The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

  ‘It wasn’t chance. There wasn’t any part of it that happened just by chance.
  I learned this later; though the realization, when it came, was hard for me to grasp because I’d always had a firm belief in self-determination. My life so far had seemed to bear this out-I’d chosen certain paths and they had led to certain ends, all good, and any minor bumps that I had met along the way I could accept as not bad luck, but simply products of my own imperfect judgment. If I’d had to choose a creed, it would have been the poet William Henley’s bravely ringing lines: I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
   So on that winter morning when it all began, when I first took my rental car and headed north from Aberdeen, it never once occurred to me that someone else’s hand was at the helm.’  

Those are the first lines in ‘The Winter Sea’. This was a really good read. Especially if you like Scotland, historical fiction and danger and romance. This book had it all. Alternating between the contemporary setting and the past, The Winter Sea takes us at every turn into little known worlds; a history of Scotland and the Jacobite rebellion of 1708 and the possibility of genetic memory.

I liked the characters. Present day Carrie McClelland, sets out to write a historical novel and ends up on a journey into her family’s history. She is strong and likable. Her landlord, Jimmy Keith and his two sons, Stuart and Graham, both interested in Carrie romantically. Which one wins her heart? Dr. Weir who helps her with the historical facts and leads the effort to save Slains Castle. Then there are the characters from the 1700’s – Sophia, the sweet girl caught up in the Jacobite uprising and her hero, John Moray and their secret relationship.

I am not much for romance novels but with the history, the mystery, the ancient castle and the cottage on the sea, warm visits in a book filled room with a whiskey in your hand, it was irresistible. And the romance turned out to be very enjoyable as well!

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like Scotland! I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

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