Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Winter Sea - Susanna Kearsley


In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottich soliders nearly succeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn the story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth - the ultimate betrayal - that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...
Summary from book, Cover Photo from

My Review: Carrie McClelland is a bestselling novelist in search of information for her latest book. Her search for facts on the characters she has created leads her to a small cottage in Cruden Bay overlooking the ruins of Slains Castle. As she writes Carrie discovers that the story she is telling is not descending from her imagination but is the actual voice of her heroine, Sophia, who happens to be one of her own ancestors.

This novel is actually the combination of two stories. The first being Carrie's life, recounted in first person as she writes her book and uncovers both her past and her future. She learns more about herself than she would have thought possible as she makes friends with some locals in the small village she has come to call home. The second is the story that Carrie is writing, which is woven perfectly into the fabric of her own life. Here she discovers that her ancestor, Sophia, is actually speaking to her through her writing and the only way to hear her story is to finish the book regardless of the heartache the story brings.

Sophia lived in the eighteenth century at a time when James Stewart and his loyal followers were plotting to return him to the thorn. An act of fate finds Sophia at the Slains Castle living with her aunt. Here she falls in love with a solider that must leave to aid in restoring the crown to the rightful king. Before leaving they are secretly married and this is a secret that proves most difficult to keep though both her life and his depend on it.

The Winter Sea is a novel about an author who loses herself in her writing and in the process pulls the reader in with her. It is so well written that it feels you are within the pages with each character, leaping through the centuries to join both Carrie and Sophia on their personal journey for happiness. Both women are fiercely brave and independent yet each has a soft, endearing side making the characters easy to relate to. At times the stories overlap yet each remains it's own tale. As the book progresses the present echoes the past time and time again in the most fascinating fashion.

The last quarter of the book demands to be read at a breath-taking pace, with a tightness in the chest. This is an incredibly romantic story and, yet, is action packed. Tears made the words blur yet somehow in the end I was able to close the book smiling, feeling completely satisfied that both tales were neatly closed up. This novel will spin its way into being a classic.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

To Sum It Up: A historical romance with the perfect blend of action and fantasy.

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

This is one of the best books I read in 2010 - two thumbs up! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.


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