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The Winter Sea (Slains #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  48,764 Ratings  ·  5,732 Reviews
In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that 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.
ebook, 527 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published January 1st 2008)
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Amy I personally loved the fact that the author didn't go into sexual details. I'm really not into porn and some books are borderline in that area IMO. I…moreI personally loved the fact that the author didn't go into sexual details. I'm really not into porn and some books are borderline in that area IMO. I think she set up the "act" very romantically and lovingly. I don't need details to get the gist that sex happened and a bond occurred between the two people involved. (less)
MravaWishes If you like the setting, time period and characters, try reading "Rebellion" by Nora Roberts. And check out the sequel to "The Winter Sea", named "The…moreIf you like the setting, time period and characters, try reading "Rebellion" by Nora Roberts. And check out the sequel to "The Winter Sea", named "The Firebird".(less)

Community Reviews

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Katrina Passick Lumsden
The five stars I've given this book reflects the high I'm still coming down from after having finished it. I think I might be in love with Susanna Kearsley. I read The Rose Garden earlier this year, and being a huge fan of time travel, devoured that shit like it was going out of style. Granted, it took me a little while to get into it because I found the pacing in the beginning to be kind of slow, but after getting over that bump in the road, there was no turning back.

The Winter Sea was a whole
Lauren Fidler
i have what can only be described as a love-hate relationship with this book. i found so much of it to feel incredibly stupid and yet i couldn't put it down. explain that one to me!'

warning: here there be spoilers.

10 Things I Hate About You:
1. the employment of a frame story - i'm pretty sure the conversation with her editor went something like this:
sk: it's going to be two books in one! one story will be set in modern day and the other will be her "historical" novel!
editor: oh, you mean, like
Lisa Kay
Update: 5/17/12
Rosalyn Landor has been nominated for the Audie Awards 2012 “Solo Narration-Female” category for her narration of The Winter Sea.


Slains Castle as it was in all its glory...

Slains Castle now...

★★★★☆ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I love to listen to the talented Rosalyn Landor read a book. Her elegant narration is perfect for this lyrical, atmospheric book. Ms. Landor does the accents nicely, especially the Scottish. She does a great job of the male and female voices in th
Emery Lee
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
8/15/11 - Addendum to original review. I did not rate this book after reading it because I was so upset about the ending, but in retrospect I have to allow that it was one of the best books (and perhaps THE BEST) I have read this year. While I am VERY stingy about 5 star ratings and this is NOT the HEA I would have chosen, I confess that the author's meticulous research, beautiful prose, and riveting parallel storyline has won me over in the end. I've decided to give it the 5 stars after all.

Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Reader beware: This author does not compare to Mary Stewart, Daphne Dumaurier or Diana Gabaldon. I really wish I could have given this book a 2.5. It was better than okay, but not much.

I really disliked the plot device of cutting back and forth from the 18th to the 21st century. When the 18th century story started to get interesting, the story would revert to the 21st century. The contemporary part of the story was dull and I didn’t care about the characters. The use of “genetic memory” as a pl
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Mary Stewart and Daphne duMaurier
Recommended to Hannah by: Myself
Re-read 2/22/13
Just as excellent the second time around.
Now to dive into The Firebird :D

Original Review
From the onset of Susanna Kearsley's, The Winter Sea, fate clearly plays a large part in the destiny of writer Carrie McClelland, as well as the novel she is researching on the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1708. A detour to Slains Castle on the rugged west coast of Scotland solidifies Carrie's desire to move her base of operations there. After meeting with her agent and good friend, Jane,
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Historical fiction is not usually my genre. I picked up this book because I thought it would also contain a paranormal element. Well, it does not - or very slightly so -, but I loved it nonetheless.
Whoever compared it to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander in their reviews is seriously misleading readers, because this book has basically very little to do with it and it does not deal with time travel at all.

The narrative technique was very good. The story is told by a writer, Carrie McClelland, who trave
Mar 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 500
Listened to this one on audio for a challenge as the narrator won an Audie award for solo female narration. I found the narrator boring and distracting, but I was determined to finish this book.

