The Winter Sea
August 16, 2011 § 4 Comments
Anyone who has encountered me while I’m reading a good book can sense what’s going on. The signs are classic and obvious: I am distracted, half-living out of my world and in another. You have to call my name at least three times before I drag myself back to the surface and hear you. Instead of putting the book down to talk to you, I fidget nervously with my finger marking my place, ready to flip it back open the second you stop speaking. I guess it’s a good thing that I generally read only around family members. People would probably think I’m crazy. I can’t help it, though. Once a book has grabbed hold of me, I can’t wrestle away. And who would want to? I just finished reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and it was one such book. It took me by the shoulders, sat me down, and wouldn’t let me leave until the story had played itself out before me.
I hate summing up books. I don’t think I could ever be a book reviewer. It’s the condensing, you see. The narrowing down of a story to its mere bones. I can tell you that The Winter Sea takes place in Scotland, with viewpoints from both the early 18th century and the present day; but I can’t explain how, despite the changes of civilization, the crags and shores and crashing waves of Scotland stayed the same throughout both storylines, an strengthening continuation that flowed through to me as I sat in front of my own ocean. I can explain how I related to the two women around which the book is centered, in their struggles with life and love, but that sounds trite and cliche. It doesn’t explain how I could feel so sympathetic to Sophia, a woman living in a castle in the 1700s, enduring war on her doorstep, traitors in her dining room. And I suppose I could reveal what happens in the end, but that would be thoroughly heartless. Suffice it to say that I almost cried, I clapped my hands, and I wanted it to go on and on. Maybe I’m silly for becoming so involved in books, investing such care and hope in characters, but I can’t help it. I love stories. I want to live in good stories. I wanted to live in this one.