Sophia's Secret

Sophia's Secret

eBook - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Carolyn McClelland, a writer of historical novels, finds herself with a familiar enemy: writer's block. A change of scenery leads her, and her book, in a whole new direction. Writing about the attempted Jacobite invasion of 1708, Carolyn takes up residence in a cottage in the North East of Scotland.
Publisher: 2011
ISBN: 9780749009601
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 09, 2017

This is one of my favourite books -- thoroughly enjoyed it!

Nov 19, 2016

The story is just another historical romance with an unbelievable plot line that the current people mirror the lives of those in the 1700-1800's. Balderdash!

Aug 21, 2016

If you don’t want to visit Scotland now, you will after reading this book. Bestselling author, Carrie McClelland has come to Scotland to do some background research for a book she’s writing about James Stewart and his supporters who are hoping to return him to the throne of England. She can’t get inspired. A wrong turn takes her to Slains Castle where she feels an instant bond to the past. She rents a small cottage close to the castle and not only does her story find a main character, she finds herself being courted by two brothers. Throw in a little historical fantasy as she sees the past come to life in her dreams and a cold, desolate landscape, and you’ve got the makings for a good book to curl up with on a winter’s day.

DBRL_KatSU Aug 15, 2016

Having read (and adored) "Outlander," I was excited to see that this book has to do with the Jacobite Rebellion. I'm a little obsessed with this piece of history, because of the way Gabaldon made it so human. I was surprised to learn that "The Winter Sea" is actually about the uprising of '08, and precedes the Battle of Culloden.
Any-who . . . This novel did an excellent job of (again) make history more accessible to me, and Kearsley did in such a creative way. The main character is a writer, and is inspired by the Scottish Slains Castle, so she begins writing. After she writes a scene, she realizes that everything she wrote (which she thought was totally fictional) was historical fact. This book was enchanting, and made me stay up past my bedtime on more nights than one!

cmlibrary_ecrites Aug 10, 2016

It's 1708 and there is a Jacobite invasion in the works that seeks to reclaim the Scottish crown for James Stewart who has been living in exile in France. The invasion fails due to an unknown traitor and the details have since been lost to history. This is the backdrop that historical fiction author Carrie McClelland has chosen for her next bestseller. Carrie likes to live in the places her books are set as she is writing them, so she can experience the place as her characters do, so she rents a bungalow in Cruden Bay Scotland and begins writing. As she researches and explores the area she beings to discover that what she has been writing may be more fact than fiction.
The two distinct plots and sets of characters in this book are equally interesting and engrossing. I never found myself rushing through Carrie's story to get back to the Jacobites or vise versa. The ending was phenomenal. I was so into reading the book I never let my mind wander to think about how I wanted it to end or how I thought it would end so when the ending did come I was pleasantly surprised. I read the final chapter with a big grin on my face because she really got me, I didn't see it coming at all. This was the first book by Kearsley that I read and I have since read several more and enjoyed them all. I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction/romance especially Outlander or Kate Morton fans.

Jun 06, 2016

I read about 100 pages and then couldn't take any more silliness. What I didn't notice before checking it out: it's a romance novel. That always leads to stupid behavior by the woman. I suspect that the genre also led to a ridiculous plot device: the main character inexplicably knows things from the past.

The author also has a terrible habit of giving information about the historical period by making her characters spout lectures.

Apr 06, 2015

I loved this book.Susanna Kearsley may be Canadian just as I am a New Zealander but her affinity with her Scottish heritage shines through her writing.She relates the past with the present so well.The 1708 abortive uprising for The Old Pretender as a young man is less well known than the later '15 and '45 but no less perilous and tragic for all those involved.She is a master story teller who intertwines an old love story with its modern equivalent using the breath-taking Scottish scenery as a background.When I buy this book though, it will be under its other title, The Winter Sea.I much prefer the cover and the title.

