SEASON OF STORMS
by Susanna Kearsley
I don’t believe I’ve made any secret of my enthusiasm for Susanna Kearsley’s books. Years ago, I had a friend bring me one of her books from London, only to find out that her books weren’t available in the US, as frustrating a situation as finding out you can’t get Fortnum & Mason’s Queen Anne tea in this country any more. I still can’t get the tea, but at least her books can be bought here now! Season of Storms is something that Kearsley wrote twenty years ago, but only in the past few months, thanks to her US publisher, Sourcebooks, has it been available here. And because she chose not to update her older books, which she mentions in a foreword, there’s a faintly old-fashioned air to it, making it all the more Mary Stewart-ish. (In this book, email isn’t ubiquitous, so it is odd, but since the Italian countryside setting makes it all exotic and far, far away, it works. Think of how many times you’ve tried to use your cell and found out you had no reception, and that’s in an area with cell towers.)
Anyway, Kearsley’s newer books are more paranormal/historically based, while this is more romantic suspense, so yes, Stewart’s influence, as well as Daphne DuMaurier’s, is clear. In Season of Storms, a young actress gets the part of a lifetime as well as the trip of a lifetime, but quickly discovers that the play, referred to as the “unstageable play” (in contrast to Shakespeare’s “cursed play”), has a series of odd mysteries attendant. There’s a mysterious benefactor, characters with agendas of their own, etc. Like I said, both Stewart and DuMaurier are well-represented. I was particularly eager for this because I’d just spent a week rereading three books of Kearsley’s spanning a number of years both in book time and real time, with a character growing up from boyhood (Shadowy Horses) to hunky herohood (Firebird), with a stop in between (Winter Sea). This is heresy, but forget Outlander. This series made me want to see Scotland, and in particular Cruden Bay!
Same with Season of Storms. I always figured that the Italian countryside would be pretty, but I live in Washington state, so I’m used to pretty countryside outside the city. This made me want to see it. Curse you, Kearsley!
COMING UP: Oh, so many choices, so little time, and more!