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GIVEAWAY & Exclusive Excerpt: Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

SeasonofStorms_PRIn 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…


New 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.

Excerpt from Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley

Bryan was waiting for us now beside the bar, with his back to the elegant windows whose curtains had not yet been drawn against the waning evening light. From the level of Scotch in his glass I could tell that he’d been here a while, which meant that we were late, since Bryan was always dead on time.

The Scotch had strengthened his Aussie drawl. “We did say seven,” he reminded Rupert, leaning round to kiss my cheek. “Happy birthday, Angel.”

“Thanks.” I kissed him back. “It’s my fault, really—”

“We were over to St. Paul’s Church,” said Rupert. Greeting the barman, he ordered a Scotch for himself. “And what will you have, Celia? Sherry? Right. And a glass of the Amontillado, please.”

“And what were you doing,” asked Bryan, “at St. Paul’s?” But he knew. I could tell from the smile at the edge of his eyes. Bryan had marvelous eyes—they could speak in a silence.

He was older than Rupert by several years, but seemed younger for some reason, maybe because he was more ener­getic, less languid, more given to moods. His face, too, was sharper in outline, expressive, with that prominent jaw and cleft chin that seemed somehow reserved for Australians. His skin, after twenty-odd years in our pallid weather, still bore the marks of a youth spent in subequatorial sunshine, creased deeply round his eyes and mouth to reveal the way he smiled. He’d looked the same for as long as I could remember—restless activity kept him from ageing. His golden hair had only just started to show at the temples the grey that had long ago sneaked into Rupert’s.

Since childhood I had played a secret game of giving roles from Shakespeare’s plays to the people around me. Bryan I had cast as Romeo and Juliet ’s Mercutio, witty and clever and swaggering around with a sword in his hand, whereas Rupert was more of a Brutus from Julius Caesar, reflective and careful. They balanced each other, like all well-matched couples.

They’d met quite by chance in the year of my birth, on a lazy hot Sunday in St. James’s Park. Bryan had still had his dog then—a lurcher named Oscar—who’d taken a liking to Rupert in passing and bounced him clean over. “And that,” Bryan told me, “was that.”

In the theatrical world, where people changed partners the way they changed socks, Bryan and Roo were a rarity. Bryan and Roo—I always thought of them like that, like bookends, each one incomplete without the other. Theirs was the only truly stable relationship I’d ever observed. It helped, I think, that Bryan was not theatrical. He worked in R and D for a pharmaceuticals firm, probably the furthest thing from Rupert’s world and mine one could imagine. Having lived for years at a microscopic level, he saw things with precision.

“You’ve had your letter, then,” he said, “from Italy.”

“How did you know about that?”

He shrugged. “Roo told me it was coming. And you have that look you get when you’re trying to make up your mind about something. You haven’t decided?”

“Not yet, no.”

Picking up his glass again he nodded understanding. “It’ll be the name thing. If you want my opinion—”

Rupert interrupted. “We’ll just let her make her own decision, shall we?” Passing me my sherry, he said, “Now then, do you want your presents now, or after dinner?”

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sally W.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:48:01

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  2. Jen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:48:53

    Our Town. For some reason, I love it.

  3. KellyM
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:06:57

    I second A Midsummer Night’s Dream. :-)

  4. Fiordiligii
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:12:48

    Yeah, this author has been on of my favourites for years. LUV LUV LUV Marianna!

  5. Amy R
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:22:33

    I’ve only ever seen musicals live so I’m going with The Phantom of the Opera.

  6. susan
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:50:41

    Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, although Midsummer Night’s Dream is a close second.

  7. Kim
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:51:45

    Wicked was very good.

  8. Kelley
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:53:16

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

  9. blodeuedd
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:53:51

    I have not seen many plays :/ But I do remember this adaptation of a Swedish kid’s book the best. It was fantastical

  10. Rebe
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:53:53

    I’ve always loved Much Ado About Nothing, but Hamlet is a close second.

