket. I could just live here until my mother and her new husband got back from their honeymoon and reported me missing.

Granted, that wouldn't really help convince them I no longer needed to see a psychiatrist.

Settling for a brief rather than indefinite delay, I ducked into the bathroom. It was empty, so I put Gigi's bag on the counter while I splashed water on my face and reapplied some lip gloss. Makeup has never been a priority with me—at least not offstage, which means all the time now. But whenever my mother was losing a fight, she always took a moment to freshen her lipstick. Eventually I figured out this was how she bought time to think up an irrefutable argument.

I was merely stalling the rest of my life.

Gigi gave a soft yip of discontent. I unzipped the top of her carrier so that she could stick her head out, then filled her travel bowl from the half-empty Evian bottle in my purse. The dog took a few indifferent laps, then blinked at me. Her subtext seemed pretty clear: What the hell is your problem?
Was it wrong to have a problem with being shipped off like an unwanted parcel to stay with a relative I'd met only once? I vaguely remembered Cousin Paula from Dad's funeral, pressing my mother's hand in gentle sympathy, even though Mother and Dad had been divorced for three years. But as she'd said on the phone, in her Scarlett O'Hara accent, "Kin is kin," and she was happy to have me visit.

Maybe I shouldn't be dreading this. These were my father's family. This was my chance to learn where he came from, because Dad had never spoken much about his background. Which raised the possibility that he might have left Alabama to get away from these people.

A thin blonde wheeled her carry-on into the restroom. Gigi pricked her ears forward adorably, but the woman just shot the dog carrier a dirty look before disappearing with a sniff into the handicapped stall. It was as though thinking about my mother had invoked her eviler twin.

I should correct that. My mother is not evil. She's merely self-absorbed. I can be, too.

For sixteen years, our self-interests coincided more often than not. I lived to dance, and she loved having a ballet prodigy for a daughter. So her lack of maternal instinct didn't really affect me until The Accident (it was hard not to think of it in capital letters) ended my skyrocketing career right as it left the atmosphere.

The Accident had also turned me into a child again. I'd been a professional dancer. I'd traveled to Europe and Asia with the company. Nine months of surgery, casts and titanium rods later, I was a seventeen-year-old "unaccompanied minor"—thanks a lot, Delta Air Lines—pawned off on distant relatives to be babysat.

The infuriating thing was, Mother knew very well how self-sufficient I was, because she'd taken full advantage of it while dating her new husband. I think if it had been up to her, she would have left me on my own while she went off on her two-week honeymoon.

But "Dr. Steve" hadn't considered it an option. I was emotionally fragile, at a crossroads, major cognitive realignment, blah blah blah. God, I hated shrinks.

He wasn't even my shrink, just my new stepfather.

So, I couldn't be left alone for two weeks in our Upper West Side apartment with only Gigi, the security staff, the doorman and all the take-out food in Manhattan for company.

It would do me good, he said, to get away from the City, the reminders of my old life, and have a change of scenery.

The unspoken thread in this pronounced sentence was that the godforsaken wilderness of the Deep South was the perfect place for me to dry out. A drastic measure, just because I drank myself unconscious at their wedding. Imagine what he would have suggested if he knew about the hallucinations.

• * *

If I hadn't broken my leg, Mother wouldn't have married Dr. Steven Blakely. She'd known him casually through one of her arts organizations, and since he was a premier child psychologist, she'd called him after The Accident. Dr. Steve had referred me to his colleague one floor down, and asked my mother out to dinner and a show.

They were married while I was still in a walking cast, but Mother insisted that I process down the aisle with the wedding party. That wouldn't have been a big deal if she had gotten married in an intimate little chapel like a normaldivorcee of . . . let's just say thirty-nine. But eighteen years ago, she and my dad had eloped; maybe she thought a big wedding would make marriage stick the second time around.

Meet the Author

ROSEMARY CLEMENT-MOORE is also the author of Prom Dates from Hell, Hell Week, Highway to Hell, Texas Gothic, and Spirit and Dust. She grew up on a ranch in south Texas and now lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. You can visit her at ReadRosemary.com or follow her on Twitter @rclementmoore.

