Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Publication Date: December 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781402241376
ISBN: 1402241372

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound

Author's Website:
Author's Facebook Page: Click HERE!
Excerpt: Click HERE!
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book 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 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.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who can know the truth of what really happened all those years ago - a tale of love and loyalty... and ultimate betrayal...


Susanna Kearsley uses the backdrop of the Jacobite invasion in 1708 to bring her novel The Winter Sea to life. The author is able to jump from the present to the past seamlessly as she develops the characters in this book. She has a knack for making the reader feel at ease with both time periods and the stories of both fascinating women. Kearsley does a wonderful job of setting the scene and using the nuances of that setting to bring out the personality of the place as well as the characters.

Carrie McClelland is a bestselling author and one of her secrets to her success is becoming completely absorbed in the area and culture she is writing about. Carrie moves to the setting of each novel, becoming immersed in the setting and with the people. Her latest novel has taken her to Scotland, where she begins writing a book about a woman named Sophia. The name is taken from an ancestor and very quickly Carrie begins to sense a change in this book. The details are coming together like never before and she can't understand it. She begins to suspect that she is having ancestral memories which are guiding her writing. Could she be the only person who knows what really happened?

This story alternates between the present and the past and Kearsley's style makes each transition seem flawless and easy to grasp. Readers will enjoy learning about Carrie and her work as a writer, while they will also be enthralled by Sophia and all that she went through during this time period in Scottish history. Historical fiction is all about taking little known characters and situations from history and bringing them to life in fiction and Kearsley certainly has done an amazing job of it with this one.

Her characters are vivid and easy to identify with. Many of us are aspiring writers and I always love novels who have writers as characters. Carrie was an exceptional character, full of vim and vigor and I loved how she was able to move to the place her story was taking place, I wish I could do that, LOL! It was a great touch to this one. The book reminded in some small way of Diana Gabaldon's writing. Perhaps it was the time changes or just Scotland as a background, but I keep thinking they felt similar in style.

Historical fiction lovers will really enjoy this one as well as contemporary romance fans. It has a bit of mysteriousness to it and a sense of the mystical. It was one of those books that you remember long after the last page has been turned. I liked this one a lot.

The Winter Sea is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! This is exceptional historical fiction!

Susanna Kearsley's writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne Du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader's Digest, and optioned for film. She lives in Canada near the shores of Lake Ontario.


Audra said...

Gorgeous cover! Five of five -- can't resist then!

Mystica said...

This sounds really intriguing. I hope I get to track it down.

Becky said...
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