Sep 15, 2014

As usual, Susanna Kearsley has woven history into a story which grabbed me and has still not let go although it has been several days since I finished. The way the author mirrored the events in Carrie's life with those of Sophia's was masterful. I laughed, I wept, I mourned, I rejoiced, and, in the end, I was completely satisfied with the way Ms. Kearsley wrapped up both stories. A satisfying and enjoyable book.

May 13, 2014

Carrie McClelland, an established author of historical fiction, arrives in a small coastal Scottish town to begin work on her next novel. She rents an old cottage from a local and settles in, welcomed with open arms into the village and simultaneously into the owner's family. As she commences writing, the story seems to pour forth effortlessly from her fingers as though it were telling itself, and Carrie is both stunned and disturbed when, upon researching further some of what she's written, she discovers names, dates and places that she thought originated in her own imagination were uncannily accurate.

I'd heard positive things about this book the past few years, but hesitated to pick it up, fearing an unsatisfying lack of substance given its "Romance" classification at the library. After reading it, I'd argue that it actually ought to be in general fiction, given that the plot would not cease to have meaning if not for the romantic elements of the story line. The Winter Sea is definitely a page-turner, the sort of book I began reading only on breaks at work, only to find myself toting it home as well, despite already having a book in progress there. I was sincerely disappointed when it ended, wanting more. Happily, it appears to be the first in a series, so I'll be off very shortly to check out the next.

Mar 16, 2014

Great book. Once I started reading it I didn't want to put it down. Kept going back for "one more chapter".
Will definitely look for more books from this author.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Oct 19, 2014

Jimmy Keith rose from his chair with that chivalric reflex that some men of his generation hadn’t lost, and most men of my own had never learnt.

Oct 19, 2014

It was a running joke between us that whenever we discovered a male ancestor, his name was either John or James, or, very rarely, David – common names that make it difficult to trace them in the records. There might be countless James McClellands listed living in a town, and we would have to check details of every one of them before we found the one that we were after. ‘What we need,’ my father always used to say, ‘is an Octavius, or maybe a Horatio.’

Oct 19, 2014

Most of history is only the tale of the winning side, anyway, and they’ve a motive for painting the other side black. No, the Stewarts weren’t that bad. Take James, for example – old James, who was father to your King James. Most of the books that say he was a bad king and cruel and the rest of it, all that came down from one single account that was written by someone just passing on rumours years after the fact. If you read what was actually written by those who were with James, who saw what he did, they have nothing but good things to say of the man. But historians went with the rumours, and once it’s been written in print, well, it’s taken as gospel, and then it’s a source for the research of future historians, so we keep copying lies and mistakes . . . That’s why I tell my students to always get back to original documents. Don’t trust the books.

Oct 19, 2014

he’d dismissed it as an unimportant detail since it wasn’t about him

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

cmlibrary_ecrites Aug 10, 2016

cmlibrary_ecrites thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


Add a Summary

Oct 18, 2011

Historically rich, The Winter Sea is a clever weaving together of a contemporary story -- writer Carie McClelland's historical research into her latest book project and her blossoming romance with her landlord's son -- with the account of her book's subjects during the planning and aftermath of the 1708 failed Scottish Jacobite uprising. After spending five months in France, where she has researched the court of the pretender king and intends to locate her novel's events, Carrie is frustrated that work on the book is progressing slowly. She takes a break by visiting her friend and agent near Cruden Bay in Scotland, where she is drawn to a ruined castle that figured significantly into the Jacobite plot, and where she finds that the historical story begins to tell itself through her dreams. She first writes and then researches the characters and plot lines that emerge, finding that her research confirms the accuracy of places, names and events. Near the end, because Carrie's research reveals that her book's hero died in battle, she deals wisely with her struggle between writing a historically accurate novel and delivering a happy ending to her waiting readers. The Winter Sea contains politics, historical intrigue and military strategy, seemingly upstanding characters whose trustworthiness is questionable and romance that is both heart-warming and gut-wrenching. Told through the eyes of Carrie's young heroine, Sophia, and, in the contemporary part of the tale through Carrie herself, The Winter Sea is engrossing.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Related Authors


Subject Headings


Find it at SL

To Top