Sara's Reviews > The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
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's review
Jul 31, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: adult-lit
Read in January, 2011

This book came with some mixed reviews. Some people were 5/5 star in love with the book…others hung-up on an ending plot choice that not only didn’t ring true, it also incited anger and fury amongst readers.

I’ll admit I fall into the middle of this group. If you’d like a *Spoiler* as to the plot choice (or you’d just really like to see myself and RachelKiwi debate the point) check out the Book Club of Two breakdown tomorrow.

So without mention of the *Spoiler* I’ll let you know what I thought of the book as a whole. It’s why your reading this right? Just checking, lol…

Know that the book is extremely addictive. Told in alternating chapters of modern-day Carrie, the woman writing the historical fiction novel, and Sophia, Carrie’s main character and ancestor. While Carrie has action enough on both the paranormal and romantic front it is Sophia’s love-story that sings.

You see, the premise of this tale is that Carrie has genetic memory of Sophia’s life. It’s rationalized much in the same way that we explain how our baby has the exact same smile or mannerism as our dead grandfather. That somewhere in our strands of DNA in addition to deciding the color of our eyes and the size of our feet we also inherit physical movements and skills from past generations. While this theory is completely legit Kearsley stretches science to include actual memories of the past. Like…remembering an entire year of another persons life.

Kearsley weaves past and present together fluidly. Carrie’s own life begins to reflect Sophia’s past. In the beginning this is what Carrie blames her story on. Later it simply becomes a nice plot point. I will note that Carrie’s modern romance didn’t have the spark that Sophia’s did. I think had more time been given to the modern couple. Or had Stuie been cut from the story. Carrie and Graham’s romance would have been fleshed out a bit better. This is sad, not because this tale lacks love…nope, Sophia provides that in spades…more so because I liked Carrie and Graham and would have enjoyed a bit more time with them as full characters and not as a mode to view Sophia’s story.

Another problem some had with the text was its historical component. Be Warned my bookish friends…Kearsley knows her history, and doesn’t deviate for a minute. I think this also muddied up the plot a bit. It was a lot to wade through at times, and some characters/schemes could have been cut altogether. But still, I maintain the camp of a happy historical reader. I have a lot of admiration for Kearsley’s ability to stick so stringently to fact and make history work for her. Just always sad to watch the Scottish uprisings…You know they all end poorly…and yet those strong Scottish men are always so sexy and stalwart. I just wish they would have caught a break every now and then.

Know that this is a great read. Plot *Spoiler* or not, it’s a well told tale that is both addictive and different.

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy at bookgoonie Great review. This book wasn't on my radar.

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