Length: 527 pages
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…
Here’s what I thought:
I was supposed to read this book last month for a readalong that Christine was hosting, but after starting it and failing to be hooked after the first few pages, I have to confess that I put this one to the side for a while (sorry, Christine!)
When I finally picked it back up, The Winter Sea and I got along quite nicely. It just goes to show that it’s worth giving a book a second chance–sometimes the timing just isn’t right. Although it does start out a bit slowly, the storyline that emerges is an interesting one which jumps back and forth between the past and the present. The historical context of the failed Jacobite revolution of 1708 was not one with which I was familiar, and I enjoyed learning about it through the eyes of the young heroine, Sophia.
The modern-day story of Carrie the writer was even more fascinating to me, though, even if it is less action-packed. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Carrie’s writing process, how she is “taken over” in a sense by the historical characters who speak through her and come to life in her writing. I liked the secondary characters who live in the village near Slains Castle as well, and I thought the ending was satisfying if a bit predictable.
Despite the slow start, I ended up really enjoying this book and I’m looking forward to reading more of Susanna Kearsley’s writing in the future.
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