December 13, 2012

The Winter Sea

Find The Winter Sea on Goodreads
Genres/Themes: Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: ★★★★★

Thanks to my book club, this is yet another book I never would have picked up on my own that I absolutely fell in love with!

I love that the historical stuff is as historically accurate as possible with the exception of Sophia, and 2 other characters. It was a different/cool way to write the book from the point of an author writing the book instead of just writing the book "herself". It definitely made it more interesting and fun to see the two stories parallel each other.

I even read the afterward, which tells you a brief history and the accuracy of the novel. I rarely read those! The writing style of the author was just amazing.

If you love romance (even just slightly) and history (especially Scottish/English), I think you'll love this book. I also think anyone who liked Pride and Prejudice will also like this book.

From Book Club Discussion (spoilers):

1. Who was your favorite character in each time period and why?
My favorite characters were Graham and Sophia. I liked Graham because he was so charming and such a gentleman. It wean very easy to fall in love with him. I’d already started to like him the first time he entered the story. There was just something away the mysterious air that seemed to be around him when he and Carrie first met at Slains. Sophia is my other favorite, mainly because the other characters weren’t really around long enough for me to fall in love with them. I think if there had been more about Moray, I may have picked him instead. But I liked how Sophia had a bit of an independent streak and didn’t simply obey everyone unquestioningly.

2. Did you enjoy the foundation of historical fact and research in the book or not? Why?
Absolutely! That’s one of the main things that draws me to stories like this. It’s fun to read “historical” fantasy, like Mercedes Lackey’s books for instance, where the books seem to be in a historical-like setting, but it’s more fun when it’s historical fact and your actually learning something about history as well as enjoying a good and hopefully well-written story.

3. Did you enjoy the book overall? What was your favorite and/or least favorite thing about it?
I absolutely loved it! I liked the secret marriage. She did something huge against society, but she followed how she felt.

My least favorite things were the gardener (I don’t think I need to explain!) and the situation with Sophia’s daughter. I know her husband wasn’t around, but she was married. It’s not like she was an unwed mother. I think she should have kept the child. She did end up with good adoptive parents and siblings, but it would have been nice to see Sophia, Moray, and Anna all together. Although I guess that would have messed up the future and the next book.

4. Why might Susanna Kearsley have utilized a story-within-a story device rather than use a straightforward telling of a historical novel? Is one of the stories in one of the time-periods more engaging than the other?
Both have points that don’t make them wholly engaging. The present one, is just a romance; the other, was just a historical romance. Them together and showing all the parallels, the weird memories, and then the ancestral relations among Sophia, Anna, Carrie, and Graham made it so much more enticing.

5. Have you read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (January 2012 Ladies & Lit book)? If so, do you find similarities? Two other books in a similar vein are A.S. Byatt's Possession and Deborah Harkness's The Discovery of Witches. If you've read either of these, or others, compare them to Winter Sea.
I started it once-upon-a-time, but it didn’t really grab my interest and was kind of bland, so I ended up dropping it. I felt like I was listening to a monotone professor reading it to me as I read. I think it was maybe just a bad time for me to read it. I've heard so much about it that I think I'll give it another chance sometime.

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