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Review: Sophia's Secret, by Susanna Kearsley

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


Danielle said…
I've added this one to my list. It's a pity it won't be published here (any time soon anyway). I'll have to order it from the UK I see.
Teddy Rose said…
Wonderful review! I have this one on my TBR as 'The Winter Sea'.
Marg said…
I have this on my TBR pile as well, also with the title The Winter Sea.
S. Krishna said…
I hate it when books aren't available in the States! I'm adding this one to my TBR pile
Liz said…
New book for the TBR pile! I was drawn in particularly by the Mary Stewart reference as Mary Stewart is one of the authors from my junior high days that I remember and revere. She started me on a whole string of Gothic romances! Loved her, loved her, loved her. I've re-read a few favorites in the past few years.

This book is a different era entirely, but I'm loving a Civil War novel, "Two Brothers: One North, One South. Quite enjoyable and based on real people and events. It's a great read and is both educational and entertaining.
Sasha said…
She is a great read no doubt. If you want a few more of hers check out: The Shadowy Horses, The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Season of Storms. She is a canadian author so if you can order from you will be able to get all of these books.

How about Daphne Du Maurier and Georgette Heyer for great old gothic romances. I loved loved loved these authors when I was a teenager.
rachel said…
I think I first picked up a Susanna Kearsley novel because I'd heard she had tones of Mary Stewart in her work. I think your review just convinced me to pick up another SK book. :)

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