The Winter SeaSusanna Kearsley
That tidbit aside, I was really glad that I bought this book and would have gladly paid the usual $9.99 that Amazon charges for a book to read it. The premise is both original and something I'm relatively familiar with: an author is working on a book and is inexplicably drawn to a castle on the coast of Scotland, where she gets more inspiration than she has on any previous works, because she essentially transcribes the memories of an ancestor who she *randomly* chooses to use as the narrator for the historical novel she's writing.
Okay, so the premise is *somewhat* reminiscent of a few other novels, because there are elements of time travel and romance and Scotsmen (all reminding me of Diana Gabaldon, another favorite author of mine). None of these elements make it any less enjoyable - it was not really a romance novel (though I get the impression that Kearsley may be more known for that based on the other recommended books I've been seeing) and much more of a historical fiction novel (even though that's only half of the novel).
One thing that I really enjoyed about the work was the jumping between the contemporary narrative of Carrie, and the 1708 narrative of Sophia. At times it would frustrate me because I'd be really involved in one story right as Kearsley would switch gears to the other one, but I learned to really appreciate the way that the one narrative fed into the other.
My only criticism of the novel was that I would have liked to have more of either story; I wanted to hear more than what Kearsley offered in the book. I felt like both narratives, but more so Sophia's, were unfinished. With Carrie's narrative, I felt like there wasn't enough backstory and I would have appreciated having more substance to her narrative, or more interaction with her family; with Sophia's story I felt like Kearsley could have (should) write another book that tells us what happens next, and I also would have appreciated a little more backstory. I suppose that with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander as a comparison I've been spoiled, because she always tells us what happens next.
All in all, it was a fun, light read. Perfect for summer. And the kindle sale price was un.beatable. I would rate the book 4 stars overall - it would have been higher if not for those MINOR things mentioned above.