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The Winter Sea | [Susanna Kearsley]

The Winter Sea

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 best-selling 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 then she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction....
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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Romance, 2012

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2857 )
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4.2 (2402 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Christine Arlington, MA, United States 04-28-12
    Christine Arlington, MA, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad narration detracts from light read"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I enjoyed the story fine, but the bad Scottish accents by the narrator were incredibly distracting to listen to, so I only read the book the old-fashioned way. There goes my monthly credit. :-( Like many others, I was recommended this by audible because I had just listened to the Outlander series. That narrator did such a fine job, not just with the Scottish accents but also with the characters, that I was able to listen for hours while cooking, driving, you name it.

    The novel itself is a nice light mixture of historical fiction and romance -- not up to the caliber of the Outlander series certainly, but enjoyable enough. Just stick to the print version and you'll probably enjoy it too.


    What other book might you compare The Winter Sea to and why?

    It reminded me of Nora Roberts' Donovan Legacy series more so than Outlander.


    What didn’t you like about Rosalyn Landor’s performance?

    In contrast to the narrator for Outlander, Rosalyn Landor was so awkward with the Scottish accents and male characters as to sound almost mechanical at times. I tried a couple of times to listen to her, but I had to turn it off after 10 minutes.


    Did The Winter Sea inspire you to do anything?

    It's just a light read, not inspiring.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine phenix city, AL, United States 04-26-12
    Catherine phenix city, AL, United States 04-26-12 Member Since 2010

    mzcatdragon

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "A exquisite story poorly delivered."
    If you could sum up The Winter Sea in three words, what would they be?

    History, Love-story, Compelling


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story is lovely, riveting, real, relatable, fun, quirky, sadly sweet, and happy ending. Kearsley takes you right into the world of the Jacabites and their contemporaries in a real and intrinsic way. She makes you love the main character and relate to her as well as the historical characters. Their lives and relationships feel so real and compelling. She makes you feel you are an active participant in the story. Her writing is fresh and comfortable at the same time.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was monotone at times, the voices and accents were not believable and often hard to listen to. It was a great disappointment to find that such a wonderful story was marred by such a bad narration. It would have been better to read the book and create the narration in my own head rather than listen to this poor narration.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many moving moments in the story, from the first chapter where the main character is inexplicably drawn to an unknown castle to the end where the female historical character is reunited with her lover. The story is so well written you will not be able to stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    I would love to listen to this story again narrated by someone else. A more youthful, feminine and pleasing voice choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mokhe 03-08-12
    Mokhe 03-08-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    35
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    Story
    "Flop"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Character development. I didn't care if they lived or died because they were so under developed.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Though a lot of people didn't like the narrator, she didn't bother me that much. But the grandour in her voice implied the story was more epic and interesting than it actually was.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    No, no redeeming qualities. I can enjoy a slow book if it is beautifully written or rewards you with intelligence and a good ending, this has none of those qualities. I finished this story because I paid for it, but what a waste of time. Only someone truly starved for anything Outlander could compare The Winter Sea to Diana Gabaldon's novels. This story is extremely contrived.

    Everyone enjoys different books and this is just my opinion, but if you enjoy the magic, history, action and rich characters of Diana Gabaldon's books like I did, you will feel starved listening to The Winter Sea.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Port Pirie, Australia 02-03-12
    Mary Port Pirie, Australia 02-03-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    14
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    Story
    "A bit drawn out"
    Would you try another book from Susanna Kearsley and/or Rosalyn Landor?

    Probably not


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Information about that period in Scotland's history was very interesting.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Rosalyn Landor?

    Probably not


    Was The Winter Sea worth the listening time?

    I ended up skipping a lot of it as the story seemed so drawn out. I was more interested in the modern day love story than the earlier one.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a romance which is not my interest area. However the history was very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carrie North Texas, United States 01-21-12
    carrie North Texas, United States 01-21-12

    Interested in historical fiction, intriguing characters and foreign cultures.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    9
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    Story
    "Don't know how this has 4-stars."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Romance novel enthusiasts might enjoy this type of fluff. I prefer intriguing characters in intriguing situations.


    What was most disappointing about Susanna Kearsley’s story?

    Utterly boring yawnfest. Couldn't force myself to finish the 1st half.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I couldn't understand most of what


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Winter Sea?

    Descriptions of interiors. Scenes with her agent and her baby.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy LAGUNA BEACH, CA, United States 12-08-11
    Cindy LAGUNA BEACH, CA, United States 12-08-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "An Engaging Read"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Line oslo, Norway 11-04-11
    Line oslo, Norway 11-04-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    15
    10
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    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A little action in the story would have made this a better book.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    My next book is the Percy Jackson books. I like the easy story telling, which this is not..


    How could the performance have been better?

    I liked the voice of the narrator, but I didn't understand all of the dialects. (I'm from Norway, so scotch is hard)


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    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)


    Any additional comments?

    It's a

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg 11-02-11
    Meg 11-02-11
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    "Not bad but...no Diana Gabaldon Outlander series"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Sterling, United States Minor Outlying Islands 11-02-11
    Colleen Sterling, United States Minor Outlying Islands 11-02-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
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    3
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    "Sooo Boring"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine SILVER SPRING, MD, United States 11-01-11
    Catherine SILVER SPRING, MD, United States 11-01-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Drowned by the cold boring Winter Sea"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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