  11. Lesley
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 10:59:15

    Urinetown, as performed last year at my son’s high school- fantastic!

  12. Samantha
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:02:24

    It’s such a tough call, but I think I’m going to have to go with Much Ado About Nothing. Love the banter between Beatrice and Benedick.

  13. Zoebro
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:12:22

    Hmm, my favorite play…An Ideal Husband, I think! But if musicals count, then it’s The Producers. :-D

  14. hapax
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:12:38

    Tough call. I’d say The Importance of Being Earnest.

  15. msilk
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:19:35

    When done well, Beauty & The Beast.

  16. Michelle
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:21:17

    Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap.

  17. Megan S.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:39:04

    Shakespeare’s King Lear.

  18. Heather
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:41:40

    I love Les Miserables. I know it’s really a musical, but I love it.

  19. Holly
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:42:14


  20. azteclady
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:42:58

    My favorite play? Well, I have plenty of favorites, but when it comes to murder stories, The Mousetrap has to be it.

  21. Deanndra Macomber
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:44:47

    It’s already been said, but Midsummer’s Night Dream is also mine.

  22. Jennifer Jensen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:45:02

    I love Susan’s books, can’t wait for this one!

  23. Jennifer Jensen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:46:02

    My favorite play though is Rent.. ok more of a musical :)

  24. Cristyn
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:47:58

    Not a whole of plays…..mostly Musicals. Gosh….so many! Phantom, Wicked, Miss Saigon…..don’t think I can just pick one!

  25. Emily Tower
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:50:06

    Would Spamalot count as a play?

  26. Jules
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:52:57

    I’d have to go with Flowers for Algernon. That play is just heartbreaking and good. If we are going classic Shakespeare, I’d go Macbeth or Much Ado About Nothing.

  27. Nikki
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:53:14

    Hamlet :)

  28. Nancy
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:55:14

    I can’t decide between Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, and Oleanna by David Mamet. All three are dark and twisted with a man and a woman at the heart of the plot.

  29. Britnee R
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:55:17

    Phantom of the Opera. Or Wicked I love that one too.

  30. Rebecca
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 11:57:59

    The Sound of Music!! (That’s considered a play, right?) ;)

  31. Krista
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:00:46

    Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde are definitely hard to beat…but I saw a revival of “Kiss Me Kate” that had me weeping with laughter. Also love “Or,” about England’s first female playwright, Aphra Behn. So much good live theatre!

  32. Neisha
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:04:20

    hmmm…there are a lot of them…Les Miz, Phantom…Fiddler on the Roof

  33. Bridget Phillips
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:10:43

    My favorite play would have to be Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.

  34. Pamela
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:10:47

    Love Susanna Kearsley and can’t wait to read Season of Storms!

  35. Suz_Glo
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:11:28

    “The Taming of the Shrew”

  36. Donna M.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:11:42

    I would say Hamlet by Shakespeare. I still remember the quotes from high school. :-)

  37. Pamela
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:12:03

    Romeo and Juliet.

  38. Kathleen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:12:52

    If musicals count, then WICKED! If not, then perhaps IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST?

  39. Ali
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:14:38

    fav play would be “And then there were none”

    Susanna is amazing – I”ve read this one, but of course with the new pretty cover, I will need this.

  40. Christine
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:16:31

    Miss Saigon or Rent.

  41. Michelle J
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:25:17

    Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera, and The King and I–too difficult to choose just one.

  42. Jenn
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:28:06

    Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

  43. Laurice McClung
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:33:20

    Death of a Salesman

  44. Turophile
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:39:36

    I’m such a musical person, not a play person. I like plays but don’t have a favorite. (Favorite musical = Les Mis)

  45. Ronalie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:40:37

    So many memorable plays. Always love Beauty and the Beast!

  46. Johnell Costa
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:51:36

    Fiddler On The Roof. My very first play, my Mom took my Sister & I to San Francisco to see.

  47. Julie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 12:52:02

    Waiting for Godot, or Wicked.

