The Winter Sea (Slains #1)


Rating: 5 Stars
Published: January 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction

Carolyn McClelland is a writer working on her newest novel. She writes historical fiction and wants to immerse herself in the location she’s writing about. After spending months in France, she realizes her story is begging to be told from a castle, now ruins, on the coast of Scotland. When she gets to Slains, she realizes that her novel might be edging more to fact than fiction. She named her heroine, Sophia, after an ancestor and is having the weirdest sense of déjà vu when researching information while writing words that long to be written.

Oh Susanna. I am always so captivated. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love being able to gain a deeper understanding of the past or of a certain country when reading. Scotland will always hold a special place in my heart and reading this novel makes me want to go back so badly. In my ideal world, I’m a writer and even since I was in Scotland, I knew I wanted to write there for a little while. I connected so much with this book because Carrie is able to fulfill one of my dreams.

When the chapters were written of Sophia and Slains, it felt so real. That’s what good historical fiction (or any good writing) does. It did get a little heavy with the details of battle that sometimes went over my head but it ultimately gave me a better understanding of the Jacobite revolution.

Oomph. This is one of those books that you read and you fall in love. I was falling for Mr. Moray / Graham right along with Sophia/ Carrie. It had my heart all in a pitter patter.

Never mind just falling in love with the characters, I fell in love with the book, too. I treasure this story. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and live my life as the heroines. I wish I was Carrie. She and I are a lot alike, I think. She says in the book, “There’s a line in The Barretts of Wimpole Street – you know, the play – where Elizabeth Barrett is trying to work out the meaning of one of Robert Browning’s poems, and she shows it to him, and he reads it and he tells her when he wrote that poem, only God and Robert Browning knew what it meant, and now only God knows. And that’s how I feel about studying English. Who knows what the writer was thinking, and why should it matter? I’d rather just read for enjoyment.” It’s exactly how I feel about reading as well! 

I’ve never had one of those moments. The magic and whoosh of feelings in a first kiss. And they have to exist right? I mean, they can’t all be entirely imagined. All my first kisses have been awkward. And I know nothing will be like how it’s written in books, but I would like a moment to try. For now, I will relish books like these that make me hope.

So, some details and slight character development were missing but I honestly didn’t notice until the book was over.  I think that some books just don’t need certain elements.  It was Graham & Carrie’s relationship that seemed to spawn out of nowhere (though of course, rooting for them all the way).  I don’t think the story really lacked anything for that detail, I was perfectly happy the way it was but it didn’t show a lot of their connection.

This is only my third Susanna Kearsley book but I can say with certainty that she is one of my favorite authors. I can say nothing but good things about this novel. It made me feel the whole range of emotions. I was in love and I was heartbroken and crying. This will surely be a book that I will come back to for comfort. It was just such a joy to read.

I’m having a book hangover with this one.  I can’t stop thinking about it. Now I want to go back and reread The Firebird and read about Anna. It’s one of my favorite books so I won’t mind one bit.  The Firebird is a sequel of sorts. It has some of the same historical characters but the story line and the premise are different. In no way do you have to read one to read the other but it’s a nice continuation of Anna’s story.

Susanna has has a new novel due out on April 7, 2015, A Desperate Fortune, that I cannot wait to get my hands on.


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