Season of Storms, by Susanna Kearsley

>> Thursday, April 10, 2003

After reading The Shadowy Horses, I just had to read Susanna Kearsley's other books. Most of her backlist is very hard to find and quite expensive, but there were two which were just barely affordable to me: Named of the Dragon and Season of Storms, the latter of which I read this past weekend.

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.
This was an A for me. Why an A? After all, I freely admit it had some flaws: for instance, the anticlimatic ending, the clichéd evil other woman (this is so overused, maybe we should have an acronym for it? The EOW sounds appropriate)... But, I grade books for my enjoyment of them. This is not some objective evaluation, but a description of how I feel about a certain book. And, I enjoyed this very, very much. I, someone who reads at a speed of 100 pages an hour and usually finishes normal-sized books in 3 or 4 hours, well, I spent the whole weekend reading this one. Literally: I started Saturday morning, on the bus to Punta del Este and finished it early Monday morning, before heading back to Montevideo. This wasn't because it was difficult to read, not at all; I paced myself, trying to read as slowly as possible, in order to make it last. It feels like I spent the whole weekend wallowing in Kearsley's prose, and I had a wonderful time :-D

A huge part of my enjoyment came from the beatifully done setting. There's something I read in one of the review sites, but I can't find right now: "Known for her background descriptions that feel like panoramic murals that enhance her starring charcaters, Susanna Kearsley paints a multi-layered vista." Oh yes, absolutely! I felt like I'd seen Venice, walked on the Piazza San Marco with Celia and Roo and Den, been with them to the basilica. And the house, Il Piacere, it feels like I've been there. The map even, something that usually confuses me, was a big help and very useful, especially because it fit Kearsley's descriptions to a T. After all this, I'd probably be able to find my way inside that house better than Celia.

Celia was a great protagonist, someone you could root for. Very well-drawn and very human, and genuinely nice. Her issues, too, were portrayed realistically. Alex, meanwhile, was the quintessential gothic hero, quiet and mysterious, though a bit more beta than the usual one. I wanted more of him, but what we saw through Celia's eyes was enough to convince me they were right for each other. His touch of jealousy of Den was a nice touch.

Actually, the whole cast of characters was incredible. Madeleine, who could have been a bitch but was a great lady, and her relationship with Den; Poppy, and her "crush" on Celia; the egocentric Nicholas; flirty Den; and most especially, Roo and Bryan, with their beatiful relationship, both their love for each other and for Celia.

I found the whole business about staging a play fascinating. Kearsley used exactly the right amount of detail of the subject.

The weakest part of the book was the suspense subplot, with the thievery ring. Not too interesting, but it wasn't too much of a big part of the plot.

I'm saving Named of the Dragon for my trip to Paraguay next Saturday (20 hours by bus, I'll need this!)

Post a Comment

Blog template by

Back to TOP