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3.9 out of 5 stars35
3.9 out of 5 stars
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A young actress travels to a villa high above Lake Garda in Italy to take the lead role in a play that was written for her name sake. Previous attempts to stage the play have failed miserably earning it a reputation like the
Scottish play of William Shakespere.
Many Dangerous situations lead up to the opening night, with more than a few surprizes along the way.
Fans of MS Kearsley will find this novel somewhat less " spooky and ghostly " than her previous books but none the less enjoyable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2010
Firstly I have to say although I really enjoyed this book, it wasn't my favourite of her works. It's difficult to compare this one to Sophia's Secret and Mariana as they were absolutely outstanding but that still dosen't mean that that this is still an excellent book. It took the first few chapters to get into but it was really worth it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is the first book by Kearsley that I have read so I cannot compare SAESON OF STORMS to her other works. What tempted me to pick it up was the theatrical element of the story along with a hint of the past haunting the main character through dreams. However, although I began by enjoying the story's slow unwinding, I quickly found myself becoming bored.

The basis of the plot is that the main character, Celia Sands, is a young actress who shares her name with an infamous actress from the early 1900s who disappeared the night before she stared in a play by playwright Galeazzo D'Ascanio. When Celia is asked to star as the lead in a new staging of the famously doomed play, she travels to Italy in which to do so. And, far from being the past, the events of the original Celia Sands begins to haunt her.

OK, sounds great. The problem with this book is the pace - it is incredibly slow. Kearsley takes a long time describing every little detail. This results in very little actually happening for quite a while. I am normally a fast reader but I was trudging through this - a few times I stopped after only a short time but then decided to pick it up again and trudge on some more.
Although I can see that some will relish the attention to detail, for me it was too much. Rather than the slow amble towards the heart of the story, I would have preferred there to be a bit more of a storm to drive me on with my reading.

I may look at some of her other pieces of work, but unfortunately this one I cannot recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2014
I bought this book because of the promising description and because other books I have read by the same author were entertaining, rather light though nicely written reads for moments of leisure. The author herself states in her acknowledgements that the novel, a work of fiction, was written in homage to the great Italian poet, Gabriele D'Annunzio. So I expected a pleasurable but somewhat more taxing book this time, with a setting rather closer in spirit to D'Annunzio's celebrated retreat on Lake Garda and a vivid, more eccentric atmosphere, with well-rounded characters to match. Alas, the characters were little more than stereotypes, the story motifs ordinary, the pace snail-like and the atmosphere limp, damp, and off-putting. Not to mention that what there is of Italy and the Italians is seen through rose or blue-tinted glasses, according to the moment, and has little to do with Italy as a real country and its inhabitants as real persons. A struggle to read.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2012
This is the last of Ms Kearsley's novels that I have recently read and though I enjoyed it, I found it very slow and the least enjoyable of her collection. If you are just starting her novels, then this would probably be the best one to begin with as her others are much more accomplished. It is a light read, very slow to get into and for me, the story didn't quite take off until the final few chapters. Saying that, her descriptive prose is superb and her storylines never fail to capture the readers interest but sadly, I was quite glad to reach the end and it is not one which I would read again. Please do not be put off by this! Her following books are a delight and many I would recommend, especially Marianna and The Winter Sea which were divine. She is a superb storyteller and I am looking forward to the release of her new novel next year.
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on 24 September 2015
Ms Kearsley has a gift for creating characters that are likeable, even lovable. However, there was so much potential in this book that was never realised.

For one thing, I hated that the main villains got away. For another, there was so much hinting around the missing/murdered Celia#1 - and then when we find out what happened to her and where she was buried, Celia#2 ends up in the crypt and there I am thinking - finally, at last she'll find the body and we'll have a kind of delayed justice. But oh no, she doesn't. There's just a lot of dull cloak and dagger stuff about stolen relics (boring) and poor Celia #1 gets forgotten. What a let down!

Indeed, that was one of the book's major flaws - a continual build-up that promised great action, and then...nothing. It was very frustrating.

The old lady (one of my favourite characters) infers she knows what happened, but because of protecting the family name, won't/doesn't pursue it. I thought - surely Alex would be more interested in seeing justice done, albeit delayed and knowing the truth, rather then perpetuating a great big cover up. He's quite the gentleman. And anyway, we all know scandal can be a greater crowd puller. That beautiful Italian property would have exerted a greater pull on the tourists with a scandalous back story like that. I really think our author missed a trick there. I felt the same way at the end of The Lovely Bones - body never found. No closure. I felt a similar sense of being let down and wasting time I can never get back.

Talking of Alex, he didn't seem quite real. He had a mystique about him and was away so often that we heard more about his dogs than him! Descriptions of gardens and decor and landscapes were written in excrutiating detail. To be fair such a device does enhance that immersive sensation when reading a book, but it can be overdone, as it was here. Surely her editor could have done some judicious pruing. It would have been a better book for it.

There is a nice reveal at the end, surprisingly moving actually, but it was too little too late for me.

Ordinarily I'd give it two stars, but because she writes with such warmth and vividness, I'll give it three.

Ultimately, our author does create characters you root for and care for and has a fab imagination, but I liked Rose Garden better. Will push on and try some of her others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2012
Susanna Kearsley is one of my favourite authors because I find her 'time slips' fascinating and well-managed, but this simply did not happen in this book in spite of hints that it would, in the advertising blurbs. It was a good story, well-written, but that little speciality of hers, which makes her different, was not there. Also, the plan of the house was far to complicated and is it really possible to have so many rooms without windows? Even so, I read it in three days over the Christmas holiday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
I struggled to finish this book in the hope it would improve, but it did'nt! The plot was totally unbelievable and half the characters were surplus to requirements. The "leading lady" aged twenty two, behaved like a twelve year old wimpish, victorian miss, I think she clung to every standing male available. The endless descriptions were simply boring and I truly can't think of anyone I would recommend this book to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2010
This book, although predictable in some respects, was enjoyable as it incorporated, drama, romance and paranormal activity. Like all of this author's books it is well written and if at times I got a bit fed up with the heroine's helplessness and propensity to seek out what to my mind as the reader, was certain and fulhardy danger, this did not detract from a good read.
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