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Winter Sea, The Hardcover – 24 Mar 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Please note that this book was previously published as Sophia's Secret, the content of both titles is the same.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (24 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749080973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749080976
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 21.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This latest offering from Susanna Kearsley is a uniquely plotted tale of love and intrigue that spans history/time. Her dual story line reminds one of a "Barbara Erskine" novel, but Kearsley makes the plot all her own.

Historical author Carrie Mclelland travels to Scotland to visit her agent only to be lured by the solitary beauty of Slains Castle. When she finds her muse has taken on a new persona in the shape of a young women from her familial past, she finds a new direction for her work-in-progress in Scotland not France. As the story Carrie had intended to write unfolds in this new way she can't explain the hold the history of the area and the people has on her. What's even weirder she quickly learns (after the fact of writing it) that what she writes from her imagination has strong elements of the actual facts that are disclosed by those around her. Fearing she might be insane, she wonders if maybe this is genetic memory shared from her ancestor Sophia Paterson, the protagonist narrator of her book?

When she meets the Keith brothers she finds that maybe what is happening in the present is somehow linked with her ancestor of the past and until the final pages of her story are written she won't know her own future?

The book is so beautifully written the reader will feel they are right there on the northeast coast of Scotland; one can almost taste the salt-laced wind. She has created memorable characters both in the present and past that the reader will not want to let go once the last page is turned. Clearly she has done her research and it is wonderful to find a plot that isn't sunk in all the Jacobite romance of Culloden, but embraces a time period of Scottish history not often written about in fiction-1708.

I savored every page of the journey Carrie/Sophia made. A must read for those who like historical fiction with a unique twist linking present to past.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have enjoyed previous books by Susanna Kearsley, and who would not?, be warned that the book entitled Sophia's Secret, to be published on 22.9.08 is the same book as the Winter Sea. I do wish authors would not allow publishers to do this!!!! It would avoid much disappointment for readers.
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Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: It wasn't chance.

Bestselling author Carrie McClelland comes from France, where she is working on a book related to the 1708 attempted return of James Stewart to regain his throne. On the way to the christening of her friend and agent's baby, she takes a side road and is drawn to Slain Castle.

Deciding to move from France to Scotland, she rents a cottage new Slain and finds her connection to the old castle is closer even than her ancestor who once lived there.

This is not a gothic, time travel or a torrid romance. It is a flawlessly crafted novel set in two time periods with a romantic relationship in each. From the first page, I was immersed in the story. Kearsley's sense of place is evocative; I was with the characters in sight, sound and even smell.

Her characters became real to me. In the present day, Carrie is a wonderful protagonist; smart and independent, as is Sophie in the past. Surrounded by a strong group of supporting characters, I felt I could sit down and have a chat with any of them. The plot is so well done and flows beautifully between the two time periods.

Kearsley is an excellent writer. There is a lot of factual information in the story, but it is incorporated as part of the story and through dialogue; thus never taking you out of the story or causing you to question her facts. After the end of the story, she very clear about what liberties she did take, and those were few. The explanation used for the link from the present to the past was fascinating and one with which I was unfamiliar.

At the same time, there was nothing dry about this book; I did laugh, I did cry, at times, my heart beat a bit faster from suspense and romance and I absolutely loved the endings.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed The Rose Garden, I thought I'd find other books by the same author. I enjoyed this even more, although I saw the twist coming at the end. The setting was vividly described and, like other readers, I liked finding out about a period in history not usually featured in books about Scotland. A really good beach read. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Susanna Kearsley's "The Winter Sea," is a darn good read. From the opening pages, her words flow like that of an old friend, lulling the reader into a comfortable sense of satisfaction that has one wishing that as the pages turn, more pages will mysteriously appear to allow this particular treat to be savored longer.

In the great romantic/suspense tradition of Mary Stewart--who in my opinion retains the grand old dame seat for positioning her damsels in distress with the most literary language and in magical venues that act as characters while crafting a plotline that withstands the test of time and achieves levels of sophistication and nuance that most of today's writers can't even fathom--Kearsley's heroine finds herself in an abnormal situation but not of the usual predictable formulaic fabrication. Like Stewart's ladies, she possesses intelligence and a degree of fierce tenacity that fits with the sensibilities of the 21st century yet the telling of her tale relies on subtlety to convey that extra oomph that propels this one beyond the ordinary overly sentimental romantic confection that lends to knowing the ending before even reaching the midpoint of its pages.

Instead of the usual potboiler revolving around murder, kidnapping or the plight of a helpless child, Kearsley manages to interject an element of the supernatural into each of her stories. "The Winter Sea" cleverly relies heavily on such a premise--in this case, genetic memory and uncontrolled yet compelling voices from the past--but with such a light and deft professional touch that the reader becomes more absorbed with rather than skeptical of a turn of events more akin to the horror anecdotes of Barbara Erskine than Stewart or Victoria Holt.
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