From Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
“It isn’t me he wants, it’s just the name,” I said to Robert.
We’d stopped walking now to stand beneath the central southern window that was glowing with that softly golden light that seems to seek out empty churches in the quiet early evening. I had to tilt my head a long way back to read the lettering cut in the marble stone above. And though I’d read it countless times before, it still felt strange to see my own name spelt there: Celia Sands.
Rupert, at my shoulder, gave a cough that stirred my hair, and from the angle of the sound I knew that he was looking up as well. “Perhaps,” he said, his quiet voice not echoing as mine had in the soaring space. His tone was noncom¬mittal. Rupert rarely offered an opinion. I’d always found that maddening, especially when as a child I’d wanted his advice, but it was one of those small things that made him such a good director, his ability to let a thing develop, not to interfere.
That said, I didn’t think it wholly accidental that he’d wanted me to meet him here, at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden.
This was the “actor’s church,” a landmark of the theatre district, the names on its marble memorials reading like some sort of heavenly cast list: Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Edith Evans, Sir Noël Coward…all properly humbling to someone like me, who had only just cracked the West End, and that in a role with ten minutes onstage and three lines, barely noticed by anyone.
“I don’t know, Roo.” I exhaled a breath that fell short of a sigh and looked down again, turning away from the memorial stone. “I don’t know that I’d feel quite comfort¬able taking a role like this.”
“Why not?” His question made no judgment.
“Well, for one thing, I haven’t auditioned. He’s never even seen me act. He’d never have known I existed if you hadn’t told him.” There was an accusation in my tone, and he responded with a calm defense.
“You only came up in conversation because—”
“Because of my name. I know.”
Silence for a minute, as both of us looked up again at the marble memorial stone. Rupert coughed.
“He does have my word for your abilities.”
“Yes, well.” I glanced back, slanting him a smile. “You are a little biased, don’t you think? And anyhow, that’s just what I’ve been saying—I don’t want to get a part because of who I know, or whose daughter I am, or whose name I happen to have. Besides,” I said, “I’m building a career as Celia Sullivan, I can’t just throw that all away, not now. And if I do this play as Celia Sands, I might as well forget about my stage name, because everyone else will—it’s going to get attention, this play, because of what it is, and where it’s being done. If I do it, I’ll be Celia Sands for the rest of my life.”
“You have to do what you think best, of course.” Glancing down at his watch, he said, “Come on, time we were going. I told Bryan we’d meet him at the club at seven sharp, and it doesn’t do to leave him sitting too long in the bar.”
“You think I should take the part.”
“I haven’t said anything.”
“But you think I should take it.”
He smiled, not replying; turned and, hands in pockets, led me back along the peaceful dimness of the aisle towards the door, while from the shadows in the corners all the actors who still haunted St. Paul’s Church appeared to watch and wait, as I did, for his answer.
Pub Date: September 2, 2014 | Sourcebooks Landmark | eBook, Paperback
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 learning 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…
Season of Storms just received a STARRED review from Booklist:
“Kearsley seems to be channeling Mary Stewart or Victoria Holt in this mesmerizing modern gothic.”—Booklist, starred review
About the AuthorNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is known for her meticulous research and exotic settings from Russia to Italy to Cornwall, which not only entertain her readers but give her a great reason to travel. Her lush writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. She hit the bestseller lists in the U.S. with The Winter Sea and The Rose Garden, both RITA finalists and winners of RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Other honors include finaling for the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award, National Readers’ Choice Awards, and the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize. Her popular and critically-acclaimed books are available in translation in more than 20 countries and as audio books. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario.
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