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Showing 1-10 of 1,473 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,165 reviews
on September 19, 2017
This book is really two stories that flirt and eventually merge with one another. As an author of similar works, I found the present day story fascinating; every writer should recognize the signs when a book has taken hold and reality gives way to the voices in the head. I felt many times as though she was telling my story, the feeling that comes over the author as though the souls of the characters were taking up residence in the author's heart.
For the reader, there is also the story of 1708, told with the same artfulness and gentle passion that has so effortlessly wrapped itself around the reader that they don't even realize it until they are held rapt with every word. I am not one to read deep into the night but with this book I could not have avoided it if I'd tried. I had to find out what had happened to John and Sophia. Knowing the historical backdrop and the characters and events were real made it that much richer, like a fine tapestry one never wishes to lose. The only disappointment was reaching that final page knowing the story had ended. Fortunately, there are many more books by this author to explore.
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on June 3, 2017
Such a great read, I love how the story goes back and forth between the woman she is writing about and herself. It's a little slow to start but you end up really getting into it. Also the accents are a little difficult but try to use your imagination when you're reading those pieces I feel that helps. I read this with a book club at work and most of the ladies were just use to simple romance novels with not too much of a narrative. So they didn't really like it, I think this story has everything from history to romance to a little bit of suspense even! Great read, totally recommend it!
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on July 9, 2014
True to her talent for combining history with endearing romance, Kearsley interweaves the story of an actual event ini which King James attempts to return from France to take back his crown and the story of romance between the two historians dedicated to learning details about this event. She paints beautiful word pictures of the Scottish coast, builds character who are real, and, with a touch of supernatural, blends the stories perfectly. Again, and excellent read from Ms Kearsley.
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on October 20, 2011
This is my first book by Susanna Kearsley. I actually purchased it as an ebook and audiobook. I loved it in both formats - in fact, I often read along on my Kindle while listening to the audiobook (narrator: Rosalyn Landor). I truly had a difficult time taking breaks because I was so caught up in the story - or stories - of both modern-day Carrie and Jacobite Sophia. The characters were so real to me, as were the relationships - some true and faithful, some deceitful. I enjoyed the intensity of the love relationships of the couples whose stories are told, without all the unnecessary details. I also thoroughly appreciated learning more of the true history of the period. I have happily recommended this book to others and do so again here. It is a story to think about long after the read is done.
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on April 15, 2015
by Susanna Kearsley. Susanna is one of those extraordinary talented writers who is able to pull the reader into a different world of reality while bringing characters to life. She also has an amazing gift of weaving, in a supernatural way, two different stories from the past and the present seamlessly together while giving the reader a history lesson. I have learned quite a bit about Scotland's supporters of King James Stewart - the Jacobites. At the end of this book, Susanna explains about her research and the liberties she took for the story. I was able to find many of her 'past' characters' history online.

There are two main characters - in the present there is a historical fiction writer - Carolyn (Carrie) McClelland and in the past - Sophia is Carrie's main character based on her ancestor. Carrie soon finds herself so caught up in Sophia's story that she has a hard time telling what is real and what she is making up for the story. Sophia is living at the Slains Castle north of Edinburgh during the Jacobite uprisings. The Jacobites are fighting to return their king to his throne in 1708. There is intrigue, spies, and romance with a little supernatural to keep me turning the pages. The characters are strong and in depth. I like the way the women are portrayed as being thoughtful, strong, and aware of the political conditions they are living in at the time.
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on February 3, 2017
So compelling - simply draws you in.....by the end you so love these richly drawn, complex characters you simply don't want to give them up...
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on October 27, 2014
For a historical romance, it was a little heavy on the history. There were a few too many very long passages that read like a fairly stiff lecture for me. The story within a story device works, but I would have preferred the characters on both sides of the isle be a little less stock. Engaging they were, just not terribly original. All that said, she's a good writer. She just needs to break out of the mold and take some chances.
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on August 13, 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. I liked the dual plot lines involving present day Carrie McClelland struggling to write a novel about the Jacobite Rebellion of 1708. She turns to her own family history and begins channeling the memories of her ancestor Sophia and includes her story into the novel. Sophia was a character whose involvement seems to lay in the fringes of the action, but her main involvement develops when she falls in love with a visiting soldier. Theirs is a story of true love that is tested by separation and the betrayal and intrigue involved with the Jacobite Rebellion. Carrie, the author, is mystified by a flood of memories that envelop her when visiting the area near Slains Castle. She decides to stay in the area and continue using the memories for her novel which then develops quite quickly along with a romance involving a local. Overall, the book was quite easy to read, the characters were well developed, and the plot lines kept the pages turning. I would recommend this novel to readers of historical fiction.
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on December 26, 2014
I love Susanna Kearsley's style of writing. She can pull you into the story as if you are there. I like reading books that have two stories written within the one, that have a connection and bring the past and present of different time periods together. Her writing style is one that does it very well. Will be reading more from her in the future.
Here it is about a week after I finished it and this book is still on my brain. I even read another whole book(that was great also since then) And I still find myself captivated and thinking about this one. I was curious about the whole setting of this book and decided to Google 'Slains Castle' and the area this story was in. Using Google Earth was fantastic to get a view of the area and the Slains Castle still standing, in ruins of course. But it is an amazing site. A MUST do when you are reading this!
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on October 27, 2012
Most people will notice another review that comments on 'false advertising', and I have to agree.. whatever grand and dramatic claims appear on the back cover or publisher's blurb about this book are false and inaccurate.