  48. Kristin
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:01:49

    Oh, so many to choose from! I think Les Mis is one of my very favorites – I’ve seen it four times, and would see it again in a heartbeat. For plays (vs. musicals), I love “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

  49. Lostshadows
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:11:06

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

  50. Kathleen Henderson
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:11:22


  51. Genevieve Graham
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:11:32

    I’m going to stretch it here and say “Grease” … because it was a play at my daughter’s school this year and my baby played Sandy! :)

  52. Erika
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:14:15

    Our Town

  53. MJ Rings
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:18:50

    Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors as well A Season of Storms was a wonderful book. I have read all of her books and was delighted with every one.

    My favorite would be the musical “Phantom of the Opera” Overwhelmingly beautiful music. Saw this in Toronto, Ontario on stage,

  54. Doreen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:19:26

    Grease definitely!!

  55. Susan
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:36:09

    Now that you’ve made me think of it, I’ve probably only seen about a dozen or so non-Shakespearean plays, mostly of the Waiting for Godot and A Doll’s House type. So, I’ll stick with Shakespearean favorites As You Like It or Romeo and Juliet.

    Now, if musicals count, that’s a whole ‘nother story!

  56. Amy
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:38:43

    I really love Macbeth.

  57. lawless
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 13:46:29

    Thanks for the giveaway. All my Rafflecopter entry says is to leave a comment, but apparently others were asked what’s their favorite play. Seen live? “Torch Song Trilogy.” At all? Too many to pick from.

  58. Jennifer O.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:01:11

    Twelfth Night. Though I saw The Importance of Being Earnest earlier this year and it was so much fun.

  59. Jolanda
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:15:40

    An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde.
    Thanks for the give-away!

  60. Melissa Marsh
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:20:30

    Oooh. Not sure what my favorite play is. I do love Hamlet (I’m going to London next year to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Hamlet!).

  61. Justine
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:22:50

    Wit (also styled as W;t) by Margaret Edson

  62. Paula Dolin
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:25:53

    Love Susanna’s books!

  63. Lynnd
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:31:15

    My favourite play is Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

  64. Lisa
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:48:41

    Recently saw a production of The Suit, which was excellent.

  65. Anja
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:54:03

    Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana

    Love Susanna Kearsley’s books!

  66. Shawna
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 14:59:16

    Measure for Measure was my favourite play.

  67. Maureen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:20:23

    Death of A Salesman

  68. Connie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:24:48

    I just realized I’ve never seen any play in person, and have only seen maybe 1 or 2 on TV. I do live musicals though, and my favorite is also Les Miserables.

  69. Kathy Swearingen
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:26:04

    Beauty and the Beast

  70. Darlynne
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:27:24

    I don’t suppose Dame Edna’s The Royal Tour counts, but really, it should. Thanks for the giveaway.

  71. Colleen Turner
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:27:58

    I would have to say Phantom of the Opera. I’ve always loved that one!

  72. Rochelle
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:47:18

    Twelfth Night

  73. Cavan
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 15:56:49

    My favorite play is Much Ado About Nothing :)

  74. Carole Freeman
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:08:22

    I am a huge fan of Theatre of all types so it is very hard to pick a favourite, it’s like picking a favourite child. I love every thing from Shakespeare to Musical Theatre but If I must pick one it would be Macbeth!

  75. Maria D.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:21:40

    Mine is “Oklahoma” – love the music, dancing and story:)

  76. Lizabeth S. Tucker
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:27:39

    I love Shakespeare, from his comedies to his tragedies. Tough choice, but I think I’ll go with The Tempest. It doesn’t get as much love as the biggies, but it has so much in it.

  77. Tina
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:31:58

    Phantom of the Opera – the first musical I saw on Broadway.

  78. Julie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:38:12

    Les Miserables

  79. beth bolden
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 16:46:16

    The Importance of Being Earnest

  80. Heather S
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:26:16

    I’d love to see any of Oscar Wilde’s plays – I’ve seen Hollywood film versions and read them in print, but have yet to see them on the stage.

