A mystery trapped in time…
In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D’Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.
Now, two generations later, Alessandro D’Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather’s masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands—at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D’Ascanio’s magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake’s disappearance—and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.
But the closer Celia gets to learn the first Celia’s fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back…
This is the first book I have read by Kearsley and I hear so much about her stories… When I first saw this book I was captivated by the cover and when I read the description I was even more drawn in….so my expectations were rather high.
First, I must say what a great plot and setting for a story! An isolated villa, mysterious happenings, Italy, playwrights, murder, and a hunting past that stays in the present. Themes of an enthralling read. So why wasn’t I hooked in as thought I would be? I felt some scenes were slow or not important to the story and I felt that some things weren’t fully drawn out as they should have been. And the plot took too long to fall into place, the character development could have been stronger in the beginning and middle. Alas, It got better towards the end.
I will say it was atmospheric and I love the descriptions of the villa’s surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the premise but this was an okay read for me.
However, I’m not giving up on the author’s books and I look forward to reading more of her stories soon.
I have rated this book three stars.
Stephanie M. Hopkins
Susanna Kearsley has become one of my all time favorite authors, and much of that I believe is due to the fact that the first two books I read of hers (The Shadowy Horses and The Firebird) were just phenomenal to me! After reading both of those I went out and bought all of her previous books, which isn’t something I would usually do. However I did then listen to the audio version of The Splendour Falls and wasn’t very impressed with that story. Since I loved the first two I will still read the rest and anticipate loving them, but I could see how hearing all the hype and then reading one that just didn’t live up to it could be a turn off. I recommend giving the two I mention a try as well as The Rose Garden and The Winter Sea as many people also seemed to love those two. Thanks for the review!
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I agree, S, having had many of the same reactions that you did.
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