Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)'s Reviews > The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
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's review
May 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: could-not-put-it-down-books, favorites, favorite-author, historical, ireland, love-story, love-the-audio, read-more-than-once, romance, time-travel
Recommended to Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms) by: Shannon & Laura on Outlander thread
Recommended for: If you love Scotland, history, romance
Read from July 03, 2011 to April 30, 2017 — I own a copy

[UPDATE - I have read this book several times and just listened to the audio (4/30/17) . It is beautifully done - wonderful the different voices and accents! ]

Totally wonderful beautiful story that takes place in Scotland in the present as well as in the early 1700's. Not time travel but a totally different concept of looking back at time long gone by. Carolyn McClelland is a successful writer of historical novels and has come to Scotland to get closer to the site of her next novel. She has been in France where King James was exiled and intended to place the novel in that setting, but it was not working. Her hero, Nathaniel Hooke, was not coming to life for her. When she visits her publisher/friend in Scotland she gets a feeling that perhaps she should stay and see if it works better to write in the area of Slains Castle which is now in ruins. Some of the events she plans to write about had taken place there.

The beauty of this story is that the chapters about what is happening to Carolyn are written in the first person. We share the beginnings of a personal romance with her as well as her uneasiness about what is happening with writing this book. At times she feels her characters talk to her and it is as if they are writing the story and she is living it. She makes up names for the characters and then research shows that such a person really existed in the time and place that she has placed them in her story. Through this, Carolyn has a romance of her own developing. I had not looked at the reviews for this book before reading it, but early on I thought to myself that the writing reminded me of Mary Stewart's writing. Now I see that others have also mentioned that. I read all of Mary Stewart's books many many years ago and had not thought about them in years. I only felt that way about Carolyn's part of the story but not the book she is writing.

The chapters of Carolyn's book (and they are all part of this book) are not written in the first person. The heroine is Sophie, an ancestor of Carolyn's from over 300 years ago. Her hero, John Moray, is not the hero she planned on, but there he was! He looks much like the man Carolyn is falling in love with, but she knows she has imagined him that way because of her feelings for Graham. At first I was really into Carolyn's story and not so interested in the book story about Sophie. I am not sure how far I was into it when I found myself loving the book story and Carolyn's story became more secondary. Good writing by this author, Susanna Kearsley!

As I read there were so many questions that both Carolyn and I were trying to figure out. Is what is happening to her some kind of memory in her DNA, is she psychic, are there ghosts? Sophie was her ancestor and she is living in the very place that these things happened 300 years ago. Why and how is she living Sophie's story through writing it and literally seeing the places and the people as it unfolds?

This is a true historical novel and it appears to be a very well researched one. It gives the reader a real look into just one small group of people and the parts they were playing in attempting to bring king James back to Scotland in the very early 1700's. It really brings to life the intrigue that must have taken place in those unsettled times, and the characters, who really existed, do come to life

Last but not least, this is a love story. Two actually. Carolyn's is safe and really a nice pleasant story. Sophie's is not safe nor is it simple. Not a lot of books make me cry. This one did. More than once. It's sweet, beautiful, frightening, tragic, sad - and I am not going to tell you how it ends, but it is with a twist. I had to leave it for a couple of hours about 60 pages from the end, and that was REALLY HARD. I dove back into it the minute I could. If you love historical romances and especially Scotland, you will love this book. It's a real quality read and a beautiful love story. It's not YA, but there is nothing in it that a teen should not read.

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Reading Progress

07/03 page 308
04/30 marked as: read

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