SEASON OF STORMS, by Susanna Kearsley

An enormous villa perched among aristocratic gardens high above Lago del Garda, Italy. A creative, mysterious, long-dead owner, who was a womanizer, a poet and a playwright. The legacy of an actress who mysteriously vanished from the villa, her room now reputed to be haunted. Now, Celia Sands, 22, uses another name than her grandmother's for her own acting career. Agreeing to go to Italy, to re-enact on site the play specifically written for her grandmother, in the theater built for her by her lover, Celia finds not only her grandmother's pictures everywhere, but the handsome, mysterious grandson of the long-ago playwright/lover. Click below for more...
The cast is assembled; rehearsals are underway; the glamorous chair of the historical trust which has been given the magnificent property arrives to sow discord. Kearsley's usual strongly-constructed plot with the historical back-and-forth that was in, for instance, Firebird, is missing. We do have flashbacks to the long-ago lovers, but they are weak. The plot, in the guise of six plus weeks of rehearsal, is long and drawn-out. The last portion of the novel, more quickly paced, tying up the mystery and the relationships, simply doesn't justify the first three-quarters. Although presented as a gothic mystery, for me, I'm sorry to say it's a 3.5, much below her earlier works. But if you are a lover of Italy, and the stage, this could be the book for you.
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