Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Winter Sea

The Winter Sea, by Susana Kearsley. The summary:
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...
"The Winter Sea" is mainly historical fiction, so going into it I wasn't entirely sure how I'd like it, because I'm not always a historical fiction fan, especially adult historical fiction (***see my rant about historical fiction below). But luckily this book had some things going for it that helped me get over my prejudice:
1) Almost half of the story takes place modernly. (There's two story lines: the story of a fictional author that takes place in the modern day, and the story of the book she's writing that takes place in 1708.)

2) Two REALLY hot Scottish guys--actually, hot Scottish guys abound, but the two heroes are especially attractive. (I'm pretty much convinced I need to go to Scotland now.)

3) Two swoony love stories. (The modern-day romance is slightly less compelling than the historical one, but just look at #2 above and you'll see why I don't care.)

4) A well-suited writing style. (The tone of the writing fits the tone of the book perfectly. And the author throws in some awesome Scottish dialect.)

5) An intriguing fantasy element. (The fictional author starts writing a story about one of her ancestors but then finds out that what she thought was fiction is actually truth.)

6) A fantastically wonderful ending. (The ending to the historical storyline made my opinion of the book shoot up about a gazillion points. It was just so unexpected and . . . perfect. I may have squealed when I read it--I'm just sayin'.)
So, conclusion? Read it! And I can pretty much guarantee you'll squeal at the end too.

***My rant about historical fiction***

Historical fiction has never been my favorite genre (and by "historical fiction" I mean books that use real people from history, not just books that take place in a specific time period--those I can handle). Why, you ask? (Or maybe you didn't, but imma tell you anyway.) Three reasons:
1) The characters and storyline are limited by what actually happened. The story's never quite as exciting, because you already know how it's all going to end. The author may use interesting events and conflicts to get the character to the end, but the end always has to be the same as what happened in real life. It's like the characters aren't really free to do what they want.

2) The author makes characters do things they never did in real life. This may seem slightly contradictory to my first reason, but it isn't, I swear. For some reason, it just irks me that the author makes people who really existed have conversations and relationships that they never actually did. It's like the author's putting words in peoples' mouths and making assumptions about their motivations (which, I know, is the author's job, but still . . . these were real people we're talking about, not just characters).

3) The books always so LONG. Seriously though. I dare you to find me historical fiction that's under 500 pages.
Okay, end of rant.


  1. ahh, i *just* bought this book for my mother in law for Christmas :) so i am thinking she will love it AND THEN I WILL HAVE TO STEAL IT :)

    also, agreeing about all your historical points :)


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