TBR Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

This TBR reading challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The review for this challenge is posted on the third Wednesday each month. This month the challenge is to read a book by an author with more than one book in my TBR pile! I have three or four books by Susanna Kearsley!

The Winter Sea
The Winter Sea


The Winter Sea
by Susanna Kearsley
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Series: Slains, Book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by Allison & Busby, 2008
E-book, Purchased
544 pages
Audio Length: 15:50 hours
Grade: A
Narration: A
Synopsis: 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...

“There’s a line in The Barretts of Wimpole Street – you know, the play – where Elizabeth Barrett is trying to work out the meaning of one of Robert Browning’s poems, and she shows it to him, and he reads it and he tells her when he wrote that poem, only God and Robert Browning knew what it meant, and now only God knows. And that’s how I feel about studying English. Who knows what the writer was thinking, and why should it matter? I’d rather just read for enjoyment.ā€


“…there is no sight so melancholy as the winter sea, for it does tell us we are truly at the ending of the year, and all its days are passed, its days of joy and sorrow that will never come again.” He turned to look at her, and smiled. “But so the seasons turn, and so they must, by nature’s own design. The fields must fall to fallow and the birds must stop their song awhile; the growing things must die and lie in silence under snow, just as the winter sea must wear its face of storms and death and sunken hopes, the face ye so dislike.”


  • I love this book. The language is lyrical. I especially enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book.

    slains castle 004
    Slains Castle
  • The narrator–Rosalyn Landor–is excellent. She does the men’s voices just as well as women’s voices. And I especially like the Scottish accents…I don’t know if they are authentic, but they sound great to me!
  • The dual time period of the book works so well in this book…the way the two time periods and characters echo each other.
  • The historical time period is so interesting. I’ve read a number of books about Scotland, but most of them took place later–around the time of the Battle of Culloden in 1745.
  • Much of the action takes place at Slains Castle which is a real place. It’s located north of Aberdeen and I’d love to visit sometime!
  • I like Carrie, who is the author writing the book within this book.
  • There is romance in the book, but I don’t think of this as historical romance. And besides historical it’s also contemporary. It’s hard to classify!
  • Several parts of the book made me cry! There’s lots of emotion in this book.


  • Several parts of the book made me cry!
  • The Stuarts had lots of charm, but didn’t have very good luck!


I’ve bought a number of Susanna Kearsley’s books as well as a couple of audiobooks over the last several years. I’ve seen great reviews for them, but hadn’t read any of her books until this month. I’m so glad I listened to this book. I loved it and plan to read the other books I already have by Ms. Kearsley (and buy some more of her books!)

One of my favorite books of the year!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

As well as the TBR reading challenge hosted by Wendy Iā€™m also participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

8 thoughts on “TBR Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley”

  1. Ooo, looks like tissues and wine may be required. I bought this for like .99 cents two years ago along with 3 of her other books and I so need to read it. Your review has renewed my interest and has me itching to dig it out. Thanks Jan šŸ™‚


  2. Ah… it was good, wasn’t it! I’m not normally a fan of paranormal in my contemporary, but this one worked so well. I snapped up a few more Kearsleys using the coupons from the latest Kobo contest – I’m looking forward to reading more of her backlist.


    1. You’re right, Li! This book really worked even with the paranormal aspect. I have several more of her books which I plan to read soon!


  3. What a wonderful review, Jan! And I always appreciate when you review the audio production as well as the book’s content; it helps me decide whether to read or listen. I really, really need to make time for this book. I have a copy, but I think I’ll see if my library has the audiobook, since I love a good Scottish accent and you think highly of this narrator.


    1. Thanks, Lark! I hope you will like this book. It’s different than I usually read, but I plan to read more from Ms. Kearsley soon. I hope your library has the audio version. I loved listening to Rosalyn Landor narrate the book. You could also check to see if your library is connected to digital and audio versions of books which you can download for two or three weeks. I will look forward to hearing how you like this one!


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