Top critical review
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COMES UP A BIT DRY...
on 31 May 2003
This is a somewhat tepid book by this award winning author. Perhaps because her other novels are so terrific, this one pales in comparison. While well written, it moves along at a ponderous pace, a lull before the storm that never quite arrives.
The author weaves two stories in one. One is about a turn of the century actress, Celia Sands, who mysteriously disappeared, during a torrid affair with her wealthy, married Italian lover, who wrote a play for her. She never had an opportunity to perform the leading role in her lover's masterpiece, however, due to her untimely disappearance. The main story line is about a present day actress of the same name, though no relation, who is called upon to play the role the first Celia Sands was unable to play.
For this role, Ms. Sands is brought to a villa in Italy, which was once the home of the playwright and now belongs to his grandson, Alex. While there, Celia realizes that there are some strange goings on, but does not know why. All soon becomes clear, though it takes many pages for everything to fall into place. There is really nothing too mysterious in this mildly suspenseful novel.
Those who have read the author's other novels may be mildly disappointed. Newcomers to this author may enjoy it more. Nonetheless, it is still a well written, though somewhat tepid and belabored, novel.