Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley



Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Pages: 544 
Source: Publisher  
 

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..

15 comments:

  1. I really liked this book too. I am looking forward to reading more books by Susanna Kearsley. I agree about the genetic memory.

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  2. I kind of liked the idea of genetic memory and was willing to suspend what common sense would have me believe. I think I read an interview with the author where she backed up the idea with some research. At any rate, it's the first book I read by Kearsley and I look forward to more. Did I read somewhere that a sequel or related book is coming? Maybe it's wishful thinking :)

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  3. I have never heard of genetic memories but you have me curious. I have heard this is an excellent book and hope to get to read it someday. Great review!

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  4. I have read a few reviews of this one, and they seem to be varying. I really like the sound of this book, and have been curious about it for some time now. I don't know how I would feel about genetic memory, but I am thinking I might have to give this book a try. Great review!

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  5. This is a new book to me! It sounds really interesting. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, despite the genetic memory explanation. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I also found it hard to accept the concept of genetic memory to the extent it played out in the story. Still, I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more by Susanna Kearsley.

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  7. Ooh I don't like that genetic memory concept either. But the rest sounds great!

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  8. I haven't heard of this one before so it was really fun to read your review! I like when we get dual perspectives like this, it always seems to add a little something extra to a story:)

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  9. I have actually have heard of this book before, but it never really got my full attention. Now after reading your review I'm not sure if this is the right book for me. I do love Historical fiction, but the concept is a bit so, so. :)

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  10. Every review I've read of this book has been raving. It sounds like one I'd enjoy.

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  11. I read The Rose Garden and loved it, so now I can't wait to read this one.

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  12. Hmmm....genetic memory...interesting concept. I actually have this one sitting on my shelf and your review has reminded me that I need to read it soon...perhaps this winter! I like the fact that it intertwines two stories. Great review!!

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  13. I liked the genetic memory thing, but yes it is a hard one to believe in

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  14. I really want to read this book this winter so I am glad to see you liked it!

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  15. I loved this one! The genetic memory thing didn't bother me. It's just a bit of fantasy. I'm working my way through Kearsley's backlist now!

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