  81. Jackie Seamon
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:28:27

    I’d have to say that my favourite play is probably No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. Or, seconding a few other users here, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. No Exit definitely comes first, though; I learn something new each time I read it.

  82. Faye
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:49:41

    The Importance of Being Earnest, and Macbeth.

  83. Mitzi Hinkey
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:49:46

    I’ve only seen 1 play in my lifetime way back in the early 70’s I went with my class to San Francisco to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and it was a great play & loads of fun.

  84. Elizabeth
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:50:33

    Looking forward to a new novel by Susanna Kearsley

  85. Mary C
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 17:57:58

    The Jungle Book

  86. Jessica McQuaid
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 18:09:54

    Wait Until Dark

  87. Amanda V
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 18:11:29

    Phantom of the Opera

  88. Riley
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 18:50:32

    Much Ado About Nothing. It’s really hard to pin down just one!

  89. Kimberly B.
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 19:06:06

    It’s a zillion way tie. But I’m going to say The Lady’s Not for Burning, which I once saw with the Cosby Show’s Sabrina LeBoeuf! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  90. Dina
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 19:10:39

    Blithe Spirit.

  91. Mairead Fitzsimmons
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 19:31:08


    Love Love love this author have read everyone of her books

  92. bn100
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:29:51

    phantom of the opera

  93. Lynn Pauley
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:35:21

    Thanks for the giveaway. Favorite Shakespeare play would have to be Richard III — because I have always been fascinated by him. Favorite non-Shakespeare play would be Arsenic and Old Lace (and I love the film adaption with Cary Grant). If musicals count I would have to say Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Cats, Les Miz and a whole bunch of others!

  94. Billie
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:48:54

    I have to give this to Greater Tuna. I almost wet my pants everytime those two guy do this great 2 man comedy.

  95. Maria
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 21:27:54

    Importance of Being Earnest and Taming of the Shrew, anything really with witty banter. :)

  96. Mary Preston
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 22:33:11

    Macbeth for sure.

  97. Jennifer Huppert
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 22:41:32

    Hard to chose one play but I like to be entertained at the theatre so The Importance of Being Ernest

  98. Kimberly V
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 05:40:07

    Tartuffe or anything by Ibsen.

  99. Tünde
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 05:44:08

    G.B. Shaw: Pygmalion

  100. Laura Kay
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 06:52:06

    I love Hedda Gabler! Now I’ve never seen if performed, but I read it in college and loved it!

  101. Marguerite
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 08:35:57

    I love South Pacific with Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot

  102. Robyn B.
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 10:39:42

    Arcadia by Tom Stoppard!

  103. Jenna O
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 13:09:03

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Just love it.

  104. Juna
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 16:47:38

    Henry V

  105. Jacqueline C.
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 17:46:36

    Twelfth Night

  106. Amy B
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 18:18:44

    Hamlet or Clara Booth Luce’s The Women, but I’ve never seen either one performed.
    Live I think Carousel was my favorite.

  107. Ducky
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 18:31:29

    Probably one of the Shakespeare comedies. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  108. julie
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 15:40:57


  109. JudyK
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 17:15:15

    Good question. Beauty and the Beast.

  110. MikiS
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 20:57:50

    I still love Arsenic and Old Lace. ;)

  111. Becky
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 21:14:40

    The Importance of Being Earnest. Love it!

  112. Violet Bick
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 00:24:03

    Favorite play? I want to say something funny — a play on “play” — like Derek Jeter’s flip play during Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. But favorite play play? I’ll say The Farnsworth Invention by Aaron Sorkin. Just love his writing.

  113. Desiree Putaski
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 15:00:03

    Miss Saigon rips my heart out every time!

  114. Nancy Qualls
    Jul 18, 2014 @ 20:57:51

    Favourite Shakespeare I agree is The Tempest, but this author is in a league all her own. All the best Susanna.

  115. Susan S.
    Jul 19, 2014 @ 22:35:36

    Our Town and The Importance of Being Earnest

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