Sophia's Secret (also known as The Winter Sea) is historical fiction, set in the present day and 1708 Scotland. In the present, Carrie McClelland is a bestselling author of historical fiction who’s having a bit of writer’s block, so she goes to Scotland to follow up with some of her research on the Scots uprising in favor of James Stewart. Carrie chooses as her main character one of her ancestors, Sophia Paterson, a young woman who was deeply involved in the events of 1708. Carrie then finds that she begins channeling her ancestor’s memories, thus fuelling the writing of the novel, excerpts of which make up roughly half the book.
I have to say that I’ve found a new favorite author! It’s a shame that the author’s books haven’t yet sold rights here in the States, because she’s an awesome writer (Kearsley says on her website that Mary Stewart is one of her favorite authors, not surprising considering that the two authors’ styles are so alike). This was literally one of those books that I couldn’t put down; the story is intriguing, as are the characters. Kearsley’s approach to historical fiction is unique, so important in a world where the historical fiction market has been glutted. In addition, Kearsley’s writing style is beautiful, and the reader truly gets sucked into the story. I’ve never been to Scotland, but this book makes me want to pay it a visit. I have another one of Kearsley’s novels, Mariana, on my TBR pile, begging to be read.
Also reviewed by: Reading Adventures, A Work in Progress