Friday, November 19, 2010

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

My mother got me hooked on historical fiction set in Scotland - both romances and adventure stories.  Susan Kearsley's The Winter Sea which comes out on December 1, 2010 tells the story of Carrie McClelland, a woman writer in the present who is writing a historical novel set in Scotland in 1708.   Somehow, Carrie McClelland's characters turn out to be based in fact and not just her imagination...

The Winter Sea

The blurb:
History has all but forgotten. . .

In the Spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeed 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 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. . .

In Carrie McClelland, Susanna Kearsley gives us an interesting lead character.  Carrie's a bestselling author who specializes in historical fiction and it's fascinating to read about her life.  Each time she begins a novel, she moves to the place where her novel is set - she lives there, gets to know the topography, the people, culture and history.  The place starts to speak to her and the characters come alive.  When the book opens, she is living in a cottage in France and heads to Scotland to meet her literary agent.  During the trip to Scotland, something calls out to her and she decides to relocate herself and her characters from France to Scotland.

Suddenly, in Scotland, everything comes together.  Carrie creates Sophia Paterson, named in part after Carrie's ancestor.  The story comes together quickly, almost as if Carrie inexplicably knows details of the real Sophia's life.  As Carrie meets a handsome stranger, her life -- and growing romance -- echoes that of her main character.  And both stories draw you in with the romance,  plot twists, and engaging characters.

I loved The Winter Sea. It drew me in from the start and I found myself reading faster and faster just to find out what would happen next to Sophia and to Carrie.  If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend The Winter Sea.

ISBN-10: 1402241372 - Paperback $16.99
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. (December 1, 2010), 544 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
After studying politics and international development at university, Susanna Kearsley worked as a museum curato before turning her hand to writing.  Winner of the UK's Catherine Cookson Fiction prize, 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.  The Winter Sea was a finalist for both a RITA award and the UK's Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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