Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

The Winter Sea
Title: The Winter Sea
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Publisher: Sourcebooks December 1, 2010---Originally published 2008
Genre: Fiction
Labels: Historical Fiction, Scotland, Scottish History, 18th Century, Jacobite, James Stewart
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 544
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary: Carolyn McClelland, age 31, is a historical fiction author who's made a trip to Scotland to do research for her next book. While in Cruden Bay, Scotland she experiences dreams and visions that help create her book; but they also feel "real", as if she were living her heroines life in 18th century Scotland. Carolyn knew her ancestry had its beginnings in Scotland, but as The Winter Sea progresses she discovers factual data to her fiction book.

Positive Points:
  • The descriptions of the coastline, winter season, ocean, treacherous cliffs, and wild beauty of Scotland are all described in vivid detail. I could almost hear the wind howling and the waves of the ocean breaking against the coast line. 
  • The rural people of Cruden Bay, Scotland came to life for me. I could easily picture their faces, expressions, clothing, as well as hear their brogue. 
  • The Winter Sea goes back and forth through time, from early 18th century to our current time period. This could've gotten messy; I did not have a problem understanding where I was in time.
  • Through Carolyn I understand better how an author writes their story. I've heard authors remark before that their characters "live" in their head and speak to them. In The Winter Sea Carolyn showed me that she too heard her characters tell their stories. Carolyn would be fully involved in writing and miss meals or sleep. When her characters would begin telling her their story she would immediately begin to write, not wanting any kind of interruption. I also saw the research and commitment and patience and time it takes to create a book.
  • The Winter Sea is a sweet tender love story. The emphasis is on love, not a sensual intoxicating stream of nothingness. I loved the author showing through this story that love is faithful and tender and compassionate and persevering.
  • The Jacobite rebellion of the early 1700's is the difficult antagonist in this story. Will the rebellion tear families apart, will its men return, what will this mean for Scotland and its nationalism and independence.
  • I loved every part of The Winter Sea and found no negative points!
Susanna Kearsley website:

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $9.62
Kindle $7.99


  1. I've only read one of her books...but really enjoyed it. Her others have been highly reviewed as well. I have this on my Nook...will get to it one day!

  2. Your review makes me want to read this one! I will have to add The Winter Sea to my list. I haven't read any of Kearsley's books yet.
    Happy Reading!
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate

  3. I have wanted to read this book, and now your review makes me want to read it more. THANK YOU for your great review.

    I love books about Scotland and ones that go back and forth in time. Sounds so very good.


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