|Slains Castle in Aberdeen, Scotland|
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
My Confession: I'm a Cover Lover
You know that old saying about how we shouldn't judge a book by its cover? Well, maybe,...sometimes we should! At least, that's what I decided after reading The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.
You see, if you asked me to be honest about what attracted me to the book, I would say it was the cover and the title. Pure and simple. It happens like that for me sometimes. It's almost like I can imagine the story just by looking at the cover. I've never read anything by this author before, so I didn't know what to expect. Once I found out it was a historical fiction, which I love, I was hooked.
The Winter Sea is two tales in one (something else I love). The story is written in both the present day and in the past. The novel begins in the present with an author who is visiting Scotland to do research for a book she's writing. She finds more than she expects in the ruins of Slains Castle and is inspired to stay awhile longer. She begins to write a novel that almost seems to write itself. It is as if she is haunted by a story that must be told.
The historical fiction part centers around the late 1600s and early 1700s. It has political intrigue, spies, castles, and the desire for "the true king" James to return and claim the throne. It speaks of sacrifice and hardships and the hope for a better world. There are strong female characters, which I appreciate, who aren't damsels in distress waiting to be saved. The novel reminds us that during times of war and unrest in a country, everyone must pull their own weight and be tough if they hope to survive. Remember, the good men are off at war fighting for what their country...or their king. Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't love and romance in the novel. What would anyone fight for if there wasn't that, eh?
While there was never any confusion for me 'where' I was when I was reading (present or past), Kearsley labeled the chapters of the book according to the time period the reader is in. I thought it was a nice touch. For chapters that are set in the present day, she has them labeled with the word "chapter" and a number. For chapters that are set in the past, she has them labeled with just Roman numerals. I must say, she does a wonderful job of weaving in and out of the past and present. The whole book flows wonderfully!
I thoroughly enjoyed both stories in this novel, and I found myself wishing it would continue. For me, it did. Reading geek that I am, I loved that the author gave additional historical notes in the back and references to her information. I found myself on the internet reading all kinds of interesting things from that time period in Scotland and England. I now have a list of other books I'd like to read that are both non-fiction and historical fiction from this time period. I've also added Aberdeen, Scotland, to my list of places I'd like to go see in my travels.
And, just so you know, I often judge a book by its cover. As much as I am an avid reader, and I am all about the words inside a novel, I can't deny my attraction to book covers and their titles. I am seldom disappointed when I choose one this way. It's almost...instinctual.
Of course, I AM a born bibliophile, so it all makes sense, right? ;)