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The Winter Sea Audiobook

The Winter Sea

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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

4.1 (4911 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Western Canada 02-04-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Easy listening and a great escape"
    If you could sum up The Winter Sea in three words, what would they be?

    A rewarding diversion


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Graham who plays the solid, comfortable, self-confident male.


    Have you listened to any of Rosalyn Landor’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but really enjoyed the performance.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I usually go for intense, weighty stories but this was a delightful escape, easy to listen to and enjoy. The author developed a creative story line, which when coupled with Landor's performance, became a very satisfying listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 02-03-12
    Suzanne 02-03-12

    Suzanne

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    "Not quite what I thought it would be...."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Winter Sea to be better than the print version?

    Yes, I love the hearing the various brogues; but, wouldn't want to read them. That adds so much.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Susanna Kearsley? Why or why not?

    Yes. I like the style, but I was disappointed in this book at the constant repeats of phrases.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Absolutely, the goodbye scenes were powerful. It wasn't my favorite, but made me cry - weep - when the Heroine says goodbye to her daughter. The cut curl exchange absolutely put me over the edge.<br/><br/>I did love the author's expressed appreciation of the sea and how the sea was in her blood.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Winter Sea and why?

    The Adm. Uncle was my most memorable character. I love the way he was always watching, protecting and teaching. Also, the author wove him in and out of the story with what he had been doing somewhat of a mystery at times. In many ways, he actually was the hero.


    Any additional comments?

    Why was I disappointed? When I read the summary of the book, I thought that it would be historical in nature with some writer's license to build the historical characters into the story to help bring facts to real life. Specifically, why would the author spend so much time in Paris and yet not really tie it into the story? And the story in history hardly told is still - in my mind - still hardly told. Maybe I just missed something in the message carriers coming and going and the ships fighting. I definitely didn't get the Queen's interest in the heroine.<br/><br/>With all that said, I did really enjoy this book and will no doubt listen to it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmen 01-14-12
    Carmen 01-14-12
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    "An All-Time Favorite"

    Excellent historical fiction book with a whiff of time travel without being sci-fi or a too-heavy history lesson. I love everything I've read by Susanna Kearsley and wish audible had more of her works. Good characters, excellent narration and thoroughly enjoyable. I have re-listened to it several times and will always keep it handy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Winder, GA, United States 01-12-12
    Kristi Winder, GA, United States 01-12-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Trite and Predictable"

    This was billed as being like Diana Gabaldon's books, which I quite enjoyed, but it did not live up to that standard. There was precious little history in this so-called historical fiction. The characters in the past are minor players, with little insight given to real historical figures and without even much attempt made to portray the daily life of the times. They were also not particularly well developed or engaging. As for the modern day part of the story, the "genetic memory" quackery made my teeth grind. I have no problem enjoying the pure fantasy of ancestral memories or ghosts or mystic visions of the past, but the book's attempt to make itself "real" with psuedoscientific mumbo-jumbo about DNA was absolutely ridiculous. DNA does NOT encode memories!!!! I suppose this book might not be so bad if you're looking for a shallow romance novel, and don't really care about science or history, but I found it to be mostly annoying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandi Coyle, OK, United States 01-09-12
    Sandi Coyle, OK, United States 01-09-12
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    "Very innovative and interesting story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Winter Sea to be better than the print version?

    I wouldn't know, I did not read the print version.


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

    It was a new experience for me. Although I love historical romance, I don't like much history. This story wove history and modernity so wonderfully. I could hardly turn it off to go to sleep. If it wasn't the historical character holding my interest, it was the modern author. It was even more wonderful for lack of sexual content, I can even let my young granddaughter listen to it. Very intriguing book!


    What about Rosalyn Landor’s performance did you like?

    Everything. Very absorbing with the differences in geographical inflections!


    If you could take any character from The Winter Sea out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Definately the Author. Very interesting character. Interestingly combining


    Any additional comments?

