Season of Storms
In the early years of the 20th century, the famous playwright Galeazzo D’Ascanio falls in love with an actress named Celia Sands and writes a play, a masterpiece, for her to star in. Before opening night Celia has vanished and the production is abandoned, the play left unperformed and unlucky. Now, many years later, another Celia Sands – this one a struggling actress – is offered the part by Galeazzo’s grandson, Alessandro. Reluctantly she agrees and travels to Italy, to the villa Il Piacere, where the play will be staged. At first, the mystery surrounding the first Celia intrigues her, but then events at the villa begin to unnerve everyone as first two members of staff go missing, workmen make threats, and valuable objects disappear. A séance just adds to the general feeling of mistrust and apprehension surrounding the cast. Celia’s instincts are blurred and her ever-increasing attraction to her host muddies the waters still further, until it is her own life that is at stake.
Season of Storms weaves together the story of the two Celias, with the majority of the emphasis placed on modern-day Celia, interspersed with brief passages concerning the original. That aside, the whole of the novel is informed by the early story and the contemporary action is often overshadowed by events from the past. There is also a strong mystical element to the action, where dreams, visions and foreshadowings combine to eerie effect.
Perhaps it is at times a little slow moving, but this is a novel that can afford to take its time and is never dull. Although this is more suspense than romance, it should appeal to readers of both genres as a really well-crafted piece of fiction.
493 (UK), 512 (US)