Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks Landmark (Reissue) September 2014
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for this review
Burton Book Review Rating:
A mystery trapped in time..
In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.
Now, two generations later, Alessandro D'Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands-at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.
But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia's fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...
When I received this book in summer of 2014 I was extremely excited to read another novel by Susanna Kearsley. I had really enjoyed the few that I read in recent years which were reprinted via Sourcebooks Landmark. Her novels have hints of Rebecca DuMaurier tones set in contemporary settings which always intrigues this stuck in historical fiction reader.
This particular novel involves the theater, Italy, and a possible ghost of an actress from many years ago who bears the same name of our contemporary first person character. Celia Sands' character is easy enough to like, but during the entire novel I wished I knew what she looked like and I wished I felt like I cared more about what happened to her. Celia had a big hang up about her famous mother, and she was raised by two gay men which made for an endearing backdrop to the character, but that was almost all we get out of the characterization of our main protagonist. At twenty-two she gets a chance to go to Italy to act in a play written for her namesake. Celia slowly -- very slowly-- develops friendships and relationships with the other actors while hints of treachery and ghosts flit in and out of the story line.
I first attempted to read the novel the moment I received it, but I got bored so much that I had to put it down a few weeks later. I tried again five months later and hard to restart from the beginning. It was still a struggle to really want to read the novel, but I persevered. It took quite a while to get going, though I'm not really sure the plot line did get going. If you haven't read any of Kearsley's novels before, don't start with this one. I would definitely recommend any of these others that I have reviewed previously here at Burton Book Review:
The Splendour Falls
The Shadowy Horses