Author: Susanna Kearsley
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: A beautiful, atmospheric book with great characters, full of exciting romance and adventure.
Galeazzo D’Ascanio last play is known as his most brilliant, but it’s never been performed. Each attempt has been plagued by disaster, starting in the early 1900’s with the first performance when D’Ascanio’s muse and lover, Celia Sands, disappeared the night before she was to play the leading role. Decades later, a young actress named after Celia Sands is asked to take on the same role in the play being stated by D’Ascanio’s grandson. Both the mystery of the play and D’Ascanio’s handsome grandson intrigue Celia, but the relics of the play’s history may prove more dangerous than they first appear.
This is the first book I’ve read by Susanna Kearsley and it was everything I had hoped for. The dual narrative was very enjoyable. Although the focus was clearly on the story set in the present, I enjoyed reading about past events that had happened at each location. They added context to the present-day mystery and presented a bit of a mystery of their own. The descriptions of the Italian setting were beautiful. The location is very atmospheric and the hints of the supernatural added some spice to the story. I particularly liked learning a bit of Italian history and a bit about the process of putting on a play. Fiction that exposes me to different locations and or professions is something I always appreciate.
The plot pacing was spot on. Something exciting was always happening, whether mystery or romance. I also loved the characters. They all were really brought to life, with their own unique personalities and interests, and I enjoyed their interactions. I was very happy to see characters resolve their misunderstandings by talking about them, instead of acting on assumptions in frustrating ways. Celia was a wonderful main character. She struck the perfect balance between confidence and insecurity, making her very relatable. Her game of assigning people roles in Shakespeare plays also endeared her to me and helped illustrate the type of people the other characters were. If this story jumps out at you as your kind of story, as it did for me, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’d recommend it particularly to fans of Italian setting and stories with hints of the supernatural.
Do you sometimes pick up books because they just seem like something you’ll like? Or do you do some research and reading of reviews before you choose a book? Or some of both?