The story itself is rich in history and mystery, set against a gorgeous background. Parallel storylines cross paths from early 1700's the Jacobite uprising to present day author finding her characters' voices. Handsome men, castles, and a Scottish lilt to top it off-- what's not to love? The characters we
4.5 stars. This is a classic case of the right book finding the right time. I know I've picked this book up several times with the intent to read it and it just didn't look all that compelling. Nothing really grabbed me about it beyond the cover, I didn't really know much about that historical period, and I'm not really a person who reads romance novels regularly. I'd read a kind of heavy, dark book though and needed something light. A friend recommended something short that was perfect. I enjoy ...more
Ann Aguirre
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautiful book. I've never seen dual storylines intertwined with such facility and elegance. Usually, when the author take this approach, one will be more appealing than the other, but both stories were fascinating.

The historical detail was meticulous; the writing is lyrical and evocative. The characters feel real.

This book made me cry. I would recommend it for readers of Diana Gabaldon. Yes, it's that good.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-uns
I've seen Susanna Kearsley's name pop up hither and yon around the blogosphere for going on a year now. I added her name to my list of authors to check out awhile back and I've spent the intervening time idly wondered whether the enticing comparisons to the likes of Mary Stewart had some merit. Not long ago I decided THE WINTER SEA would be the perfect maiden voyage with Kearsley. Published a couple of years ago in the UK, the U.S. edition was slated to come out December 1st and I added it to my ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
History has all but forgotten...In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.


Or at least, it's severely misleading. The book does seem meticulously researched, and I have no doubt that the attempted coup d'etat actually happened, but it's not what this book is about.

What this book actually is about: young women taking long walks on the cliffs and beaches of Scotland and
Diane S ☔
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been hearing about this books for months in different groups I belong to, everyone who has read it saying they have absolutely loved it. Finally read it and loved it too. Such an interesting mix of history, genealogy, present and past, and romance, as I read I became totally immersed in both stories.
Wonderful characters and I appreciated the fact that the author included a postscript detailing exactly which characters and what part of the story was actually historical fact.
Christina White
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

This is yet another book which I probably would not have read had it not been for reviews on Goodreads and recommendations from several GR friends which prompted me to read another novel by Kearsley, Every Secret Thing. I liked Every Secret Thing enough to want to read more of Kearsley’s work.

This novel has dual time lines. There is a contemporary narrative, told in the first person. The narrator is an author writing a historical novel about a failed Jacobite rebellion which took place in 1708
Lillian ᴥ Cloud 9 Books
***** 5 Stars *****

"For if there was no winter, we could never hope for spring."

I'm speechless. I didn't think I'd end up enjoying this book, but I became obsessed with the romance and history.

Carrie is a talented author working on her next novel. As she's traveling around, she feels an odd pull towards the ruins of Slains Castle. A pull so strong, she stops everything to focus on its past.

Throughout her research, she receives unexplainable memories and dreams about the past.... Sophie's pas
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
(view spoiler) It could go either way really, Miss Kearsley lets you decide for yourself as you are reading. Though for me, it fell more one way than the other. I thought I could sense who was who for some people early ...more
3.3 stars

Where’e’er I go, my Soul shall stay with thee:
’Tis but my Shadow that I take away;’

First off, the delicious history in this was my favorite part. I loved how the author intertwined real historical events and people while adding artistic flair. Amazing.

Far more than most of my friends have rated this very highly, and the writing definitely deserves it. Unfortunately, while I loved the history and writing quality, the back and forth past and present perspectives didn't fully gel with m
THE WINTER SEA (Dual-period novel/Romance-Carrie McClelland-Scotland-Cont/1708) - Ex
Kearsley, Susanna – Standalone
Allison & Busby, Ltd., 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780749080976

First Sentence: It wasn’t chance.

Bestselling author Carrie McClelland comes from France, where she is working on a book related to the 1708 attempted return of James Stewart to regain his throne. On the way to the christening of her friend and agent’s baby, she takes a side road and is drawn to Slains Castle.

Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley really seemed like a book I would love as it dealt with a part of Scottish history that I was not familiar with. I had not read a book set in Scotland before and was eager to get started on this novel after reading the fascinating blurb.

"In the spring of 1708 an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now Carrie Mc Clelland hopes to turn the stroy into her n
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason this one was hard for me to get into. However, as the book progressed I enjoyed the storyline more. I love historical fiction, but this felt like I had a history lesson that wasn't any too interesting jammed down my throat. I like it pureed into a smoothie so I barely know I'm learning anything nutritious. Yum. Smoothie. Sweet story but not the best I've read.
Vanessa Tekać
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jedna od najljepsih ljubavnih prica koje sam procitala, uzivala sam u svakoj stranici :)
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
The description of this book is accurate but doesn't come close to describing the rich characters, Scottish history and atmosphere that Susanna Kearsley brings to her readers. This was my second time reading The Winter Sea. The first time was many years ago, and while I didn't recall the plot I always had images in my mind from reading the book the first time around. The sign of a good book.

Kearsley's writing is rich in detail creating a vivid atmosphere for her story to unfold. The story is tol
Deborah Pickstone
I don't usually go for time travel themes, especially romances - this author is a RITA award winner - and I find it odd that time travel writers seem to always end up in Scotland.....but all in all, this was very readable and the time travel thing was handled in a way that demanded willing suspension of disbelief - but not so far that it became impossible. The time travel was presented as a kind of genetic memory that a return to places known in her past brought forth for the heroine. Of course ...more
There's a good reason why this book was on my "why haven't I read this book yet" shelf. I should have read it long ago. The historical fiction aspect of the novel dealing with the Stewart claim to the English throne and the exile in France, with the Jacobites' attempts to restore the Stewarts to the throne, is an especially favorite part of history for me. The story within a story vehicle for presenting the intertwining centuries' tale is also a form to which I'm partial. Author Carrie McClellan ...more
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It likely comes as no surprise for those of you who have been following my recent reads that I've fallen in love with historical fiction - again. It happens a few times a year. I discover a historical novel I fall head-over-heels for and feel compelled to run out and read everything I possibly can within the genre before I become bored of it. In this case, it started with Kate Forsyth's The Wild Girl and seemed to swiftly end there as well since Forsyth's other historical fantasy title was miles ...more
I've cried my way through the afternoon finishing this, and am still kind of blown away by the ending. This author wrapped me up tight in her story and frankly, I'm not ready to leave it.

Carrie McClelland is an author who is having trouble with her present book, a historical fiction about one of the Jacobite risings in the 1700's. Her characters are refusing to talk to her. She leaves France, where she's writing, for Scotland to get some additional local background for her story, in hopes that i
Almost, almost - THE perfect book!

Almost - because of one tiny detail at the very end that female readers are just not going to be able to ignore. This is SO unfortunate because the entire book was so absolutely beautiful & romantic. The problem is that this one detail causes the reader a slight twinge of disappointment in the characters. Characters that all this time you feel you know so well, have spent your time rooting on, and crying for. This ONE stupid thing is a bit of a let down. Ma
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
The twin tales of The Winter Sea reflect each other the way the water reflects the sky. In one story, we follow successful romance-novelist Carrie as she seeks inspiration for her next work of historical-fiction. She's come to Scotland dreaming of castles but finds herself caught in a love triangle with a pair of charming brothers (Macdreamy and Macsteamy.) In the other narrative, we follow the subject of Carrie's book, Sophia, who lives during the Jacobite rebellion and must navigate the uneasy ...more
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Aka Emma Cole.

Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.

Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.

Susanna Kearsle
More about Susanna Kearsley...

Other Books in the Series

Slains (2 books)
  • The Firebird (Slains, #2)
“But life, if nothing else, had taught her promises weren't always to be counted on, and what appeared at first a shining chance might end in bitter disappointment.” 104 likes
“..the fields might fall to fallow and the birds might stop their song awhile; the growing things might die and lie in silence under snow, while through it all the cold sea wore its face of storms and death and sunken hopes...and yet unseen beneath the waves a warmer current ran that, in its time, would bring the spring.” 54 likes
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