Being a writer changes you as a reader. It’s not as easy as it once was to suspend disbelief and let a story take you away when you’re aware of the writer at work, crafting the tale. Even in the books I love best, I can see some of the choices the writer made along the way. In good books, I see those choices with appreciation for the skill of the person who made them, and they don’t take away from the pleasure of reading. In other books, well, the story gets lost because I’m too aware of the author sitting at his or her word processor trying to finish the damn thing.
So when a book makes me squirrel myself away from the world for a couple of stolen, don’t-really-have-them-but-am-taking-them-anyway hours to read the last hundred pages or so in one sitting, and the only thing that makes me put it down during that time is the need to go get tissues because it makes me cry, that is something very special indeed. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is one of those books.
I finished it two days ago, and I haven’t started reading anything else. I am never without a book on the go, but this is one of those rare cases where I’m still thinking about what I just read and don’t want to interrupt that with something new. That’s in part because I enjoyed the book so much and in part because it left me wanting to be a better writer, and I’ve been thinking a lot about just what Susanna did that made me want to aspire to be able to do it, too. That is probably a topic for another post, but for this one, kudos to Susanna Kearsley. If you like Scottish history and books with writer protagonists, this one’s for you.