Publisher's Note:  

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...

The Winter Sea

by Susanna Kearsley

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Overall Review:  

Author Susanna Kearsley executes The Winter Sea with a practiced hand.  This novel really is equal parts historical fiction and romance.  At times it is quite name and date heavy with an extremely detailed account of a little-addressed, failed, Scottish uprising.  At other times, it is swooning-ly romantic.  The narrative alternates between a contemporary writer and the storyline of the book she is penning.  The breaks between the two narratives are fairly crisp, which is probably one of the reasons the novel was easy to put down and pick up.  It was never engrossing enough to keep the reader reading late into the night.

Overall, this novel was a pleasant read, but an unsurprising one.  With the exception of one small twist on the final couple of pages, the author consistently telegraphed her plot to the reader.  The plus of that is that the novel "hangs" together, but the downside is that there never was a true feeling of suspense to compel the reader forward.

This is the second novel I have read by this author.  Ms. Kearsley is quite popular, and I think this is due to a consistent and accessible writing style.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  20 religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore:  Report of death of parents; various general reports of historical battles, deaths of kings by beheading, torture, etc.; historical report of a rape committed in front of witnesses; character reveals a scar from burns inflicted by a family member; character injures ankle; character intends to commit rape (no details), but is interrupted; character snaps another's neck (brief, non-detailed); character injured by another and injuries bleed; report of a battle (a few details); character comes upon a wounded man and a brief account is given of how injuries were sustained; report of a death; brief, non-detailed report a family member forcing himself on another family member and she became with child which he had aborted and resulted in death of the mother; a battle scene in which there are brief descriptions of wounded and dying.

Sex/Nudity:  Character say that a man will look where he likes in spite of wife; character touches another's face; characters kiss upon various occasions; character says she would take another's 'bairns' or the making of them; character is briefly detained by another making unwanted physical advances; character places hands on another's waist; report of a rape (no details); brief, non-detailed report a family member forcing himself on another family member and how she became with child which he had aborted and resulted in death of the mother; characters kiss passionately; reference to "exertions last night"; characters meet on their wedding night and it is implied/understood that they consummated marriage (they wake in bed together); implication unwed characters had sex (kissing and then in next scene they wake in bed together the next morning/later) - a few separate instances of this.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Rebellion, politics, spying, abortion, incest/physical abuse, extra-marital sex, murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults drink socially (whisky, wine, etc.).

Reviewed By Cindy
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