I liked this book quite a bit, which isn't that much of a surprise, being that I've liked everything I've read by Susanna Kearsley. It did take me a while to get through this book, which was a bit frustrating. I think part of the reason it took me so long to read was because I started it right before school started up again, so I was busy finishing up my summer errands and getting ready to return to the classroom. Also, I felt like not a whole lot happened until about halfway through the book. I felt like I was still being introduced to the characters and setting and realized I was almost at 50%, according to my kindle.
However, I did still enjoy the book, not everything needs to be a fast paced, can't-finish-quick-enough, thriller.
As is often the case with Kearsley's books, the setting is described beautifully. This book takes place at a villa in Italy with a lot of history and ghosts lingering on the villa's grounds. There are quite a few interesting characters inhabiting these grounds.
Alex, the owner of the villa has decided to stage a play - one written by his grandfather many years earlier. The play was never performed because the woman for which it was written - his grandfather's lover - died before the play opened.
Celia Sands, a young actress from London, has been offered the starring role, and just so happens to have the same name - though no relation - to the original actress cast for the part, many years earlier.
Rupert, the man who raised her is directing the play, and looking forward to spending time with Celia and directing her in her first starring role. However, he seems a bit annoyed with the choice of stage manager, which is confusing to Celia as she tries to figure out what kind of history the two men have.
Then there's Madeline, an older actress, with whom Celia has a vague connection, clouded with her own guilt over what she feels was her role in breaking up Madeline's marriage.
Those are just a few of the characters. There are plenty of others to round out the story, but no need give it all away in this review. The mix of these people all in one place, working together to put on this "impossible" play makes for a very engaging story. Maybe I took so long to read the book because I liked being around the characters and felt no rush to get away from them.
I was also pleasantly surprised that I was wrong in thinking I already knew what one of the big secrets was. At one point, it seemed obvious to me, only later to discover that wasn't the case at all. I like it when the mysteries are not obvious.
Anyway, I enjoyed this book. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Kearsley's other books, enjoys a well written story with a bit of history, a touch of supernatural elements and some romance.
I received a copy of this via NetGalley.