From the Publisher
"The story was deliciously romantic and the writing style matched the brooding, haunting tale very well. Definitely well worth reading!" - All About Romance
"Kearsley's novel is highly reminiscent of Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay and Mary Stewart's works: evocative novels that lift readers straight into another time and place to smell the sea, feel the castle walls, see history and sense every emotion. These are marks of a fantastic storyteller. 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick of the Month" - RT Book Reviews
"The rich history and the historical aspect of this novel made it a book that was hard to put down. " - The Romance Studio
"Skillful writing and research... Readers will not be disappointed in Sophia's enthralling story. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review
"Reading this book was pure magic. " - Queen of Happy Endings
"I loved The Winter Sea. It drew me in from the start and I found myself reading faster and faster just to find out what would happen next... " - Starting Fresh
"A creative tour de force... Brilliant!" - New York Journal of Books
"Scotland past and present comes vividly alive in this superior piece of historical fiction - the rugged countryside, salty sea air and rich heritage are the perfect setting for this tale of love, loss and destiny. " - Thoughts From Lady Tess
"This is historical fiction at its best!" - Library of Clean Reads
"Vivid... One of those books that you remember long after the last page has been turned." - Debbie's Book Bag
All About Romance
The story was deliciously romantic and the writing style matched the brooding, haunting tale very well. Definitely well worth reading!
RT Book Reviews
Kearsley's novel is highly reminiscent of Barbara Erskine's Lady of Hay and Mary Stewart's works: evocative novels that lift readers straight into another time and place to smell the sea, feel the castle walls, see history and sense every emotion. These are marks of a fantastic storyteller. 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick of the Month
The Romance Studio
The rich history and the historical aspect of this novel made it a book that was hard to put down.
Historical Novels Review
Skillful writing and research... Readers will not be disappointed in Sophia's enthralling story. Highly recommended.
Queen of Happy Endings
Reading this book was pure magic.
I loved The Winter Sea. It drew me in from the start and I found myself reading faster and faster just to find out what would happen next...
New York Journal of Books
A creative tour de force... Brilliant!
Thoughts From Lady Tess
Scotland past and present comes vividly alive in this superior piece of historical fiction - the rugged countryside, salty sea air and rich heritage are the perfect setting for this tale of love, loss and destiny.
Library of Clean Reads
This is historical fiction at its best!
Debbie's Book Bag
Vivid... One of those books that you remember long after the last page has been turned.
At Home with a Good Book and the Cat
A perfect blend of romance, real history and what if...
A beautiful work of historical fiction .
A Buckeye Girl Reads
The Winter Sea is a beautiful story... It will transport you to another time and place.
Readin' and Dreamin
This book has everything: historical romance, contemporary romance, rebellion, tragedy. All the good stuff... A+ storytelling!
Pencil Pushers and Ink Splotches
From the moment I picked up this novel I was intoxicated by the idea of finding not just a muse but true love by pure accident.. A book not to be missed.
In the Hammock
An excellent "time-travel" story with alternating chapters set in modern time and in the past. I would definitely recommend this book to those who love an epic story rich in historical detail.
In Spring it is the Dawn
A wonderful book to escape into for a couple of days with fabulous characters, and an engaging story.
A Work in Progress
A well written, engaging historical novel with a dash of romance... it's a page turner.
Bookfoolery and Babble
Beautiful, clear writing, a believable storyline, adventure and romance.
A breathtaking novel... Kearsley's writing style beautifully spells out the mood for this novel.
Romance Fiction on Suite101.com
One of the most enchanting romance novels of the decade, The Winter Sea will find a home on everyone's bookshelf.
The Royal Reviews
Each page I devoured only made me want to read the next one and the next one... highly engaging.
Absolutely phenomenal... A stunning, gorgeous and heart-wrenching tale.
The Winter Sea was an emotionally poignant, gripping tale of adventure both in the past and the present with characters full of life, and conflicts that tug at the heart strings. A definite read!
Celtic Lady's Reviews
If you are a fan of Mary Stewart and Barbara Erskine, this is a must for your bookcase.
Books by the Willow Tree
What a gifted writer Ms. Kearsley is! This is one book that I wish had gone on...
Life in the Thumb
This book had it all: romance, intrigue, mystery, historical fiction, kick-ass location, and a storyline that made me not want to put the book down.
A beautiful and engrossing story... The Winter Sea will appeal in spades to fans of Mary Stewart and Diana Gabaldon.
Let Them Read Books
I loved how the author wove the past and the present together as Carrie dreamed of the Jacobite invasion, finding inspiration for her novel, and then in her research discovered that her dreams were more than just dreams.