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The Splendor Falls 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
mrdarcy3 More than 1 year ago
Sylvie's life changed forever during a dance - with one misplaced step. Now, the once youngest ever American Ballet principal dancer, can't dance. She has no idea what to do with her life. When she breaks down at her mother's wedding, consequences arise. While her mother goes on her honeymoon, Sylvie must spend the summer with family she's never met in the family mansion. Right away she discovers she knows nothing about the family as her father never mentioned them. Secondly, things are different in the South. Thirdly, she's very popular. Fourthly, two boys turn her head - one for his mysterious ways and the other with his charm. Before long, Sylvie comes immersed in the family history in order to discover more about the overgrown gardens at first, but then to find out more about the family after she hears talk about ghosts as she mentions some peculiar noises in the night. Could there be ghosts or is Sylvie simply going crazy? If there are ghosts, who could she talk with who won't think she's crazy? A psychological subtle thriller that reminded me of the Gothic novels - mysterious, but at first you're not quite sure what to believe. VERY well done! I adored the Hell series previously written by the RITA award winning author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Struck in awe, all i an say is that this one book is better than the whole Twilight series. Its diverseness of mystery and romance, just makes you want it not to end. When i was done reading the whole book, i had to read it once more. This book is unforgettable and extremely exceptional. I haven't read one of these in years. It made my YEAR!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! It was really good. (~^_^)~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a serisous but soulfuland chilling and heart warming book it will have you on the edge of your set waiting to fine out whats next then you will be like holy crap that was AMAZING
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! I loved it, I read it and i couldn't put it down. It's awesome.:-)
bookcrazyme More than 1 year ago
After a devastatingly embarrassing and crippling accident onstage that shatters both her leg and her life, ballerina Sylvie Davis isn't sure what to do with the rest of her life. When she accidentally gets drunk at a wedding and sees things that shouldn't be there, her mom and stepfather-to-be sends her to the deep South (Alabama, to her dad's family's old plantation-turned-bed & breakfast) to "dry out". But dry out she does not. Instead, she is faced with a situation more dire than anything that might have happened had she stayed in New York. Once arrived at Bluestone Hill, the old family home, she is faced with a plethora of mysteries involving boys, ghosts, and century-old questions. THE SPLENDOR FALLS has got to be one of my favorite books ever. It's definitely a slow read at first, but I found it enchanting to read about the workings of a small Southern town and a Manhattan girl like Sylvie trying to find her place in such a setting. Clement-Moore sprinkles in a perfect helping of romance and love-triangle dilemma and bone-chilling ghosties. The chapters alternate between idyllic and heart-pounding. The two probable love interests are the right amount of charming and infuriating. Sylvie, the main character, felt like a real and truly fleshed-out character. Clement-Moore does such a good job establishing her personality that I felt like she was a real person. Each character had a unique personality, so I had no trouble distinguishing them. Like I previously mentioned, the book starts out at a stately pace, but in the last...probably, 1/4th of the book, the speed picks up and it's nonstop action after confrontation after action! The only complaint-and a small one at that-that I have with this book is that Clement-Moore puts a little too much emphasis on Sylvie's dog, Gigi, than I'd like. But then again, this might be because I don't have a dog myself, but I felt like there was an overdose of dog-related occurrences. Overall, a wonderful, well-researched, and well-developed book. I really didn't want it to end, but it did...that was the only bad part of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I realy liked this book. It reminded me of her book Texas Gothic which i absolutly loved. Some parts were a little slow but in all they made the good parts even better. With people that are very cheeky to your uptight people you are sure to fall in love with the charecters. If you are a dog person then you will side with the main charecter about some of the arguments she has with her cusin(they happen pretty often). I liked it a lot. It is a book i can see myself rereading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story that seamlessly weaves history and a lovely bit of paranormal with a great heroine. Sylvie has a way of really expressing her thoughts and so the reader can really connect with her. Rhys is also a good character. The story and the way Ms. Clement-Moore writes are so involved that it was hard to put the book down. Anyone who loves YA and a bit of something "other" I totally recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG! Capitals! This is like oh my gosh the best i heart it wich means i really lllloooovvveee it like yah you no wat im like sayi ng or not because if you dont then its like so five seconds ago really you rwally have to read this like yahs so much awsome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took 300 pages to get to the good part and there was only about 370 pages. But the ending was pretty good. I'd probably borrow this book from the library because i wouldn't read it more than once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an ok book but not one id read again. Alot of questions were left unanswered. Most of the book is really slow it doesnt get good until the very end. Also the book should be renamed to adventures of gigi the dog. There wasnt a page that didnt mention sylvies dog. The plot was really confusing. But the end is good. So id you can stand reading 300 some pages to get to the good part...knock yourself out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok this book is da bomb! Tots worth the money! Im at a good part! My personal fav character is Rhys. Mysterious If this post helped you just post back hey noell and we can chat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PanolaJD More than 1 year ago
