TITLE: Season of Storms
AUTHOR: Susanna Kearsley
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Allison & Busby LTD/2001
SOURCE: Local Library
Goodreads / Author's Website
Guys, I love Susanna Kearsley. I do. Love. It's like her books have this pull over me and I have to read them all and I get sucked along this whirlwind ride. That's why I picked up Season of Storms when I saw it at my library despite having a pile of books I need to get through. Unfortunately, this particular novel didn't grab me the way Kearsley's books normally do.
Season of Storms follows burgeoning actress Celia Sands as she takes on her first major role. In the early twentieth century, playwright Galeazzo D'Ascanio takes on the original actress, Celia Sands, as his mistress. He adores her. He writes a play for her. Of course, the play has a curse that puts Mackers to shame, it's unstageable. Enter Celia Sands the second and a troop of theatre people that go to D'Ascanio's Italian villa to put on this play. There's romance, there's mystery (whatever did happen to Celia the First), what's not to love?
As it turns out, quite a bit. Full disclosure, you all know how obsessed I am with theatre. It's my livelihood, my life's passion etc. etc. I'm a littttllle bit picky about how it's portrayed in books, on t.v., in movies, in theatre about theatre. Basically, if it's too inaccurate it drives me up the wall. This book drove me up the wall. Okay, so Celia is a great character. She's down to earth, she thinks through her actions, she's got a few insecurities and complexes, but she's relatable. She's supposed to be an actress. Don't get me wrong, actors are great people. I love them to death. Down to earth they are not; I mean really, anybody in the theatre has a to be a little bit crazy, you work long hours for no money. Celia on the other hand is just so normal. I think the part that made me step back was when she didn't join the others for post rehearsal drinks, not even once. I have never in my career seen that happen.
The stage manager also drove me batty. He was flirtatious and indiscreet. He lied about having the floor plans. He asked the director to get him a cup of coffee. Seriously? The stage manager just wouldn't! The stage manager is the calming force in the theatre; s/he stays calm in the face of adversity and yes, stage managers do make coffee. That was lesson number on at school. It was just an inappropriate portrayal of what a stage manager does.
Other than that, I had some issues with the book itself. There are these flashbacks to Celia the First, but I'm not really sure why they were there. Sure the reader gets a look into the past and what led to the the first incarnation of this play never opening, but I'm not sure what the point of it all was. It doesn't give us any insight into the characters that we actually care about.
I usually love Kearsley's blend of romance, mystery and the paranormal, but this time it didn't really pan out. The paranormal aspect came out to play in a few sections, but it didn't have a huge impact on the plot or its outcome. I would have loved to see a little more of it or at least for the characters to interact more with the paranormal happenings in their lives. As it was I found myself thinking, this is an unnecessary waste of pages. This was definitely more a romance than anything else. The mystery wasn't that mysterious, nor intriguing and like I said, the paranormal was pretty useless.
I hate to say that I didn't love this book, but I didn't. I love so many of her other books though, so if you're looking for a good romance with a paranormal/historical twist try Mariana or even the more mystery bent Every Secret Thing (my personal favourite).