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Sophia's Secret

(Slains #1)

by
4.08  ·  Rating details ·  53,885 ratings  ·  6,229 reviews
When bestselling author Carrie McClelland visits the windswept ruins of Slains Castle, she is enchanted by the stark and beautiful Scottish landscape. The area is strangely familiar to her but she puts aside her faint sense of unease to begin her new novel, using the castle as her setting, and one of her own ancestors, Sophia, as her heroine. Then Carrie realises her writi ...more
Paperback, 527 pages
Published September 22nd 2008 by Allison & Busby
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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)

Community Reviews

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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  53,885 ratings  ·  6,229 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
...more
L.E. 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
...more
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.

description




Slains Castle as it was in all its glory...
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Slains Castle now...
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★★★★☆ (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
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4+ stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

My recent read of Kearsley's Bellewether left me slightly dissatisfied, but I knew (and was assured by historical novel-loving friends) that she was capable of far more engaging storytelling, so I dove into her older duology of Jacobite-era novels, The Winter Sea and The Firebird. Both of these books ― in which Kearsley employs her favored dual-timeline approach with romance subplots, a paranormal element, and stellar historical research ― were
...more
Emery Lee
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

WHE
...more
Judy
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
...more
Ira
I’m glad in this ‘self published and write anything you want’ times, there are still author like Ms. Kearsley.

This is certainly not a bubble gum book which widely available lately, and you just need to read it once and the story will stay with you forever. The last book I felt this way, was Jennifer Donnelly, The Tea Rose.

Yep! This type of book is very rare and that’s why, it made me more appreciate the throughly research work this author done for her story.

I don’t know what more can I write h
...more
Sarah
If you knew me at all in person, you’d know that I am a lover of history. Though I am always interested in history of any kind, my particular interests range from ancient Egypt, it’s ties to ancient Rome, and how that all eventually leads to England before it was England, across the sea to the Danes and the Northmen, and back again to England, Scotland and Ireland. What fascinates me most is how the influences of all these great people through history still dictate so very much of what we do tod ...more
Hannah
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,
...more
Carolyn
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, historical, romance
I am not generally a reader of romances but this is a very well done historical romance that I really enjoyed. The novel is written in two parallel story lines (and romances!), with an author in the current day writing a historical novel about the Jacobite uprising in 1708, so that her main character's voice relates the events leading up to the uprising and the attempt to bring James Stewart to Scotalnd from his exile in France to claim the Scottish crown.

Carrie McClelland writes historical nov
...more
Limonessa
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Meghan
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.
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.
Laura
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
Britany
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 500, audiobook
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
...more
Angie
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-uns, historical
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
solaret
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.


Lies.

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
...more
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.
Lillian ☁ 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
...more
TL
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
Kim

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
...more
WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
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
...more
Sara
4.5 I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time stars.

Reading Susanna Kearsley is such fun. I find that I both want to read faster so that I can see what will happen and read slower so that I can stay in this story and this world just a little bit longer. She sifts in just the right amount of romance, mystery and history to make a perfect cake, and she is one of the few writers who can keep me as interested in the modern-day story she is telling as the historical one. I typically find myse
...more
Christina White
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LJ
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.

Decid
...more
Dem
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
...more
♥Sharon♥
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition



Oh my. What a story this was. ❤ The location, the history, the love story. All of it was simply fabulous.

Actually there is a story within this story. You will most certainly fall in love with Sophia and John and all that swirls around them. And Catherine and Graham will warm your heart.

It came highly recommended to me and I will pass that along as well. A must read for sure!!

Erin
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.
Karen
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites


At length, at length, I have thee in my Arms; Tho' our Malevolent Stars have struggled hard, And held us long asunder. -John Dryden's King Arthur.


What a fabulous book... or should I say book inside a book? Which apparently is based on real life? If you like romance and you like history.. you will love this. I can't believe it's taken me this long to read it. And of course, it's sparked another urge to return to Scotland. I'm afraid I'll just have to move there someday. I highly recommend thi
...more
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
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Romance novel about an writer visiting Scotland. [s] 5 48 Mar 16, 2019 03:30PM  
Around the Year i...: Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley 16 89 Sep 07, 2018 02:20PM  
Books and Jams Re...: Chapters 16-End 7 24 Feb 20, 2018 02:00PM  
Books and Jams Re...: Chapters 1-6 11 24 Feb 19, 2018 05:00PM  
Books and Jams Re...: Chapters 13-15 5 14 Feb 05, 2018 05:39PM  
Books and Jams Re...: Chapters 7-12 9 13 Feb 04, 2018 06:41AM  
For Love of a Book: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Winter Sea September Series Group Read 11 37 Sep 27, 2016 05:21PM  
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6,040 followers
New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving romance and historical intrigue with modern adventure.

Her books, published in translation in more than 20 countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and Nat
...more

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.” 108 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.” 56 likes
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