Emily Braden couldn't resist the invitation to join her charming but unreliable cousin, Harry, on a visit to the town of Chinon—where, according to legend, Queen Isabelle hid her treasured jewels during a seige in the 13th century. But when Harry vanishes and Emily begins to search for him, she uncovers the mystery of a different Isabelle. A mystery that dates back to the German occupation during the Second World War. As Emily explores the city, with its labyrinthine tunnels and ancient history, she's drawn ever closer to the mysterious Isabelles and their long-kept secrets.
Comment: So far, the books by Susanna Kearsley have been very interesting. She has a way of writing that is very appealing to me.
This is the 4th book by her I read. So far all the books follow a certain idea, there’s a story happening and there’s also a subtle paranormal element in, like the veracity of reincarnation or a medium or even the memories of past lives. In this one, things are way subtler.
This book presents us Emily. She is invited by her wild cousin to visit the place where King John and his wife lived in France. She is in need of a vacation and she enjoys that moment of history so she accepts. Of course, her cousin isn’t waiting for her as promised but she doesn’t find it strange because it’s his usual behavior, to do as he pleases. She checks in to the hotel and decides to wait for him. In there she meets a cast of characters that intrigue her and that bring her up to date to the conversations and new friendships, even an unwanted attraction from her part.
I liked how the author has created this story. As usual, things are inserted slowly, the action doesn’t rush and we even have a hint of romance. This story, however, is different from the others because is focuses more in the current mystery than in the happenings from old times. It’s a bit more like suspense than a contemporary. I liked it, because after two books very similar (Mariana and Sophia’s Secret), this was quite the fresh surprise.
Like usual, the characters offer many different takes on behavior. I was very glad to see so many personalities at the hotel, the loud American woman, the apparently quiet subservient husband, the funny guy, the serious melancholic one, the friendly waiter, the strange neighbor, and so on. The author has put into action so many different people to interact and build up an interesting story that, I have to be honest, surprised and intrigued much more than what I imagined.
The action moved along a way I wasn’t expecting. A thing or two happened I was really surprised to see happening. So, this story felt quite strong for me because it seemed apparent, considering her other books, the pace would be sedate, simple, peaceful…and this book had some scenes where things were much unexpected. The mystery wasn’t the most fanciful I ever read, but it suited this story very well.
In the end, we even have a surprise or two, concerning the action. This added up to the characters’ feel, I mean, we have our doubts about who might have done this or that but overall, I think the author has done a great job mixing things and making them interesting. Her talent shows, for sure.
What I think she could do better and something I find faulty in almost every book (in three of the four I’ve read), is her exaggeration in the subtlety of romance. We know it will happen and that the main character in the end will have an HEA somehow, but, came on, she could be a bit more obvious about it without ruining the story or the flow of it. In this book in particular, she could have done more, because if felt rushed at the very end and I wish we could’ve gotten more scenes with them, and even more so, more scenes where we could actually “see” their feelings more, instead of just knowing they might have it because it’s where it leads to.
Anyway, this didn’t spoil the book for me, and in the end I had a great time reading it and getting to meet everyone and everything. Great book, overall.