Read All Over Reviews
Marvelous and flawless...
Beautifully written... A book to be read carefully and savored.
Read an Excerpt
From Chapter 1
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.
I honestly believed it was my own decision, turning off the main road for the smaller one that ran along the coastline. Not the wisest of decisions, maybe, seeing as the roads were edged with what I'd been assured was Scotland's deepest snow in forty years, and I'd been warned I might run into drifting and delays. Caution and the knowledge I was running on a schedule should have kept me to the more well-traveled highway, but the small sign that said 'Coastal Route' diverted me.
My father always told me that the sea was in my blood. I had been born and raised beside it on the shores of Nova Scotia, and I never could resist its siren pull. So when the main road out of Aberdeen turned inland I turned right instead, and took the way along the coast.
I couldn't say how far away I was when I first saw the ruined castle on the cliffs, a line of jagged darkness set against a cloud-filled sky, but from the moment I first saw it I was captivated, driving slightly faster in the hope I'd reach it sooner, paying no attention to the clustered houses I was driving past, and feeling disappointment when the road curved sharply off again, away from it. But then, beyond the tangle of a wood, the road curved back again, and there it was: a long dark ruin, sharp against the snowbound fields that stretched forbiddingly between the cliff 's edge and the road. I saw a parking lot ahead, a little level place with logs to mark the spaces for the cars, and on an impulse I pulled in and stopped.
The lot was empty. Not surprising, since it wasn't even noon yet, and the day was cold and windy, and there wasn't any reason anyone would stop out here unless they wanted to walk out to see the ruin. And from looking at the only path that I could see that led to it-a frozen farm lane drifted deep with snow that would have risen past my knees-I guessed there wouldn't be too many people stopping here today. I knew I shouldn't stop, myself. There wasn't time. I had to be in Peterhead by one o'clock. But something in me felt a sudden need to know exactly where I was, and so I reached to check my map.
I'd spent the past five months in France; I'd bought my map there, and it had its limitations, being more concerned with roads and highways than with towns and ruins. I was looking so hard at the squiggle of coastline and trying to make out the names in fine print that I didn't see the man till he'd gone past me, walking slowly, hands in pockets, with a muddy-footed spaniel at his heels.
It seemed a strange place for a man on foot to be, out here. The road was busy and the snow along the banks left little room to walk beside it, but I didn't question his appearance. Any time I had a choice between a living, breathing person and a map, I chose the person. So I scrambled, map in hand, and got my car door open, but the salt wind blowing off the sea across the fields was stronger than I'd thought it would be. It stole my voice. I had to try again. 'Excuse me...'
I believe the spaniel heard me first. It turned, and then the man turned too, and seeing me, retraced his steps. He was a younger man than I'd expected, not much older than myself-mid-thirties, maybe, with dark hair whipped roughly by the wind and a close-trimmed dark beard that made him look a little like a pirate. His walk, too, had a swagger to it, confident. He asked me, 'Can I help you?'
'Can you show me where I am?' I held the map towards him.
Coming round to block the wind, he stood beside me, head bent to the printed coastline. 'Here,' he said, and pointed to a nameless headland. 'Cruden Bay. Where are ye meant to be?' His head turned very slightly as he asked that, and I saw his eyes were not a pirate's eyes. They were clear grey, and friendly, and his voice was friendly too, with all the pleasant, rolling cadence of the northern Scot.
I said, 'I'm going north, to Peterhead.'
'Well, that's not a problem.' He pointed it out on the map. 'It's not far. You just keep on this road, it'll take you right up into Peterhead.' Close by his knee the dog yawned a complaint, and he sighed and looked down. 'Half a minute.
You see that I'm talking?'
I smiled. 'What's his name?'
Bending, I scratched the dog's hanging ears, spattered with mud. 'Hello, Angus. You've been for a run.'
'Aye, he'd run all the day if I'd let him. He's not one for standing still.'
Neither, I thought, was his master. The man had an aura of energy, restlessness, and I'd delayed him enough. 'Then I'll let you get going,' I said as I straightened. 'Thank you for your help.'
'Nae bother,' he assured me, and he turned and started off again, the spaniel trotting happily ahead.
The hardened footpath stretched ahead of them, towards the sea, and at its end I saw the castle ruin standing stark and square and roofless to the swiftly running clouds, and as I looked at it I felt a sudden pulling urge to stay-to leave the car parked where it was and follow man and dog where they had gone, and hear the roaring of the sea around those crumbled walls.
But I had promises to keep.
So with reluctance, I got back into my rental car, turned the key and started off again towards the north.