solaret's Reviews > The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
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's review
Jan 20, 2012

it was ok

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 getting romantically involved with men who have "strength of character."

576 pages, and practically nothing else happens. Oh, but the young women (one in 1708, one in modern day) make lots of friends, especially those of the equine and canine persuasion.

Um. I'm not very good at organization. Let me try again.

The Winter Sea is divided into two parts, which it flip-flops between for the entire story. One half is devoted to the woman who lived during King James' time and his invasion. The other concentrates upon the female historical fiction writer who makes her way to Slains, the exact castle where her female protagonist (a real figure, in the book) used to live, starts writing her story, and realizes that it might be more historically accurate than she thought.

The point is, notwithstanding the "channeling" done by the modern-day writer, there's not much plot in her part of the story, which takes at least a measly 200 pages out of the total 576. No tension, beyond some pointless little endeavor at not letting everyone know she's chosen this brother and not the other one. (Seriously. What if his utterly friendly father finds out she's dating his son? The horrors!) All she does with her magic medium abilities is write her historically accurate book and help her father with figuring out their genealogical roots.

There's this little blurb on the cover, actually:

When she can no longer tell the difference between today and centuries ago, he's the only one who can reveal the secrets of time...

It sounds dramatic, but it means absolutely nothing.

And as for her ancestress' story, nothing much happens there either. Sophia does feminine, nice things and, at most, bumps into a tiny piece of tension (view spoiler) once while all the dying and blood happens far away. I never thought she experienced any true hardship nor that there was any true danger threatening her, though they kept talking about the Duke of Hamilton. (view spoiler)

I would not recommend this book to anyone who wants action in their historical fiction. But it does an excellent job of setting up the atmosphere of Scotland. All dreary winds and cliffs, for those who like that kind of thing.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 20, 2012 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Morgan Tarpley Smith I did really enjoy the book overall, but I definitely agree with most of your points. Good commentary! :D

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