    These are the kinds of books that should become classics. Very well-written, has a moral, and interesting history thrown in!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erie 01-07-12
    Erie 01-07-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Holy Cow ... Best Audio Book Ever"
    What did you love best about The Winter Sea?

    It was an amazing story with wonderful fun characters that had so much personality I could see their facial expressions and jesters in my mind’s eye


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

    Well I just started reading the rose garden


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I couldn't possibly pick one


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I actually called in sick from work because I had to finish it


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Thompson, MB, Canada 01-03-12
    Terry Thompson, MB, Canada 01-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Totally loved Winter Sea!"

    I did not want interuptions while listening to this book! Not only was I wrapped up in the characters of Carrie McClelland & the Keith's, but of the characters in Carrie's story. Rosalyn Landor did a wonderful job on the narration. She did a such great job on the accents, that I wish I could move to Scottland to hear it daily :)
    This is a story of an author writting a story & I really enjoy having the 2 stories building simultaneously. I am a fan of Nevada Barr & well remember her book Flashback for having a story within a story. It creates a double intrigue.
    I have English blood on both sides of my family & enjoy reading historical fictions of the UK to understand more of my ancestor's past. This is the second book I've listened to recently that has involved the Jacobite uprising in its' storyline & now I understand what that was about.
    I am already looking for more titles by this author & this narrator!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pen Name 01-02-12
    Pen Name 01-02-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Great Read - Great Narrator"
    If you could sum up The Winter Sea in three words, what would they be?

    A Great Read


    What did you like best about this story?

    I really liked the story line, The author did a great job of capturing my attenion from the beginning and kept me hooked all the way thru.


    Which character ??? as performed by Rosalyn Landor ??? was your favorite?

    The heroines past and present! Rosayln Landor did a fantastic job all the way thru the book - there were some really difficult dialects, etc and she did a great job. Her narration really caught me as well as the story line.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Winter Sea and why?

    The combination of present and past in the two female characters really made for a great storyline.


    Any additional comments?

    I looked at this book because of it being similar to Diana Gabaldon according to the blurp - but the real reason I read it was because of the comments. Half the reviews were positive of both the author and the narrator and half the reviews were negative. So that intrigued me. I stand firmly on the positive side of both the author/storyline and the narrator!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanne 12-29-11
    Jeanne 12-29-11 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Captivating"
    Where does The Winter Sea rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    One of the best books I've listened to so far.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character in this book is Colonel Graham. I'd like him to be on my side like he was on Sophia's.


    Which character ??? as performed by Rosalyn Landor ??? was your favorite?

    I liked Rosalyn's performance of Jimmy most of all. I got a great mental picture of him.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I cried towards the end....don't want to give anything away.


    Any additional comments?

    Great listen. Loved it. Hated to have it end. I'll listen to it again. Love the narration. Made me want to check into my ancestry.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissSusie66 12-22-11
    MissSusie66 12-22-11 Member Since 2010

    MissSusie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    958
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    7
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    "Nice Mix of Modern Story & Historical Fiction"

    Audio production: This was narrated by, Rosalyn Landor who is always a good narrator, for this one she had a lot to live up to since this was recommended to me because I love Outlander so she had Davina Porter to live up to and I must say she did a very good job!


    This was a nice mix of historical fiction and a modern day story set in Scotland, this was recommended to me because I love the Outlander Series. First off this doesn’t have time travel as I’ve seen some people say it has genetic memories which was a new device for me, but it worked well. It was interesting how modern day author Carrie is writing her novel and the characters in her head tell her how the story should go then she checks the historical records and they match perfect so there is this little bit of genetic memory, possible ghost story. I have heard from authors when they talk about their writing process that the characters decide where the story goes and not the writer and how they feel like their characters come to life, so this was kind of a take on this concept.

    Both the present day and historical stories are blended well with the historical story set during the Jacobite rebellion of 1708 which was very well done and researched. There is romance in both stories that kind of mirror each other but both are kind of chaste and bittersweet neither is a big passionate affair just a nice addition to the story.

    I enjoyed this story very much and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction. I will be reading more by this author!

    4 1/2 Stars

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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