Book Review – Winter Sea (Slains #1)

June 17, 2016 Reviews 2 ★★★★½

Book Review – Winter Sea (Slains #1)The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Series: Slains #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date Published: December 1st 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Literary, Romance, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Pages: 536
Rating: four-half-stars
Description: New York Times and USA Today Bestseller! Fans of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series will devour this hauntingly beautiful tale of love and time travel by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley. History has all but forgotten... In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded 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 own 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 knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

Lynnpic Lynn’s Review:

If you read my TWHS post last week, here’s my review for Winter Sea. If you didn’t, shame on you! Read it now. I’ll wait. 

Winter Sea is two books for the price of one. Carrie is an author, writing about the Jacobites in 1708 Scotland. Her main character is Sophia. Both find great men and fall in love. It’s the interconnections between the story lines that make this book. Ms. Kearsley does an amazing job with this book, winding in and out of the two stories, connecting the characters and the settings. But I think for simplicity, I’m going to review the two story lines separately.

The modern story:

Carrie is an author, working on a novel about early 18th Century Scotland. For inspiration, she rents a cottage in the near Slains Castle, where her novel is set. Carrie’s father has conducted extensive ancestral research, which she uses as a starting point for her novel. On her first visit to Slains, she meets Graham, and his dog Angus. Graham is a history professor. Carrie is quickly infatuated with Graham, and bases the male character of her novel on him. And, I think most importantly, Graham understands Carrie, and her singular focus while writing. After spending a weekend together, he puts Carrie on the bus home. Because

But no true Scot would let his woman waste her thirty pounds to take a taxi when the bus can get her there for five.

Practical AND romantic! 

The historical story:

Sophia is based on Carrie’s ancestor. She’s had a difficult life. Both parents and older sister have passed away. At the beginning of the novel, she’s travelling to Slains Castle to stay with family after the death of her uncle. At Slains, she meets a number of Jacobites, including John Morey. Sophia and Morey find easy companionship, which soon turns to love.  But Morey is a soldier, and must return to France. Thus ensues the heartache in Winter Sea. Here is a great quote, capturing how Sophia feels about winter, and Morey’s absence:

there is no sight so melancholy as the winter sea, for it does tell us we are truly at the ending of the year, and all its days are passed, its days of joy and sorrow that will never come again.

My heart broke for Sophia. And like Sophia, I waited for King James to attempt to reclaim the throne. Not for the sake of the throne. But because it meant the return of Morey. But we know now, James, and Morey, do not return as Sophia hopes.  Did I predict the ending for Sophia and Morey? No. But I sure hoped for it.

In addition to Sophia and Morey, I really enjoyed the secondary characters in the historical portion of Winter Sea. The Countess of Enroll was a confident woman, moving the chess pieces of the Jacobites around with aplomb. Colonel Graeme, Morey’s uncle, helps support and protect Sophia when she needs it the most. 

 And this painting really reminds me of Morey and Sophia. Hopefully, it’s not too spoiler-y.

On A Sailing Ship by Caspar David Friedrich


I realize, that like Winter Sea (which clocks in at 584 pages), this review is rather long. So, here’s the short version: Well Written. Clever interconnections between the two story lines. Relateable female characters. Multiple dreamy male characters. Anyone who enjoyed Outlander would also enjoy Winter Sea. Check it out. 

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Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

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