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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
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The Winter Sea (2008)

by Susanna Kearsley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Slains (1)

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1,5411214,765 (3.99)1 / 134
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Main character, Carrie McClelland, is a bestselling author of historical fiction who decides to set her next book in Scotland during the time of the 1708 Jacobite Rebellion. It's a little known part of Scottish history that was an attempt by the Scots to negate the Union of 1707 between England and Scotland and bring the exiled Catholic King James VIII back from France to take the Scottish throne. The most well-known battle of the Jacobites was the Battle of Culloden in 1746 where they were finally defeated.

She rents a cottage in Cruden Bay, a small seaside town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near a ruined castle called Slains. She decides to use Sophia Paterson, one of her ancestors, as her main character. The story and the setting appeal to her in a vivid way, and her story seems to write itself. Slowly Carrie's research shows that her characters and circumstances, down to the smallest details, were actual events. She seems to have as ancestral memory, which made for interesting and compelling reading.

The supernatural thread was not overwhelming because the transitions back and forth from past to present were smooth and easy. There was plenty of historical information but not so much that I felt like it was a history book. I thought the women were great characters and the romance thread was not overdone, just more of an endearing love story from the past. I enjoyed it much more than I expected and if you like Scottish historical fiction or already a fan of Susanna Kearsley, you will probably like this one too.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
I loved this book! My mom and sister both read it and recommended it to me. Gorgeous writing, gorgeous setting, and a unique plot winding historical fiction and the present into one beautiful package, with some romance thrown in to make the past come alive.

Carrie is a writer (I just love books about books, don't you?) and she finds herself drawn to the ruins of a castle in Scotland. She decides her book should be set there, and as she writes she finds her story becoming reality. Is she dealing with ancestral memories guiding her story? And will she be able to handle the truth she is uncovering?

Smartly plotted, I really enjoyed exploring a part of history not often written about in historical novels. I will definitely read the next book in the series. ( )
  GovMarley | Aug 6, 2017 |
great historical fiction. I loved the format of the story being told by a present day author writing a book that tells the story - and we get to read her book as she writes it. both sets of characters were equally compelling. loved it! ( )
  mfabriz | Jun 26, 2017 |
There are those rare and treasured books that make you sad when you reach the end, and make you wish you could go right back to the beginning and start again, experiencing the story again for the first time. This was definitely one of those books for me.

Carrie McClelland is an author of historical fiction and is in Scotland to meet with her agent Jane, as well as do research and begin her newest story – the 1708 Jacobite invasion that nearly restored the exiled James VIII to Scotland to reclaim his crown. Slains Castle at Cruden Bay features prominently in the story, so Carrie arranges to rent a cottage nearby with a view of both the sea and the ruins of Slains Castle. When she begins the story however, she is taken by surprise by both her characters and the story. Carrie is then astonished to find that what she believes is her creative fiction is historical fact. She begins to realize she may be experiencing genetic memory of one of her ancestors and their part in the events of 300 years ago.

The chapters alternate between Carrie’s life in modern day and the experiences of her ancestor Sophia in 1708. Usually when a book is written in this manner there is one story I tend to prefer over the other. This was not the case in this book and both storylines were equally well written, entertaining and filled with characters that I cared about. There were also romantic interests in both timelines which were touching and both the conclusions were satisfying.

This story was absolutely wonderful from the first page to the last! I become fully vested in all the characters and was very sorry to find myself at the end. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.
( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
‘How much fighting went on because somebody read from the wrong prayerbook. If you and I had lived back then, and you’d been Presbyterian and I Episcopalian, we’d not have stood together on this bridge.’ ( )
  mountie9 | Apr 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Kearsleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Landor, RosalynNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Come home! The year has left you old;
Leave those grey stones; wrap close this shawl
Around you for the night is cold;
Come home! He will not hear you call;

No sign awaits you here but the beat
Of tides upon the strand,
The craig's gaunt shadow with gull's feet
Imprinted on the sand,
And spars and sea-weed strewn
Under a pale moon.

Come home! He will not hear you call;
Only the night winds answer as they fall
Along the shore, 
and evermore
Only the sea-shells 
On the grey stones singing,
And the white foam-bells
On the North Sea ringing.
-E.J. Pratt, "On the Shore"
Dedication
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It wasn't chance.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Carrie settles into the shadow of Slains Castle in Scotland, creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write about the Jacobite invasion of 1708. When she can no longer tell the difference between today and centuries ago, is she dealing with an ancestral memory-- a memory that might destroy her?… (more)

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