Season of Storms
By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
In the early 1900s, in the elegant, isolated villa Il Piacere, the playwright Galeazzo D’Ascanio lived for Celia Sands. She was his muse and his mistress and the inspiration for his most stunning and original play. But the night before she was to take the stage in the leading role, Celia disappeared.
Now, decades later, in a theatre on the grounds of Il Piacere, Alessandro D’Ascanio is preparing to stage the first performance of his grandfather’s masterpiece. A promising young actress–who shares Celia Sands’ name, but not her blood–has agreed to star. She is instantly drawn to the mysteries surrounding the play–and to her compelling, compassionate employer.
And even though she knows she should let the past go, in the dark–in her dreams–it comes back.
I think I mentioned time and again on weekly TTT posts that I have a number of Susanna Kearsley books sittin on my TBR queue waiting to be read. I was actually introduced to her books years ago when I was gifted Mariana for my birthday (I’ve been meaning to go back and revisit the book for some time now). Anyway, I’ve finally decided to start reading one of the books on queue; I picked up this one from the group because it was one of two books that wasn’t in a book bundle, and the Italian setting definitely piqued my interest 😉
I couldn’t put this book down once I really got into the story, lol; spent most of an afternoon just reading it. The mystery about Celia Sands (the First, as she is referred to in the novel) was intriguing, but perhaps not so much as the group of characters that have come to Il Piacere to stage the unstageable play in the present time. They’re an interesting and complex bunch of people, even when some of them irritated me (namely the actor Nicholas) or left me flailing in a “please don’t end up together!” sort of way (I already had the rug pulled under me in Mariana and I thought she was going to do it again here 😛 ) but otherwise I really enjoyed the interactions and the nuances there. I thought Celia (the Second, our protagonist here) was a bit bland at times, but grew to love her over the course of the novel especially as she interacted with Bryan & Rupert, with Madeleine, with Poppy, etc.
I cannot tell you how much I love the setting, it really reminded me of Italy and how much I loved it there <3 I was only in Venice for a day but the information the characters gave as they went sightseeing really added to the story. They also travelled to one of the lakes near the Dolomites where I did not have a chance to visit (despite staying in Trentino Alge-Adige at the time) which sounded absolutely stunning 🙂 I also really enjoyed this book because of the theatrical elements. You may have noticed that I've been reading a ton of plays this year (see tag) so all the references to plays and the staging and the way the actors work through their characters was really interesting and really cool to read. I also enjoyed Celia’s little game of casting the people she meets as Shakespeare characters.
Overall I really enjoyed reading Season of Storms. The overlap between what happened in the early 1900s and the present storyline isn’t as prevalent as in Mariana or I suspect some of her other novels but the way the two stories connect and parallel each other was really interesting. But I greatly enjoyed the characters and their interactions and wondering who’s sincere and who has another agenda up their sleeve. The twists weren’t terribly out of the blue or anything but nonetheless a surprise. This book is worth checking out if you’re a reader of historical fiction or contemporary fiction with historical mysteries and/or elements of theatre 🙂