- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 54 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: July 12, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005C7QV18
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Winter Sea Audiobook – Unabridged
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This is really two stories in one. The first is that of Carrie, a historical fiction writer, who wants to tell the story of James Stewart, whose throne was stolen from him and his Jacobite supporters, especially Nathaniel Hooke. She’s been attempting to write in France at the palace of St Germain where Stewart lived in exile, but finds no inspiration there. On a chance visit to her agent in Scotland, she stumbles upon Slains Castle, and hears the voices of her characters finally come to life. As she writes, she discovers many details are history, with not a shred of fiction.
We are also given access to the story she is writing, and the chapters frequently alter between past and present. The story she writes is of Sophia, who finds herself in the household of the Countess of Errol, a staunch Jacobite. This is the story that really stole the show though I hadn’t expected it to. Sophia is not an active player in the Jacobite uprisings, merely a passive observer for the most part, but her story is both joyful and tragic, enchanting and haunting. I ripped through these pages as I cannot recall having done in months.
The romance is told beautifully. There are no sex scenes (they merely fade to black) and I think perhaps that is the most appealing aspect of the entire novel. It allowed the romance itself to take center stage and truly be felt by the reader. Though I could not tell you much about the truth of these events as the author has written them, I was impressed by the afterword (which I always read!) and it seemed to me that she had done very thorough research and perhaps even included a couple of the locals of Cruden Bay in Carrie’s story.
The writing was superb, even if the Doric speech was almost untranslatable to my eyes. But it is Scotland and it lent the story a great deal of authenticity.
I will definitely be checking out Kearsley’s other works in the future (I’ve been eyeing The Firebird for awhile) and would heartily recommend this to fans of historical romance and certainly to fans of Outlander and Diana Gabaldon.
What follows is the story of Carrie staying in the small Scottish town of Cruden Bay and becoming intimately involved with its local residents, who provide her with vast information that lends to the research for her book. All is good, until, she starts receiving visions of a past time taking place at Slains, which seem to be coming from within her subconscious mind while she sleeps or types, which causes her to start feeling as if her writing, is somehow being guided. The problem seems to be that as her research continues, her prior visions begin to be validated by her research.
I found this book to be an easy read and good story, with its jumping back and forth between the mid-1700s and current day. The author (Susanna Kearsley) does a wonderful job of melding, what seems to be the same characters, but are in-fact different individuals from the two periods in time. Sort of the author (Susan) writing a story about a writer (Carrie) who is receiving subconscious messages or stories from Sophie (the character in the early 1700s).
In The Winter Sea, Susanna Kearsley mixes several genres utilizing a parallel storytelling that I happen to love. What does that mean? Well it means that the book is about a successful historical fiction novelist, Carrie McClelland, who decides to write her next novel using one of her ancestors as the persona for the novel. As she's writing the book, it is written in the book. Read: two entire books for the price of one.
As she writes the book and confirming her book with research, all of the small details- details she could not have known- start cropping up, and she starts wondering if maybe her historical fiction novel is not fictional after all. Also, Carrie's storyline has a scenic backdrop and a whole love interest thing that is all written rather well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing was incredibly matched to the subject matter, and Kearsley did not break the flow of writing once. I have not been so fully immersed in a book since before I was in college, and as a graduating senior who absolutely adores reading, that is saying quite a bit.
That said, it wrecked me (to utilize colloquial slanguage). The book made me fall in love with both it and all of its characters, and when anything negative happened to them, I truly felt it. Reflecting on this, I feel that Susanna Kearsley has tapped into a deeper understanding of human nature than I have.
This book truly reminded me why I love to read. It had been such a long time that I had nearly forgotten getting completely caught up in a story and the experience of losing myself. I would recommend this book to those who like historical fiction but want something a little different.
This very set-up doesn't bring enough action for my tastes.