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Publisher's Summary

When best-selling author Carrie McClelland visits the stark and beautiful Slains Casle, she decides to use the castle as the setting for her new novel, and one of her own ancestors, Sophia, as her heroine. Then Carrie realises her writing is taking on a life of its own and the lines between fact and fiction become increasingly blurred. As Sophias' memories draw Carrie more deeply into the intrigue of 1708, she discovers a captivating love story lost in time. Please note this title was previously recorded as The Winter Sea
©2009 Susanna Kearsley (P)2009 Oakhill Publishing Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A deeply-engaging romance and a compelling historical novel ... Susanna Kearsley has written a marvelous book." ( Bernard Cornwell)

What listeners say about Sophia's Secret

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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favourite author and story

I loved Kearsley's book Marianna, and it was my absolute favourite until I heard this one. What an amazing performance and what a truly captivating storyline.

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Brilliant Story

Has everything a reader wants. Such a heart warming story with such Joy and sadness. Then twists and turns. This story keeps the reader enthralled all the way through

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loved it

i loved it could not put it down very good story
and very well read.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Liane
  • 29-06-2010

A great read

I disagree with the negative comment on the narration, I loved her voice. When she narrated the historical scenes involving Sophie I thought she had one of the best Scottish accents I've listened to; equally easy to listen to for men and women and when she used her own voice for Carrie I thought her timing and melody was mesmirizing. As far as the story it was a beautifully rendered tapestry of past and future where Carrie's memories pour into a lovely book. This could have been a unbelievable tale but instead was handled with ease and credibilty. The romances of both Sophie and Carrie were realistic and sweet, however this is no "bodice tearing" story, it is more a historical journey and its impact on the current day. A great read and well worth a listen.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lizzykafoops
  • 06-08-2011

The Winter Sea

Why hasn't it been pointed out anywhere that this is the exact same book as The Winter Sea. I have purchased both and am very disappointed that I got one book for the price of two.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Cath6408
  • 23-10-2015

Absolutely brilliant.

I so loved this story and these wonderful characters. This is one I will listen to again on time for it is that good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Delia
  • 24-02-2010

Very Enjoyable Listen

I really enjoyed this audio book, both for the story which blended history and romance with a little mystery and fantasy, and also for the narrator.
I disagree with the other reviewer who did not enjoy the narration, although I understand that sort of thing is completely subjective so I can only express my own opinion. I thought the narrator was very engaging to listen to, but maybe that's because I am so partial to Scottish accents. She did a great job of the Doric accent, which is difficult to understand, let along speak if it's not your native tongue. (She's obviously Scottish herself) I had no trouble telling one character from another, even the men's accents didn't sound silly the way female narrators sometimes do when trying to deepen their voices. As for the main character's Canadian accent, being Canadian myself of Scottish descent, I thought she sounded very pleasant to listen, regardless of the occasional twinge of barely perceptible Scots in there, especially considering she was doing an East Coast Maritime accent, which is very different from Central or West Coast Canadians.
I loved the story as it wove back and forth between the current setting of the writer mysteriously drawn to Slains Castle while researching a book, which almost seems to write itself from her dreams, and the past - being the story she is trying to write that starts appearing more real than fiction. It has a satisfying conclusion, although I hated it to end. I listened to it too quickly as I could barely put my IPOD down until it was done.
I wish Audible had more of Susanna Kearsley's books available and I'd be very happy with them using the same narrator again.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Lynne
  • Lynne
  • 22-11-2011

Waste of a Credit

I already had bought 'The Winter Sea', which was an incredibly rich story, beautifully narrated. When I saw 'Sophia's Secret', I took the synopsis to mean that this was a sequel. I was really annoyed to find that this was exactly the same book - word for word, only by a different narrator. I could have used my credit for buying another gem-of-a-read.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin
  • 29-11-2009

Ruined by the Narration

This was a mildly entertaining book, completely ruined by the narration. I'm not sure if Carolyn Bonnyman is a Scot trying to put on a Canadian accent, or a North American trying to put on both a Scottish and Canadian east coast accent -- whatever she's attempting it is a mess. It's a shame because although it is light reading, the book seems to be well written and historically interesting.

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  • JANET
  • 07-06-2014

great story

Would you listen to Sophia's Secret again? Why?

My only complaint about the story was the narrator. Her voice is so soft that it was very difficult at times to hear her. Other than that, I thought the book was excellent.

