When venturing into the historical fiction genre, I’m often drawn to specific, brief events that were either glossed over or left entirely out of the history books, as opposed to those that cover broad subjects that can be densely overwhelming. Given a subject like Henry XIII and his wives or Joan of Arc, both popular subjects of the genre, an author could easily lose an audience to an overwhelming amount of explanation and facts. Instead, Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea offers a narrow, controlled exploration of a lesser known event, the 1708 Jacobite failed uprising by James Stewart against William of Orange and Mary Stewart to reclaim the throne. It is an enthralling story that makes the facts and descriptions of the people and places surrounding the uprising much more palatable and absorbing.
The Winter Sea also offers a unique narrative format. Main character and popular historical fiction novelist Carrie McClelland rents a cottage for the summer on the coast of Scotland, not far from Slain Castle (where she sets her story) and where the Jacobite uprising occurred centuries ago. Thus, The Winter Sea has two narratives: McClelland in present day Scotland, writing her novel; and McClelland’s novel, a work in progress detailing the Jacobite uprising in 1708 Scotland. Such a narrative format is fodder for narrator Rosalyn Landor, whose performance skillfully embodies the complex mind of a writer. Her voicing of Carrie is investigative, creative, imaginative, and discerning. Her deep, expressive tone allows her the versatility to voice the myriad supporting characters, both male and female, past and present. The dreamlike writing sequences of McClelland writing her novel really sing under Landor’s rendering. With Landor as a guide, it’s easy to lose yourself in The Winter Sea’s journey through Scotland and through history.
The Winter Sea confidently flourishes in the intrigue surrounding this political uprising, while also offering the accommodating narrative device of delivering the story through the mind of a writer. Kearsley and Landor together remind us that history does not have to get bogged down by the facts, but instead can be thrilling, suspenseful, and imaginative, especially when presented from a unique perspective. Suzanne Day
History has all but forgotten...
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...
Please note: This novel has also been published under a different title: Sophia's Secret.
Please note, this title is the original recording, which is now known as Sophia's Secret
©2010 Susanna Kearsley (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Rosalyn Landor provides delightful Scottish accents for many of the characters Carrie meets inside and outside her novel....Landor adds a poetic edge to her storytelling while at the same time giving a dreamy aura to the historical side of the story." (Audiofile)
Interested in historical fiction, intriguing characters and foreign cultures.
Romance novel enthusiasts might enjoy this type of fluff. I prefer intriguing characters in intriguing situations.
Utterly boring yawnfest. Couldn't force myself to finish the 1st half.
I couldn't understand most of what
Descriptions of interiors. Scenes with her agent and her baby.
This was an engaging read, with interesting historical references. I enjoyed the parallel story lines, and the very plausible concept of genetic memory, but I don't think this book can be compared to Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Other than it's historical foundation, which many books have, I'm not seeing the connection except as an advertising gimmick.
The narration was pleasant, but sometimes a bit monotone; however, that's probably much better than a narration that sounds like fingernails down a blackboard!
A little action in the story would have made this a better book.
My next book is the Percy Jackson books. I like the easy story telling, which this is not..
I liked the voice of the narrator, but I didn't understand all of the dialects. (I'm from Norway, so scotch is hard)
I think you will like this book if you like stories about dukes and castles and stuff, The major part of the story is based on 1700 (if my memory is correct)
I kept listening for the sheer enjoyment of Sophie's story. The narrator wasn't as bad as some of the reviews would imply. The story got bogged down in minutia and was predictable at times. I am familiar with the Scottish brogue and it is clear Rosalyn Landor did her homework. Rosalyn could have done a better job differentiating the father's voice from the son's, not so much changing the voices but "old" Scot verses "new" Scot.
I was so completely bored with the endless historical facts. I felt the characters were bored with all the facts too. It was like being lectured to for what seemed like forever. I kept shouting at the speaker, I don't care-- I really don't care!
Oh goody! A book in and about Scotland! Oh goody! If you like Gabaldon you'll like the Winter Sea.
Except that Galbaldon can WRITE and poor Susanna Kearsley hasn't a clue. Her stick figures pratter and chirp away about history like they are reading from their junior high textbook.
I'll give her this -- she can really title a book. When I saw The Rose Garden offered I almost put it on my wish list until I saw who the author is.
Narration doesn't do anything to help this along, but don't think even Barbara Rosenblat could rescue this one.
The Winter Sea was different than I had thought when I downloaded my Unabridged version. I don't like the narrator. Especially when she starts to speak Irish with a strong accent so you can't understand a word she is saying.
Well I was disapointed and gave up listening.
Don't know. I gave up listening.
I couldn't even get past the first few chapters. The narrator's voice and acting was really off-putting to me. I've decided to read a copy instead of enduring the recording.
I loved this book within a book. Whenever the historic tale became dreary and sad, I looked forward to the modern tale which was no less romantic (just lighter). I also loved the idea that she was sort of channeling the tale....metaphysical folks may say she tapped into the Akashic records but I like the DNA explanation as well. All fun food for thought. Landor isn't quite Davina Porter who is unbeatable as a narrator but she does a good job. I loved her voice for Moray and Graham.
Other than a history lesson, the story was quite predictable. The narration of the main character annoying and seems too mature. However, she did decent vocals with the others . If you are a Gabaldon "Outlander" fan, this is a poor comparison. Sorry, but I cannot give this story higher reviews.
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