Saturday, July 18, 2009

"The past won't let you forget"

"The past won't let you forget" so begins the fly leaf of The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.

For genealogists/family historians, the past draws us in to the stories of our ancestors and their kin. We want to learn more about them. What was their life like? What made them tick? We hope we can find clues and perhaps even answers to these questions as we research.

The principal character of The Winter Sea is Carrie McClelland, an historical fiction writer. While researching for her latest historical fiction, Carrie, a Canadian, leaves France to continue her research in Scotland. Present and past are interwoven throughout the book, so it is like reading two books in one. Although not a genealogist, Carrie's father is one and she consults with him on several occasions about their family history. Mention is made of the IGI (International Genealogical Index), descendancy charts and DNA and researching original documents.

As Kearlsey weaves the story, you are drawn into the story and the talk of genetic memory. It is hard to know what elements of the past are works of fiction and what is true. This is the mark of a good historical fiction book. There are elements of romance, suspense and history in the book. As always, Susanna Kearsley provides a well researched book for her readers. At the end of the book, Kearsley reveals what characters are works of her imagination.

Kearsley, Susanna. The Winter Sea (London : Allison & Busby, 2008) 527 p.

Susanna Kearsley's web site Here you can read the first chapter of the book. I am sure you will be hooked and you will want to read the rest of the book. Susanna Kearsley is a Canadian author.

Do you have a favorite historical fiction or a book with a genealogist as an important character in the book that you would recommend that I or others would enjoy reading?


  1. Thanks for the book tip.I am always looking for a good read and it will be fun to have one with genealogy playing a part!

  2. Hey, no fair...get me hooked on a book that they don't sell here in the US!

    For "light" reading I enjoy Rett MacPherson's Torie O'Shea mysteries (Torie being a genealogist.)

    For something with more meat,more recently I've enjoyed reading Annie's Ghost's by Steve Luxenberg. Another great book is The Sweeter the Juice by Shirlee Taylor Haizlip.

    I love reading things about how people discover and explore the mysteries of their family history.

  3. Sorry Diana that the book is not available yet in the US. I notice that Barnes and Noble have her other books. Perhaps they will add this one to their list eventually.

    Thank you for your suggestions of books to read. I will check to see if our library has them. If not, I can try to get them on interlibrary loan.


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