What three words best describe Carolyn Bonnyman’s performance?

she talks to softly. She was a wonderful voice, but too soft for the recording.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • jennifer
  • 11-10-2011

Disliked Narrator

What did you like best about Sophia's Secret? What did you like least?

Good story . Bad narration. It was like the narrator was whispering through and did not have character voices. It was very easy to get lost on who was speaking. Was very easy to fall asleep with the narrator being very monotone.

How could the performance have been better?

Different narrator.

Did Sophia's Secret inspire you to do anything?

No

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Judy
  • 02-01-2010

A well written story.

Being interested in family tree research was my original attraction to this story. It tuned out to be one of the most beautiful stories I have listened to. I found myself 'plugging in' frequently! I am not sure how authentic the Scottish accents were, but I found them acceptable. I enjoyed the mix of the historic and the modern romance as well as the historical data. I have no doubt that I shall listen to this story again.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AZ
  • 23-01-2013

Pleasant but Ponderous

Having enjoyed 'Rose Cottage' by Susanna Kearsley enormously I had great hopes for this book. You know what they say about great expectations? ... Carolyn Bonnyman was skilled at accents and has a lovely voice. However, the many characters and meandering plot made some characters harder to single out or let shine. The attention to detail within the story was such that sometimes I could only see the wood and not the trees or the path through them. The story within a story approach allows some self-reflection by the author on the writing of historical fiction. I found this gently witty and revealing, if also self-indulgent. As a journey between times this story covered less trodden ground and shared interesting views but spent a little too much time pondering over the map.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carrie
  • 03-03-2011

Really enjoyable

I just loved this story and was drawn into the drama and romance of both the past and present storylines. I was enjoying it so much I was quite happy to suspend disbelief over the contrivance of the inherited memories. The narrator is excellent at accents and it was beautifully read. I would like to hear more from this author.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-11-2010

Loved it.

I absolutely loved this story though it was a bit predictable at times. It kept me in thrall throughout though and I loved the historical context as well as the romance. I was rather interested in the Jacobite risings having listened to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and it was very interesting to hear of the earlier rising and the history surrounding it in this novel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lara
  • 04-09-2018

I gave up...

I usually love this kind of book, but I couldn’t hear this one... I simply couldn’t understand the Scottish accent... I couldn’t follow the story because I didn’t understand it. This book should not be categorized as an English book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 29-06-2010

A lovely story

I liked this timeslip style romance and would probably seek out the author's other work after a bit of a break. The narrator had a nice voice and seemed to have the correct Scots (Doric?) dialect for the story (the dialect was mentioned more than once in the story itself). The plot was a tiny bit unconvincing in parts, and you'll probably see the denouement coming a mile off, but it was a nice, easy listen. Perfect for plugging the ears while doing the housework.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hollie
  • 01-10-2020

A perfect Autumnal read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I'm a huge Outlander fan and had heard that Susanna Kearsley is quite similar to Diana Gabaldon so I gave this a go and so glad I did! Sophia's Secret, or otherwise known as The Winter's Sea, was a real joy to read. I was transported back in time while Susanna was exploring Sophia's story. I loved her character and felt as if I was at Slaines along side her. I listened to this book read by Carolyn Bonnyman who has a wonderful voice but felt it was a bit odd in places. I believe Carolyn Bonnyman portrayed Sophia fantastically with her native Scottish accent (love this accent!) but was a little puzzled when she portrayed Carrie. It sounded a bit funny to me, being Canadian myself so I did struggle with that a bit. I won't spoil this book but will say the ending was brilliant. So if you are looking for a cozy read by the fire or candlelight and looking for a historical fiction book with a hint of romance, than this is the one for you! Looking forward to the next book in the series, The Firebird!

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  • Franniep
  • 16-09-2020

Not for me

This one veers very close to the 'Mills and Boon' genre. Nothing against romantic fiction, it's a matter of taste and I don't enjoy it. The narration was rather masterful though - taking on an Aberdeenshire dialect is a big ask and she seemed to pull it off.

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  • Sue Day
  • 20-07-2018

Loved it!

Couldn't stop listening. took a little while to build but good strong historical references intertwined with a great love story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Shapfell
  • 14-06-2018

Better as the Book

I read this in book form several years ago and enjoyed it so much I decided to listen to it in Audible. Somehow it didn't have the same impact. I found the narrator quite lazy, as if she was reading it to herself. I became bored very early on, couldn't get involved in the story, and decided I would probably not finish it in its Audible form. The two stories got lost in Audible somehow. It needed someone of the calibration of narrator Davina Porter to bring the characters to life.

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