My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jane Eyre – Carrie McClelland is a successful author working in Scotland on a book about the Jacobite rebellion. Sophie Paterson is her heroine, a young woman living with aristocratic “kin” after a childhood spoiled by her cruel guardian.
Outlander – Carrie narrates her own story, in which she finds herself channeling the experiences of Sophie as she writes. Carrie is able to document each event after each chapter is written, and she sometimes “hears” Sophie’s voice in her head.
Susanna Kearsley is a very competent writer, and her prose is a pleasure to read. She’s skilled at metaphor and description, and Winter Sea is certainly evocative of time and place. Kearsley’s plot, however, struck me as largely derivative, and filled with so much deja vu and coincidence that it became tiresome. Romantic, yes. Credible, no. Further, nothing much happens, though both Carrie, and in her own chapters, Sophie, do a lot of talking about what’s not happening. The basic theme, the struggle to restore James to the throne of Scotland, is interesting enough to offset this flaw, along with the eloquence of the prose.
Recommended for readers looking for heavy doses of romance in their historical fiction.