Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review : Sophia's Secret by Susanna Kearsley

Product details:
  • Paperback: 521 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (22 Sep 2008)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0749080787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749080785
When bestselling author Carrie McClelland visits the windswept ruins of Slains Castle, she is enchanted by the stark and beautiful Scottish landscape. The area is strangely familiar to her but she puts aside her faint sense of unease to begin her new novel, using the castle as her setting, and one of her own ancestors, Sophia, as her heroine. Then Carrie realizes her writing is taking on a life of its own and the lines between fact and fiction become increasingly blurred. As Sophia's memories draw Carrie more deeply into the intrigue of 1708, she discovers a captivating love story lost in time. After three hundred years, Sophia's Secret must be told.

Anyone who loves reading historical fiction will certainly love this wonderfully crafted novel. This book enlightens me with the historical facts and information of the invasion fleet of French and Scottish soldiers who nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his throne.

When Carrie realizes that one of her ancestors, Sophia Paterson, lived around the same time, she decides to create a fictional life for Sophia and places her at the castle of Slains to be a narrator for the events leading up to the Jacobite uprising. However, she later on discovers that her characters seem to come alive, and everything she writes is true. The shocking events lead her to believe that she has, in fact, inherited Sophia’s memories and is seeing the past through Sophia's eyes.

Susanna's writing flows smoothly, moving from one character to the next, one setting to another, with readers keeping the swift pace. She has created a powerful, unbroken connection between Carrie and Sophia. Reading Sophia's Secret, to me, was like having a rendezvous with my friends. It gives me the chance to delve into the past, while listening to an interesting tale told by a skillful storyteller who both entertains and enlightens the listener.

In the past, the love and romance between John Moray and Sophia Patterson is written nicely. They showed respect for each other and marry out of pure love. When bad news about John arrived, Sophia thought she would never fall in love again, until someone special appeared. Susanna manages to send readers away happily with a twist in the plot. Sophia's story shows us that true love withstands and endures all trials and tribulations. As for Carrie, she finally succeeds in finding her true love, discovering her true heritage and completing her novel with a perfect ending which will leave readers in tears, not sad, but rather happy ones.

The field might fall to fallow and the birds might stop their song awhile; the growing things might die and lie in silence under the snow, while throught it all the cold sea wore its face of storm and death and sunken hopes...and yet unseen beneath the waves a warmer current ran that, in its time, would bring the spring. (pg 512)

Overall, Sophia's Secret is an interesting read, and I don't doubt the slightest bit that it will be loved by all historical fiction fans.

Rating: 4.500

I'd like to say THANK YOU to Susanna Kearsley for sending me a signed paperback copy of Sophia's Secret for this review!

Author Susanna Kearsley

Susanna Kearsley, 43, always knew she wanted to be an author – and even swapped her job as a curator in a museum to be a waitress so she would have more time to write. It wasn’t until she entered the Transworld Publishers’ Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize competition in 1993 – and won! – that she realized her hobby could actually make her a living. Since then, Susanna has published eight books, including The Splendour Falls, The Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms, and, despite being a busy mum, still finds time to write new material. Susanna also writes under the name of Emma Cole.

Sophia's Secret is available on
Amazon US / Amazon UK / The Book Depository

Visit Susanna Kearsley's Website
Follow Susanna Kearsley on Twitter
Visit The Official Susanna Kearsley / Emma Cole Fan Site


Esme said...

This is a wonderful review-I like that it is set in Scotland.

Misfit said...

I agree with Esme, I've been wanting to read this for the longest time.

BRN said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this great review. I so want to read it because historicals, both fiction and romance, are my favorites.

Celeste said...

I love historical fiction and this one sounds amazing!

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Love that it's set in Scotland!

Grace said...

It sounds brilliant and exquisite! And definitely suits what I'm looking for in a novel.

Sarah E said...

This book sounds wonderful! The storyline is very intriguing.