Thursday, June 11, 2009
Review: Season of Storms, by Susanna Kearsley
Reviewers have likened Susanna Kearsley's mysterious, suspenseful novels to those of Barbara Michaels and Mary Stewart and praised her "original and colorful" characters and "brilliantly managed" plots (The Denver Post). Her newest tale, Season of Storms, evokes the majesty and mystery of the Italian Lake District... In the early 1900s, in an elegant, isolated villa called Il Piacere, the playwright Galeazzo D'Ascanio lived for Celia Sands. She was his muse and his mistress, his most enduring obsession. She was the inspiration for his most stunning, original play. But the night before she was to take the stage in the leading role, she disappeared. Now, 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's 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 read this book while I had a bad cold and needed a good, comforting read to carry me over. Season of Storms was just the kind of book that got me through that. The historical element of this book is not as strong as in, say Mariana or Sophia’s Secret, and the “mystery” that takes place in the past is a little predictable, but the modern-day story more than made up for that. There’s a mystery and some ghosts in the modern-day story, and I really enjoyed the suspense and the hint of something supernatural that seems to haunt the second Celia. The characters of this book are also well-formed and fully realized, although the second Celia seemed a lot older than her twenty-two years sometimes.
I was also fully able to appreciate the setting of this novel, too—I went to Italy in 2004, and one of the places I visited was Lake Garda and the town of Sirmione. Both are just as beautiful in real life as they’re described in this novel.