Discussion Questions and Reader's Guide for Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley Tropper

Winter Sea

By usanna Kearsley

PBR Book Review:

(by-Andrea ) If you've enjoyed Diana Gabaldon, you will dive into this book. Like the Outlander series, THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley offers romance and historical fiction. A quick read, it is a story about a writer, Carrie McClellan, who visits Scotland to research an upcoming story. This novel seamlessly intertwines two stories. It chronicles Carrie's writing present day while simultaneously telling the story of Sophie, Carrie's ancestor from the 1700s. It flows smoothly between the time- periods with likable and quirky characters. This excellent story has all the right components for a light and entertaining summer read. I enjoyed reading about this period and always looked forward to picking it back up.

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Discussion Questions

1. Why might Susanna Kearsley have utilized a story-within-a story device rather than use a straightforward telling of a historical novel? What does the character of Carrie McClelland, as a writer, add to the story? (Also see Question #8)

2. How do the two stories, past and present, parallel one other? Do they? Is one of the stories in one of the time-periods more engaging than the other? Did Sophie Paterson's story hold your interest more than Carrie McClelland's?

3. What, if anything, do the heroines-Sophie and Carrie-have in common? How do they differ? Are the two women believable? In other words, does Kearsley do a good job of creating rich, well-rounded characters?

4. Talk about the men in both stories. Which of the contemporary men-Jimmy Keith, Stuie, Graham, or Angus-do you find most appealing? Does Carrie make the right choice at the end?

5. Have you read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander? If so, do you find similarities? Two other books in a similar vein are A.S. Byatt's Possession and Deborah Harkness's The Discovery of Witches. If you've read either of these, or others, compare them to Winter Sea.

6. Kearsley incorporates a good deal of historical fact into her story. Do you find her historical research intrusive or overbearing? Or does Kearsley blend it seamlessly into her story line? What about her remarks in the book's afterword...have you read it?

7. Can you explain genetic memory and how it enables Carrie to access the past? Do you believe there might be such a thing as genetic memory? Is it similar to the "past-lives" concept?

8. A follow-up to Question #1: the book in many ways is self-referential: an author writing about an author writing. What does Kearsley seem to suggest about the craft of writing-in terms of its ability to merge past with present...or to bring historical events and characters alive?

9. Many reviewers mentioned that the book involved them on a deeply emotional level, evoking tears. Did it involve you in the same manner?

10. What is the significance of the book's title, winter sea.

11. Does this book deliver-in terms of romance and suspense? A number of readers say it's boring, a dull read. Others fall at the opposite end of the spectrum-finding it fast paced and engaging. Where do you fall?

Questions by LitLovers.com.

Book Summary

History has all but forgotten. . .

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth the ultimate betrayal that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her. . .

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