Winter Sea (Kearsley)

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Winter Sea:

1. Why might Susanna Kearsley have utilized a story-within-a story device rather than use a straightforward telling of a historical novel? What does the character of Carrie McClelland, as a writer, add to the story? (Also see Question #8)

2. How do the two stories, past and present, parallel one other? Do they? Is one of the stories in one of the time-periods more engaging than the other? Did Sophie Paterson's story hold your interest more than Carrie McClelland's?

3. What, if anything, do the heroines—Sophie and Carrie—have in common? How do they differ? Are the two women believable? In other words, does Kearsley do a good job of creating rich, well-rounded characters?

4. Talk about the men in both stories. Which of the contemporary men—Jimmy Keith, Stuie, Graham, or Angus—do you find most appealing? Does Carrie make the right choice at the end?

5. Have you read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander? If so, do you find similarities? Two other books in a similar vein are A.S. Byatt's Possession and Deborah Harkness's The Discovery of Witches. If you've read either of these, or others, compare them to Winter Sea.

6. Kearsley incorporates a good deal of historical fact into her story. Do you find her historical research intrusive or overbearing? Or does Kearsley blend it seamlessly into her story line? What about her remarks in the book's afterword...have you read it?

7. Can you explain genetic memory and how it enables Carrie to access the past? Do you believe there might be such a thing as genetic memory? Is it similar to the "past-lives" concept?

8. A follow-up to Question #1: the book in many ways is self-referential: an author writing about an author writing. What does Kearsley seem to suggest about the craft of writing—in terms of its ability to merge past with present...or to bring historical events and characters alive?

9. Many reviewers mentioned that the book involved them on a deeply emotional level, evoking tears. Did it involve you in the same manner? 

10. What is the significance of the book's title, winter sea.

11. Does this book deliver—in terms of romance and suspense? A number of readers say it's boring, a dull read. Others fall at the opposite end of the spectrum—finding it fast paced and engaging. Where do you fall?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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