When Emily arrives in Chinon, she immediately makes friends and begins exploring the beautiful setting. Paul and Simon are delightful characters, brothers who quickly pull Emily into their fold. Both lured by the fascination of the history of the area and the possibility of hidden treasure. As Emily begins to notice that things aren't quite right, Paul is eager to help and becomes her trusted sidekick. These were my two favorite characters in the story. They became like family. The other characters were interesting, but just not as engaging. I'm not sure if there were just too many characters or if each one just wasn't developed enough, but these were the two that really stood out to me as I was reading.
The plot had so much potential but I found that it was missing something. All of Kearsley's books have been completely engaging to me but I found myself skimming through parts of this one. There seemed to be a level of detail that just wasn't there. I wanted to be completely pulled into the story and I just wasn't. The connection just wasn't there. There were two potential romances but neither really developed. The story included a bit of mystery but it didn't feel mysterious to me, if that makes sense. I just felt that the story could have been so much more than it was so I must admit, I was a bit disappointed in this one. It wasn't bad, don't get me wrong, but when comparing it to her other books, it just isn't at the same level.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't pick it up, but my recommendation is this... If you want to try a Susanna Kearsley book, grab The Winter Sea, Shadowy Horses, or The Rose Garden. These books represent the author at her best and are all fantastic reads.