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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