The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley: Book Review

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Cover of The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

4 Stars

Carrie McClelland is an author struggling with writer’s block. She heads for Scotland for some alone time to try to work through it. When she arrives, she is immediately attracted to Slains Castle and decides to use it in her book.

In 1708, Sophia Paterson finds herself at Slains Castle as well. She finds herself mixed up in a Jacobite rebellion and falls in love with one of the soldiers.

I know, that’s pathetic, but it’s been ***coughcoughalmostayearcoughcough*** since I read this. I loved it so much that I did want to get some sort of review down.

I love Scotland. I haven’t been, but I think that will be our next European vacation. I’m just dying to go. I don’t actually read all that many stories set there, I think because I don’t want to get sick of it. It just seems so beautiful, so different, yet so familiar. There’s a reason so many Scots settled in the Southern Appalachians–they were reminded of home. It works both ways now.

Anyway, I read this on our cruise last year, and even though I was bathed in sunlight on the Caribbean, my mind was totally lost to the coolness and mist of Scotland.

I liked both stories equally, which is pretty rare. I usually read through one story just waiting to get back to the one that I’m really interested in, but I was happy just going back and forth between Carrie and Sophia.

I liked Graham and John Moray. They are both handsome, solid, dependable men. With Scottish accents. What’s not to love?

The ending has a twist that I did see coming from pretty far away. My mom read this around the same time I did and it caught her completely off guard. We were both happy with it though.

So, my review does not have the most details, but if you only take away one thing, it should be this: when you’re looking for a romantic, atmospheric Scottish book, pick this one up. I really, really liked it.

Read an excerpt.

Find author Susanna Kearsley on her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Read more reviews at Rundpinne, Angieville, and Let Them Read Books.

Buy The Winter Sea at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I'm glad you loved this one too. I still haven't written a review for it and I read it in 2010! I need to reread it 🙂 This is one of those rare examples where both the modern and historical stories are interesting enough to keep you reading instead of flipping forward to the part you want to read.

    I've been wanting to go to Scotland since I was a little girl and read a Nancy Drew book set there. I should let Nancy Drew plan all my vacations…or not 🙂

  2. I grew up in the Hendersonville/Asheville area-a resident of Mills River. This book sounds lovely and will be added to my collection.

    It has been years since I lived in the South and now am happy to have returned. I now reside in Savannah and do get back to NC often now.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. This sounds wonderful! My heritage is Scottish, so I try to read as much as I can. This book sounds beautiful.

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