Everyone once and a while, you discover an extraordinary piece of prose. The work captivates your imagination with history, compelling characters, rich, vibrant settings and language so alluring that you cannot put it down. I do not review books often for the Daily Dose, but I really want to share this book with you.
Best Read of 2009
Presumptuous as the statement may be, considering we’re six weeks out from 2010, but for me, The Splendor Falls was hands down the best book I’ve read all year. The first thirty pages captivated me, inviting me in to sit and stay a spell. Because I was only able to read in drips and drabs, I was forever grumbling about having to close the book to work, to drive, to eat and yes, even to sleep.
In three short, crisp pages, we meet Sylvie Davis, embrace her talent and cringe as she breaks her leg on the stage. The visceral crunch of the bones made me wince, the fall made me cringe and referring to the incident forever as The Accident made me sad. I danced when I was younger, I was not a prime ballerina, but I danced pretty well. I tore my knee when I was fifteen and that ended any future in dancing that I might have had because the knee would never be strong enough to take that type of punishment.
When Sylvie Davis stared at the bleak road that detoured away from the bright, dedicated future, she was lost. Her mother marrying a shrink and everyone urging Sylvie to just ‘get over it’ compounds her depression, a natural extension. The loss of dance, hot on the heels of losing her father is more than enough to send a girl into a tailspin. At her mother’s wedding reception, she chased a Vicodin with some champagne, drowning her sorrows and in one, quiet, unguarded moment, she lets herself feel all the pain, misery and loss wishing and hoping that a magical solution could repair what an accident of fate has torn in her.
Enthralled with the story of Sylvie Davis, the plantation of Bluestone Hill and Old Cahawba, I literally couldn’t stop thinking about the book. My own story began to stutter because images of kudzu, Gigi barking and even the smell of lilacs wafted to me from the book. I finally conceded to temptation, stopped fighting the magic and finished the book.
Rosemary Clement-Moore, your work astounds me! Every vivid description, every tense moment, every hand thrown up in frustration and at the heart of it, the history of both the land and the stones … I could go on and on and on. Marketed as young adult, The Splendor Falls is a suspenseful, rich gothic tale ---ageless as Pride and Prejudice and even more engaging. If you haven’t picked up The Splendor Falls, you really have no idea what you’re missing.
A Little History
In September, I met an author named Rosemary Clement-Moore. I picked up her first book Prom Dates from Hell and her most recent release. I devoured Prom Dates from Hell, laughing all the way through the book. The heroine’s plucky, snarky humor was laugh out loud funny even in the darker situations. I did not start The Splendor Falls right away. In fact, the first time I cracked open the book was last Saturday waiting to go to lunch with some friends before attending the Getting Fresh with Vampires panel. I made it about thirty pages before people started arriving, but that was just long enough for the siren to begin calling.
Have you read The Splendor Falls?