Carrie McClelland is hard at work at her next novel, a historical fiction based on a failed invasion by the Jacobites along the northern coast of Scotland in 1708. Though she has never been a fast writer, Carrie writes at a super fast pace once she settles into a cottage not far from the Slains Castle, which may have provided Bram Stoker with inspiration to write Dracula. Carrie writes her new novel from the perspective of Sophia, the name of one of her ancestors. While Carrie researches as she writes, she is astounded to learn that much of the “fiction” she thought she had written is actually “fact”.
As Carrie begins a relationship with the son of her landlord, she begins to work this wonderful man into her fictional novel as well. Just what is going on with Carrie? Is Sophia somehow communicating with Carrie through her writing, and if so, what is she trying to relay?
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is a breathtaking novel that spans across the centuries and comes to a head in modern day Scotland. For the price of one book, the reader gets two stories: a modern day romance between Carrie and Grahame as well as a historical romance between Sophia and John Moray. Each couple’s story could easily have dominated their very own novel, but their parallelling romances complemented each other nicely. Kearsley’s writing style beautifully spells out the mood for this novel; this is a great reading recommendation for anyone who enjoyed the works of Kate Morton or Joanne Rendell.
As someone who takes great pleasure in writing my own fiction, I loved Carrie’s descriptions of her writing process. I found it fascinating to see the similarities between our routines as well as the subtle differences. Anyone who is interested in being a writer could benefit greatly from those passages.
The Winter Sea was a terrific introduction to Susanna Kearsley’s writing; I will definitely be looking for her future publications as well as back tracking and discovering some of her earlier works.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Sourcebooks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.