VINTAGE BOOK REVIEW: Season of Storm by Susannah Kearsley

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

When Celia Sands arrives at a remote Italian villa to star in the first performance of a deceased playwright's masterpiece, she is instantly drawn to the mysteries surrounding the play -- and to her compelling, compassionate employer.

My Thoughts:

This is my sixth novel by Susannah Kearsley, who writes gentle romantic suspense novels that move back and forth between contemporary and historical times. As you all know, I love a good parallel narrative, particularly if it also has a bit of love and danger thrown into the mix. Add a touch of magic, as Susannah Kearsley often does, and I’m a happy camper.


Season of Storms is not her strongest novel. It hasn't challenged The Rose Garden or A Desperate Fortune or Mariana for top-ranking in my affections. However, it is still a very pleasurable and relaxing read, and of course I loved the setting on Lake Garda in Italy (I’ve spent quite a lot of time at Lake Garda, which is one of the key settings for my novel Bitter Greens).

The story centres on a young actress named Celia Sands who travels to a villa in Italy to star in the first-ever production of a play written by a now-dead playwright. He wrote the play for his lover – an actress also named Celia Sands – but after her disappearance, the play was never performed. The villa is populated by various intriguing characters – a conniving Italian seductress, a flirtatious theatrical producer, a kind but ageing actress, her much younger stud boyfriend, a menacing workman, and – of course – the handsome but inscrutable young owner of the villa. There are also a few rambunctious dogs, which always improves a story, I find.


There is also – maybe – a ghost.


The story contains no surprises whatsoever, but that did not trouble me in the slightest. It’s the kind of warm comfortable read that goes with trackies and slippers and a steaming cup of tea, while rain pelts down outside and you sneak the fire on, even though it’s probably not that cold. Susannah Kearsley is an elegant and intelligent writer, and there’s just enough intrigue to keep me interested without disturbing my pulse rate. And I’ll continue stockpiling her books, in preparation for another rainy miserable day just made for curling up in front of the fire with a cuppa.

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Kate Forsyth
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