Wow! This is the 2nd book I've read by Susanna Kearsley, and I think I've just found my new favorite author! And I adore many authors -- Diana Gabaldon is at the top of that list.I didn't think I could love another book or proclaim another book as "perfect" like "The Rose Garden". But "The Winter Sea" is, too. I rejoiced, I wondered, I awed, I shivered, I feared, I cried, I loved... I experienced the gambit of emotions and didn't dread a single bit of the history that the book contained. In fact, the passage where Graham explains to his brother Stuart about The Stewarts and how the Jacobite followers came to be was the best, most concise, and most understandable presentation! I finally "get" all the pieces and the players and the politics!At first, the device of going back and forth between Carrie's novel/Sophia's memories and Carrie's present might be irritating, especially for those who are just getting "in" to the story of the past. But that device didn't bother me at all in this book. Because Carrie was writing the book, and because Sophia's memories were the book, I was quite satisfied. Sure, there were times I wanted to skip ahead into one side of the story, but I'm glad I didn't. Ms. Kearsley amazed me again - perhaps more - at her ability to weave history, romance, and fiction. Even more with this book, because she used so many real characters and places. And while I admit, my hopes were along the lines of what occurred at the end of the book Namely, that Moray would take a new identity and become Carrie's ancestor, I couldn't have envisioned it better than she did. The only true heartbreak was, hopefully, also covered... with the assumption that Graham could have descended from Anna, Sophia and Moray's child. I'd hoped that perhaps the Countess had adopted her and she'd become one of the outspoken Countesses of Earl, but that was before I got to the part where Sophia had placed Anna with Kirstie's sister's family. *sigh* We can't have it all... and it did fit in nicely. But the idea of Graham being related, I think, might also be tied to Colonel Graeme -- Graham & Graeme? Maybe I'm stretching that one.My only nit is that, at times, this book felt so melancholy, I wasn't certain I could bear it any longer. But I suspect that was on purpose -- it had to do with the winter sea... and there are some nice quotes along those lines:(Colonel Graeme speaking to Sophia) He nodded. 'Aye,' he said. ';there is no sight so melancholy as the winter sea, for it does tell us we are truly at the ending of the year, and all its days are passed, its day of joy and sorrow that will never come again.' He turned to look at her, and smiled. 'But so the seasons turn, and so they must, by nature's own design. The fields must fall to fallow and the birds must stop their song awhile; the growing things must die and lie in silence under the snow, just as the winter sea must wear its face of storms and death and sunken hopes, the face ye so dislike. 'Tis but the way of things, and when ye have grown older, lass, as I have, ye may even come to welcome it.'.... 'For if there was no winter, we could never hope for spring.' His eyes were warm on hers, and wise. 'The spring will come.' He paused, then in that same sure tone he said, 'And so will he.'What a truly marvelous book!