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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 (3306 )
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4.2 (2794 )
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Performance
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  •  
    areader 05-15-14
    areader 05-15-14

    Avid Audible Subscriber...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Winter Sea"

    Wonderful book with great narration. Can't wait for more by Susanna Kearsley and Rosalyn Landor!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 04-22-14
    Michele 04-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Such awful narration"
    What would have made The Winter Sea better?

    Someone else performing the narration


    What could Susanna Kearsley have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I don't know...I couldn't finish it.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rosalyn Landor’s performances?

    Not on your life.


    Any additional comments?

    I might buy the book and read it, but I couldn't finish listening to it. In fact, I didn't make it past the first chapter. Her voice, when not in character, is sooooo boring and condescending-ish. When she spoke in the character of the first person...it was better. But I just couldn't stomach any more after half an hour.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ml 04-04-14
    ml 04-04-14 Member Since 2009

    ml

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Irritating and dissappointing"
    What would have made The Winter Sea better?

    If the story had a better author and reader it could have been much better.


    What was most disappointing about Susanna Kearsley’s story?

    The entire line of this story just sounded like a "chick" story. It was all so phoney and self-important mesh of garbage feelings - much like a soap opera.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Maybe if the reader had performed it without nay of the stupid feelings written into the script. It would have been hard to actually improve this tripe.


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

    I was to disgusted to do anything more than sample here and there after the third chapter. By comparison, only the worst book I tried to listen to since I started listening to Audiobooks.


    Any additional comments?

    should have been much better

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Boulder, CO, United States 11-14-13
    Donna Boulder, CO, United States 11-14-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Once I stopped falling asleep to it, it was good."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The pace of the story dragged terribly. I couldn't fight it, so I used it fall asleep for weeks. Once the story picked up I could actually listen to stay awake, sort of.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A more sprightly tone of voice. But really it was a romance hiding as a historical novel, so it is par for the course.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, that's why I fell asleep.


    Could you see The Winter Sea being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I could. Natasha Richardson.


    Any additional comments?

    The end of the story is actually good. They say in the book that you can't end sad, and they work with that in a good way. I wish the whole book had been as captivating.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tkis 09-24-13
    tkis 09-24-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "If Gabaldon is a ten, this is a three."

    It's a kind of sweet story, but too self-referential, and it lacks that strong female character that is so wonderful in Gabaldon. I wouldn't compare them at all, if they weren’t both (superficially) concerned with a sort of time travel and Scottish history. In my opinion, there is no comparison. But I'm not looking for Scottish history, but a strong story, set in history, that shows compelling emotion and exciting action. This story does not deliver.

    And, as an aside, the heroine makes a decision in regard to her child that I find implausible at best, and disappointing at worst. As a mother, I don't think it's realistic. Unless the mother has her own self interest at heart, which is definitely not what the author seemed to be trying to convey.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JIMENA LAKEWOOD, CA, United States 09-11-13
    JIMENA LAKEWOOD, CA, United States 09-11-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Awful, slow, terribly boring."

    Nothing happened for hours. Finally gave up after 3 hours, could not take it anymore.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oheo Port Townsend, Wa. 05-30-13
    oheo Port Townsend, Wa. 05-30-13 Member Since 2013

    kacey

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "fomulaic Harlequin Romance!!"
    What disappointed you about The Winter Sea?

    It is difficult to write good first person narrative and Kearsley fails miserably at her attempt.


    What was most disappointing about Susanna Kearsley’s story?

    Most disappointing was the predictable formula and insultingly misplaced and misrepresented historical facts as she manipulated them into a formulaic romance novel. Also, her repeated use of similar descriptive terms and insertion of words such as Jacobite for effect rather than contextual significance.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The main narrator had a pleasant voice and it seems as if she was trying to put life into this boring tale. The male accents were the 'wee bit of fun' .The story developed so slowly that if the narrator matched the pace it would be post mortem!


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

    NO!!


    Any additional comments?

    Save your time and money. There are so many good books and so little time. A person who enjoys mindless twitter and fanciful gossip in the Harlequin Romance genre may love this book!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Laurel, United States Minor Outlying Islands 05-16-13
    Susan Laurel, United States Minor Outlying Islands 05-16-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overly sentimental and predictable"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Though this was well read, and I particularly liked the scottish voices, the story is weak. It is overly sentimental and romanticized. I found I could predict the author's next words as they tended toward the cliche and the obvious.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Freddy and Fredricka by Mark Helprin.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I quit part way through the second part as I was annoyed by the predictability of the authors lines.


    Any additional comments?

    This is easy to listen to and has a romantic appeal.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek 04-24-13
    Derek 04-24-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trite, predictable romance novel."
    Would you try another book from Susanna Kearsley and/or Rosalyn Landor?

    I would not based upon this novel. It's more Harlequin romance than historical fiction. Why do these writers tell you everything they are doing?


    Has The Winter Sea turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I stopped reading this type of patronizing romance novel stuff in my teens. I could predict every scene with the first few words of each sentence. It's strictly formulaic and reeks of the type of fantastical romance which create wrongful expectations for women. Bad, bad, bad.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Rosalyn Landor’s performances?

    No.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TLP NJ 04-12-13
    TLP NJ 04-12-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Okay story, predictable plot."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I really liked the idea of this book but I have to admit that I was looking forward to it being over. The history details were good and I enjoyed them, I am a fan of European history so it was right up my alley but it was a bit of a slow read for me.

    The ending was very predictable. It is easy to figure out what was going to happen to the main historical characters very early in the book. The author also sets the modern characters up very early so you know their outcome also. The voice of the main character seemed a little old to me. Maybe it was the slight accent but to me her voice just didn't fit right. Her many Scottish accents were well done though.

    Overall a slow read and a bit predictable. Not something I would listen to again.


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

    The history was interesting. I enjoyed that aspect of the book.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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