Instead, this is indeed a slow telling of an old love story as it's being written by a modern novelist who finds herself involved in her own, parallel story.

The 17th C. "story within a story" takes place amidst a very well researched historical period and involves many real people, most of whom I've never heard of before. I happen to love history, especially when placed in its cultural context (rather than strictly about the wars and insider politics), so Ms. Kearsley hit all of the right notes for me with The Winter Sea. Her tale revolves around the attempts of the Scottish King, James III, and his group of Jacobite supporters, to regain the English throne from his half-sister, and centers on a small group of Scottish Nobles, Sea Captains, Soldiers, and even some Royalty.

The heroine of the historical story is Sophia, who is introduced as she arrives at her new 'home' (a castle on the Scottish coast above Edinburgh), with no idea that her new 'family' is secretly involved in grand schemes to return King James to Scotland and England. At first unsure of whom she should trust, Sophia gradually finds her place within the family, and shows her intelligence, maturity and natural ingenuity as the character grows and develops into a graceful young woman.

Her dashing hero will woo her with wit and charm, rather than brutality or domination, and while he will never threaten her in any way there is never any doubt that he is a brave, sexy, intelligent man with strong convictions and loyalties.

And (while some may see this as predictable or a fault), most of those characters will have their corresponding character in the modern day story as the novelist, Carrie, is mysteriously drawn through the writing of her novel in a small Scottish coastal village.

If you want daring deeds, bloody battles, larger than life drama, emotionally damaged heroes who need healing, scared and needy heroines who seek a man to take care of them, or speedy car chases and people leaping from burning buildings, this is not the book for you.

On the other hand, if you can be seduced slowly by beautiful scenery, poetic musings, true heroism as displayed by ordinary people, and love stories that develop at a leisurely pace through glances and the merest touch of a hand, then you will probably like this novel.

Even the 'bedroom' scenes (in both stories) are approached with a very tasteful, moderate and loving hand. Nothing is too explicit, and even the most modest reader should be satisfied with Ms. Kearsley's writing. (And for me, there was far more love evident between the heroines and their heros in these discreet, emotional scenes than there often is in most of the 'contemporary' romances available today.)

I don't usually like books written in the first person, but I thought that this was a very clever way to handle the past and present stories. Carrie in the 'now' (1st person) and Sopia in the 'past' (3rd person) were clearly demarcated, and I rarely had trouble knowing which story I was 'in' because of this literary device.

AND - I don't usually go for a 'paranormal' romance (or any story), but the handling of this was so adept that I bought into it completely. In no time I was believing (at least for the sake of THIS story) that Carrie's odd experiences with deja vu or memory were not only possible, but scientifically plausible.

My only small complaint is that early in the book, in order to get the historical part of the story going, there was a pretty big 'information dump'. The way the historical facts were handled improved through the book as different characters (in both stories) took up the sharing of factual info, but once in a while it got overwhelming and confusing.

It's very clear, upon reading several other reviews, that there's a book for everyone, but everyone will not like every book. This is one of the books for me. (And I'll take one of Ms. Kearsley's heroes, or even one of the fringe characters, any time!)
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