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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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

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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)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 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.

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