Having just journeyed through Scotland, The Winter Sea, helped me relive my travels on my plane ride home. This book followed Carrie as she researched a story she wanted to use as the basis for her next book. Once she took up residence in a cottage near the Slains castle in Scotland, she suddenly began to remember all sorts of true events about her ancient ancestor who shared company with some notable characters during the fight for the English crown. Half of the book focused on Carrie, her recollections and romance with a Scot, and the other half told the tragic love story of her ancestor, Sophie.
The historical element to this novel explained the power struggle between Scotland and England, and used the bloody history of the Jacobites as a backdrop for Sophie’s life. Although it was obvious that Kearsley researched the time period with diligence, at times, it was hard to follow exactly what was happening because of the intricate political history between these rival countries. The pace of the book and the easy writing style made this 500+ page book an easy and very enjoyable read. Carrie was my favorite character because she was vulnerable and honest. Her thoughts portrayed a woman who was realistic and genuinely interested in learning about Sophie’s life. As for Sophie’s portion of the story, I felt that part lacked descriptions of the surroundings, the clothing, and other establishing details. Kearsley packed so much information into that part that the story mainly just followed the characters from one conversation to the next without much emphasis on their daily lives. I was interested in the logistics of castle life, so that was a bit of a disappointment to me.
This was a very well told historical novel, although I don’t think I would continue reading the rest of the series.