Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Winter Sea

London : Allison & Busby, c2008.

I love this Canadian author, and I've read all of her books; this is the latest, which I've been anticipating for the past few months. It did not disappoint! What better during a very steamy hot week than to read a romantic historical set in Scotland, alongside a northern sea? I feel cooler already.

This story has features which recur in many of Kearsley's books. There's a young woman as protagonist, in this case a modern day writer whose family is tied to the historical events surrounding the attempt to replace a Scottish king on the throne in 1708. There is a love interest (or two). As fellow bloggers Rosario and Jennie say, it has the setting of The Shadowy Horses (still my favourite) and the time travel-ish elements of Mariana. Excellent! And, like her other novels, it has a flavour of Mary Stewart.

The plot in brief: Carrie McClelland has been in France working on her latest novel, about the exiled king James Stewart. She visits Scotland to attend a christening, and on her way she spies the deserted ruins of Slains Castle. Something draws her to it so strongly that on the spur of the moment she rents a cottage in Cruden Bay and moves from France to finish her story there. There is something tying her to Slains, and her novel seems to just write itself once she settles into her new home. But then she discovers that in choosing the name of one of her ancestors, Sophia Paterson, as her heroine's name, she may have set strange things in motion. As she does more research she realizes she has been writing the story of Sophia as it really happened. Has she tapped into some kind of genetic memory? The story shifts back and forth between Carrie's life and Sophia's -- I must admit I enjoyed Sophia's most, because of the historical element which I only knew about vaguely. And because Sophia's love story was just so perfectly, excessively romantic, which I adored. Carrie has her own romance, but I must say that John (Sophia's love interest) was very easy to fall in love with...

Looking at the author's website, I've just discovered that Kearsley is already working on her next novel -- yay! Called November Eve, set in Cornwall -- that's already enough for me. Something else to wait for now that I've read this one in just a day or two, after all the anticipation. She is also working on a sequel to her thriller/mystery novel Every Secret Thing, written as Emma Cole. And if after all that you aren't quite tempted enough, try viewing this atmospheric book trailer. And then go read some Kearsley!

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