Thursday, October 27, 2011
Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Carrie McClelland is a well-known writer in search of her next book. While beginning her research about the French-Jacobite invasion at Cruden Bay in France, she has a hard time capturing the voices for her new characters, her story is not evolving, she feels stuck. She knows that something is missing, she frequently travels when writing and doesn't understand why her characters won't unveil themselves. On her way to a Christening for her agent and best friend's child, Carrie goes to Scotland and accidentally discovers the ruins of Slain Castle. Carrie immediately feels a connection, and knows that she must come to Scotland. The Castle contains her characters, their story needs to be told. Carrie immediately goes back to France, picks up her few belonging and decides to move to Scotland. She sets herself up in a quaint cottage and begins her writing, working at night and in isolation, her novel begins to take shape. When her landlord learns that she is a writer, and working on a book containing the Slain Castle, he helps Carrie contact some local historians including his own son. Carrie is immediately drawn to her characters, and their voices come to her so easily, in fact this is the first time she is so drawn to her characters. While in search for a female character, Carrie remember Sophie Patterson, a distant cousin according to her father, the genealogist. Sophie quickly becomes the main character. A young girl, abused, abandoned and taken in by her wealthy Aunt. Sophie comes to Slain Castle expecting to be a hired hand, but her Aunt will not have family working in the Kitchen. She treats Sophie like one of her own children and Sophie's world is nothing like she imagined to could be. Carrie has no issues writing about Sophie, she's astonished when her fictional details are proven to have been real-life events that happened to Sophie. Carrie can't understand it, but it seems that she may have inherited the story of Sophie.
Susanna Kearsley intertwines two stories, the story of Carrie the writer, and Sophie Patterson. The past and present continually shift, capturing readers and leaving them wanting more. I loved reading both perspectives. When I was reading about Sophie, I was wondering about Carrie and vice-versa. I really loved the story, I was swept up in both worlds, and kept wanting to read more. Both stories are plotted out well, and readers can clearly deduce which world is being recounted. The story is moving, and the writing is superb. I had one issue with the story, Genetic memory. The flashes of memory that Carrie has been experiencing are said to have been genetic memories, memories contained in her DNA. I really didn't like this concept, it didn't feel right to me and not plausible. However, the overall story was amazing. I just couldn't settle for the genetic memory explanation..