Sophia's Secret, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


This title was previously called "The Winter Sea". When bestselling author Carrie McClelland visits the windswept ruins of Slains Castle, she is enchanted by the stark and beautiful Scottish landscape.

The area is strangely familiar to her but she puts aside her faint sense of unease to begin her new novel, using the castle as her setting, and one of her own ancestors, Sophia, as her heroine.

Then Carrie realizes her writing is taking on a life of its own and the lines between fact and fiction become increasingly blurred.

As Sophia's memories draw Carrie more deeply into the intrigue of 1708, she discovers a captivating love story lost in time.

After three hundred years, "Sophia's Secret" must be told.


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Review by

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 invasion to recapture the throne of Scotland for James Stuart. 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.

Review by

A wonderful book filled with passion, intrigue and betrayal. Sophia's secret or rather The Winter Sea, tells the story of Carrie McClelland, a writer who was captivated at first sight by the old Slains Castle and inspired, she soon decides to rent a cottage there to begin her latest novel. Amazingly, I found this to be on par with Mariana in every aspect. I loved the storytelling, and the mystery kept me turning pages. The writing was easy on the eyes, and engaging. Not to mention, all the characters were delightful and three-dimensional. After reading two of her books, I can say that Susanna Kearsley has successfully wormed her way into my list of favourite authors. So, if you've not read any of her books, I recommend you to pick up this book! ;]

Review by

Author Carrie McClelland visits Slain Castle and finds that the surroundings seem very familiar to her. She uses the castle as her setting and places a real ancestor as her heroine, and suddenly her book seems to come to life.This story is past and present with the past set agianst the Jacobites with lots of real people from that time in history. For me I don't really know much about this period as I normally read about the Tudors. I can see that there has been a lot of research done for this story. Although I do enjoy history I felt for me the best parts of the book was the present parts with Carrie rather than the past with Sophia. The past had far too many characters and I did have trouble keeping up with who was who. I have read several books by Susanna Kearsley and enjoy what she does with the time travel, past and present. Her books can be very much like Daphnue du Maurier at times and are very interesting to read and quite enjoyable. This one I didn't enjoy so much. I felt it went on to long and I was getting quite bored. It didn't help really that I don't have a particular interest in that part of history. So I have to say that for me this book started out quite well then just losts it's edge. Shame really as I enjoy the authors books.

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