The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Carrie McClelland, a historical fiction author, is having difficulty with her current novel until she travels to the Scottish coast and begins to write profusely. She finds out everything she has written actually occurred 300 years ago.
Book Club Ideas
|In the historical section of the book, two lovers say goodbye next to a lilac tree, which explains to Carrie why she doesn’t like the smell of lilacs. I found this Lilac & Ivy Silk Centerpiece on Silkflowers.com and thought it was just beautiful.|
Sophia is given her suitor’s family ring which is a square of silver with a red stone at its centre on a silver band. The ring below is the closest to the description I could find and is available at Amazon.com. In exchange, Sophia gave him a black stone she found on the beach with a hole in it, which is considered a talisman for protection. Although a stone found on a beach would likely be more rough, the necklace below (also available from Amazon) will have to do until I can find my own lucky charm.
Rarely a conversation was held without an Ale, Scotch or sometimes Sherry in hand so some Scottish drinking songs would be an excellent musical selection for your book club party for The Winter Sea. There is a great selection of songs on this CD, some with bagpipes and others sounding almost like a lullaby.
Book Club Menu
Carrie rents a room from a widower named Jimmy who, along with his two sons, makes sure Carrie is well-taken care of. When Carrie has lunch with the family, Jimmy makes a roast of beef with carrots and roasted potatoes. Although Jimmy “has never met a roast he hasn’t burned past recognition” I kept an eye on the timer. This Beef Pot Roast Stovie Recipe is adapted from The Scottish Kitchen by Christopher Trotter. It is served with Scottish Oatcakes.
Jimmy also gives Carrie a Sticky Toffee Pudding from St. Olaf Hotel (which is where Susanna Kearsley stayed while she wrote The Winter Sea). This pudding has a touch of ginger which gives is a mild kick.
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 4.12 stars (2800 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.5 stars (256 ratings)|
|LibraryThing: 4.17 stars (27 ratings)|
|My Rating: 4 stars. I loved the descriptions of the scenery, the premise of the plot and the stories told from two different time periods, but the historical sections of the book dragged a bit for me.|
- Have you ever experienced anything that you would attribute to genetic memory?
- Who was your favorite character in the book? Why?
- Did you find the novel immediately engaging? If not, at what point in the story did it become interesting to you? Was there a point in the novel where you found you could not put it down?
- Do you enjoy how the story transitioned between the past and the present? Was the story easy to follow? Did you enjoy one of the story lines more than the other? Did you enjoy the historical details in the book or did you feel it detracted from your involvement in the story?
- Did you find similarities between Carrie and Sophia? How were they different? There were quite a few men after each one of them. Did it appear that either of them had any faults?
- Do you think Sophia made the right choice towards the end of the novel when she left what was hers behind? Did you feel like this was in line with her character or did this cause you to change your opinion about her? What would you have done in her situation?
- Were you satisfied with the ending? How would you have liked it to end?
- Did the setting of the book- the Scottish coast, add to your enjoyment of the novel?
Susanna Kearsley has an excellent collection of photographs that inspired scenes from The Winter Sea. You can see them here on her website.
Purchase The Winter Sea at your favorite bookseller
|After studying politics and international development at University, Susanna Kearsley worked as a museum curator. After writing several first chapters, which began at the age of 7, her sister dared her to write a complete book. She took her up on the dare and in the process found her calling. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader’s Digest and optioned for film. The Winter Sea was a finalist for a RITA award and the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award. She lives on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Canada.You can see her collection of books, including her newest one to be released in the US, The Rose Garden, on Amazon.com.|
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