5 over 500: The Winter Sea

Susanna Kearsley is one of my hoarded authors.  I had not actually read her books until this one and I have bought, like five of them.  They are historical fiction and sometimes the prices with accompanying narration just can’t be beat.

For some reason lately I keep watching and reading about Scotland and the British Isles. It has been an informal thing, unintentional.  Watching Escape to the Country and Great British Castles on Netflix (I know I am unbearably exciting) and then I pick up a book I have had forever on a woman who is writing about the Jacobites while living in Scotland and feeling the experiences are tied to her own genetic memories.

I admit I had to Wikipedia Jacobites and watching Great British Castles helped with knowing who they were and what role they played in the history of the region.  Kearsley does work at making the context understandable and come alive, but I tend to poke around for extra historical context when I am reading in general.  It just helps my brain fall together and I enjoy the story more.

So this story spans two time periods and it is the author writing a book as she goes, so it is two stories in one, which MAY count for some reading challenges that I have not been looking at.  Not at all. But it may count.

My favorite part of this book was the twist at the end.  It made me dream of the writing life, living in new places and meeting new people in order to work on and hone my craft, the freedom of a single life and being able to write all night and sleep in the day.  But I liked how she solved a dilemma at the end, which the way it was written could have been her figuring out a mystery in her own geneology.

The book, though, did not really glitter.  I didn’t get tied into the political intrigue like I can with Phillippa Gregory novels, maybe because the historical protagonist was not a central player in the political action.  She was lovely and charming but largely ancillary and more of a liability in her relationship with John Morey than an asset.  She had no power of her own.  Phillippa’s women are larger chess pieces in the game and sometimes they are on the very top, sometimes the very bottom.  Sophia was middling and sweet and inconsequential. There was romantic tension as well in the modern aspect of the story, but that was not too big either.

It turned out how I wanted, and I definitely need that level of satisfaction.  ( I am still pissed that Hermoine ended up with Ron in Harry Potter.  I would have rather seen her remain single than go for a guy who routinely puts down her intelligence and can be contemptuous of her.  There is a possibility I almost made the same mistake in my own life.)

This is historical fiction with a chick-lit feel to it, which may be why it is 4 stars on Goodreads with almost 47k ratings.

I am going to read the other books of hers that I have procured and I will be interested to see if I feel the same way about all of them.  Maybe I will connect more with another one.  I’ll have to do some research.



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