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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

The Winter Sea (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Susanna Kearsley

Series: Slains (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,234976,440 (4.02)1 / 117
Title:The Winter Sea
Authors:Susanna Kearsley
Info:Sourcebooks, Inc. (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Books read, Your library, ebook

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The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (2008)

Recently added byprivate library, JillJennings, SJaneDoe, looseleaf, texanne, megaelim, TracyP2010, ShyPageSniffer
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Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
I came across this book as a freebie in my Amazon kindle unlimited subscription. And I am so glad that I did. I have always been a fan of reincarnated memories and "genetic memory," which is a subject that is dear to me. In The Winter Sea, the past comes to life, through an author's writing a book. As Carrie writes a book while staying in a rented cabin in Scotland, near Slains, an old ruin of a castle. While Carrie is writing, she is also remembering memories from her heroine, Sophia. She writes what comes to her mind, then finds out that what she is writing is historically accurate, contrary to her fiction genre she normally adheres to in her writing. Romance blooms and touches both the author and the heroine and brings a timeless tale of love lived through time back to life and in your face.

A very well written novel that compares to Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati and many other very-well known authors that truly touch the hearts and minds of their fans. I look forward to buying and reading every book by Susanna Kearsley. ( )
  JillJennings | Aug 25, 2015 |
It took me a little while to find the rhythm of this book, as I'm not used to Historical Fiction about a period I'm not already familiar with. I usually stick to my Victorians, and Jacobites in early 18th Century Scotland aren't something I know much about. So there was a fair bit of backstory at the start, but not too much and it was handled pretty deftly. But as the story of a present-day historical novelist converges with the story of her ancestor who lived that history, the pace picks up and I found myself enraptured, and by the end I was quite moved. My own SF/F/Paranormal/Gothic Heart *really* wanted it to be ghostier or time-travelly. But asking questions about Genetic Memory is also interesting. And by that time, I was so involved in the characters and their stories there was no room for disappointment.

Recommended for readers of Historical Fiction and Romance, but don't expect too much steaminess here. More swooniness. And it's actually very hard to make me swoon. And Kearsley does it. I was swept away. ( )
  aliceoddcabinet | Jul 25, 2015 |
Carrie knows how to weave a tale of fact and fiction, mixing historical narratives with imaginary characters upon a page but are they truly make-believe?

Bestselling author, Carrie McClelland is writing a novel on the Jacobite Uprising of 1708. Originally, she thought France was the place to write it but from the moment she steps foot on the Scottish shore, her plans change. Will the exiled James Stewart be able to reclaim the English throne with the help of Scottish soldiers and spies? Carrie knows how history unfolded, thanks to her research, but upon writing she soon discovers her fictional musings are more than mere daydreams.

It is two stories in one—present day and 1708—part historical fiction, part fantasy and part romance. I have read several books by the author and enjoy the journey she takes me through- try not to over analyze too much (genetic memory) and just enjoy the ride! As a history buff, who was looking forward to a light girlie read, this fit the bill. ((It also helps that I love Scotland and anything about the Jacobite rebellions)) ( )
  Shuffy2 | Jul 17, 2015 |

The Winter Sea was a beautiful novel. It's centered on a writer and her journey through time as she uncovers her ancestor, Sophie's journey at Slains castle during the Jacobite ordeal of '08.

Although I like historical fiction, I'm not a "history buff." Often I'm incredibly intimidated by history-- because I know so little of it. It's not that I knew little of what the hell the Jacobite ordeal of 08 was, I knew NOTHING of it before I read this book. Now, I know a little. Thing is, at times I felt completely overwhelmed and stupid while reading this book. The history sort of overwhelmed the plot at times, and I felt like I wanted to skip over the confusing names and dates that were piled together like a textbook. I like learning about history-- it can be interesting. But, for me, it can also be overwhelming. I guess that's why it's so difficult to write historical fiction without seeming like a book full of useless details. I found myself eagerly skimming until I could read the chapters set in the present time. The details of Sophie's chapters were just too much. It was like a scale where the balance was tipped and I just wanted it to be steady.

But I can't tell you how much I truly enjoyed the story as a whole. I loved the idea of "genetic memory"-- so fascinating! I also have a weakness for time travel romances that aren't romance romances, if you know what I mean. I liked Graham and Moray both and really enjoyed the romance aspect of the book.

All in all, it was an enjoyable story that broke my heart and then pieced it together again. If you're interested in this period in history, or don't mind some heavy history in small doses-- you'll love this book. I'll be reading more of Kearsley in the future. ( )
  Diamond.Dee. | Jul 3, 2015 |
This book contains a story within a story (Mise en abyme is the French term for this literary device, stemming from the practice in heraldry of placing the image of a small shield on a larger shield) using the clever conceit that the main character (in the present) is writing a book about a character in the past.

Carolyn (“Carrie”) McClelland, 31, travels to in Aberdeenshire, Scotland to see the ruins of Slains Castle (also known as New Slains Castle), for research for her new novel. She rents a cottage near the ruins from a local man, Jimmy Keith, who just happens to have two handsome (and single) sons, Stuart and Graham.

Carrie’s book is set at the time of the 1708 Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland, 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. [James is Jacobus in Latin. The Jacobite movement was not finally quashed until the 1746 Battle of Culloden, which readers of historical fiction will remember from Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series. Jacobites had to meet in secret, and there were many in Scotland who served either as spies or co-conspirators. This book brings us into the thick of the story, with much more historical background provided than is given in the “Outlander” series.]

While at the cottage working on her novel, the main protagonist of which is her ancestor Sophie Paterson, Carrie keeps having the sensation of déjà vu, and soon is forced to accept that she is somehow channeling Sophie’s memories. (The emphasis is not on the “paranormal”; Carrie consulted a local doctor, who told her there is a theory that ancestral memories can be transmitted by DNA.)

As Carrie continues to write (the chapters of her book, which stem more from Carrie’s unconscious than from any active effort on her part) are interspersed with chapters from the present day), what happens to her parallels, in some ways, what happens to Sophie.

Both stories are quite compelling, and you will feel much as Carrie’s agent does when Carrie gives her what she insists is the final chapter of the book.

Evaluation: This is an excellent book for fans of Diana Gabaldon (who actually should read this book first, since it not only precedes The Outlander Series in its historical framework, but provides great background information on the Jacobite Movement). There is plenty of history and romance, and there’s something irresistible (to Americans at any rate) about the Scottish setting, accents, and romantic style. (As I’ve mentioned before, when you add the historical backdrop of Scotland, you win over a large number of American women. Check the incredible number of books on Goodreads labeled “Highlander Romance.”) ( )
  nbmars | Jun 15, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susanna Kearsleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Landor, RosalynReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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"
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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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