Summary: Sylvie Davis is sent to her late father's ancestral home for the summer in Alabama to recover from "The Accident" that ruined her career in ballet. Bitter and distraught, Sylvie begrudgingly adapts to her new historical residence even though there are some unsettling rules (i.e. no dogs in the house), bewildering small-town beliefs/superstitions, and two young men that she develops conflicting/unbalancing feelings for. Even though the lush green gardens outside her home brighten her days, Sylvie's nights are haunted by a watcher in the windows and high-pitched howling noises from the nearby woods. Any attempts to discover the secrets of her father's Old South legacy are usually interrupted by the Teen Town Council (i.e. Shawn Maddox) or the local ghost town (Cahawba) archaeological dig volunteer, Rhys Griffith. And when the legendary ghost stories begin to become reality, Sylvie takes it upon herself to set the past straight by uncovering the mysteries of Bluestone Hill. Review: Sylvie was a rocky character for me, she either came off a stubbornly strong or frustratingly vulnerable and as much as I wanted to recognize her as an independent female lead, in my eye, she only succeeded in lacking confidence. I know she had good reason to be gloomy, but her coarse actions towards events in the story dampened my feelings towards her. On the other hand, Rhys was a highly witty and delightful character. He portrayed a compelling figure that actually revealed many of the stories historical facts and much-needed revelations that moved the tale along. Shawn also depicted a vibrant character who shined greatly as the small-town's favorite son, but who also had a darker more complex and intense side. The side-characters were all entertaining enough (somewhat excluding cousin Paula who was more of a downer than anything else) without distracting from the main leads -- a plus! The story had an intriguing concept full of ghosts, folk-lore, history, mythology, etc. that it instantly appealed to me, but there was almost too much going on in each of those areas that they kind of eclipsed each other. Also, sadly, some parts that I felt were very important in the story were either anti-climatic/down-played and only slightly revealed right at the end (i.e. the whole 'past-life' concept), thus I would have like a bit more development altogether. I was entertained though by the spook-factor created from the local ghost beliefs/visions which added a little supernatural thrill. Plus, the romance sparks were there, just slightly hollow. Likes: Personally, I did enjoy Sylvie's soy milk drinking/meat-substitute eating lifestyle since recently I've adapted to becoming a part-time vegan and got a hoot out of her reactions to the southern dishes. Also, the Welsh mythology was something all together new for me (and that's saying something for a historical/folk-lore Nut like me)! Dislikes: The overall story's plot development was too lethargic and disordered for my reading taste. The ending left me asking questions that, I felt, weren't fully answered as well as confusion in some of the misleading directions the story took. All in all, it left me a bit baffled!
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
We meet Sylvie Davis at the moment her world comes crashing down on her, quite literally. She is the youngest ever principal dancer at the American Ballet and she lands and breaks her leg, a career ending injury. To make matters worse, her mother is getting remarried and so Sylvie wallows in depression and bitterness so much that her mother ships her off to her fathers family home in Alabama to see if a change of scenery will improve her outlook. I loved reading this book!!!! The characters are all interesting and it was so easy to get lost in it and feel as if you are part of the events that are happening. What I really liked was that the main character was a ballerina, and yet the ballet terms are thrown out very sparingly. Just enough to make appoint or a certain way a character stands and then that is it. I like it because its a perfect mix and you never feel as if you wandered into a ballet intensive. Not to spoil the read any, but there are so many gasp worthy scenes its hard to make one stand out, except for the one involving Gigi towards the end. That one left me with tears streaming down my face. Sylvie though is a very well rounded character and she has a lot of sarcastic responses and yet comes about her power in a truly naive and trusting fashion. Rosemary really does a great job of describing scenes to the point that you can feel every emotion and every scent to the point you are actually there. The romance between Sylvie and Rhys is awesome and I have a not so secret crush on him:) Definite must read!!!!
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It is the best books i have ever read and i have read a lot of books. It never gets boring ! I couldn't put it down.
Lolafalana More than 1 year ago
THE SPLENDOUR FALLS by Rosemary Clement-More (3 stars). Yes, that is how the title is spelled. IKR? The book has a good premise, and the mystery builds up to a burst-worthy ending, but . . . Yeah. It was just okay. Though I must give this author credit (and her editor) for the outstanding grammar. From what I remember, there was not one typo. And that's a bloody miracle.
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