About this book: (from the publisher) Successful New York editor, Jen Gibbs, is at the top of her game with her new position at Vida House Publishing — until a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk. Turning the pages, Jen finds herself drawn into the life of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in the turn of the century Appalachia. A risky hunch may lead to The Story Keeper‘s hidden origins and its unknown author, but when the trail turns toward the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place Jen thought she’d left behind forever, the price of a blockbuster next book deal may be higher than she’s willing to pay.
About the author: (excerpted from Tyndale Media Center) Lisa Wingate is a magazine columnist, speaker, and the author of nineteen mainstream novels, including the national bestseller, Tending Roses, now in its eighteenth printing. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. When not dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteers teach adults to read.
Lisa lives on a ranch in Texas, where she spoils the livestock, raises boys, and teaches Sunday school to high school seniors. Of all the things she loves about her job, she loves connecting with people, both real and imaginary, the most. More information about Lisa’s novels can be found at www.Lisawingate.com.
Judging this cover: 5 out of 5 stars. Full marks for this one. Love the bridge imagery, with the shrouded mountains in the distance, and the attractive female figure in the foreground–all of which match the story.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: G. Wholly grown-up yet perfectly clean. Bravo.
Reminds me of… Because of its Appalachian themes with notes of hope and redemption, Catherine Marshall’s classic Christy.
You’ll want to buy this book if … you’re curious about who the Melungeon people are and their role in Appalachian history.
Why did I read this book? For Tyndale for review
Would I read another by this author? Anytime. This prolific author astonishes me for the depth and variety of her stories. I honestly have no idea how she does it, except by the gift of God.
Why this story matters: Because it speaks of hope for the seemingly hopeless and redemption for the apparently un-redeemable.
My take: I’ve had an interest in Appalachia ever since my high school years, when I lived in Virginia and my friends and I went on two separate summer trips to that region to work among the people there. I’m fascinated by this American subculture, and all the ways they’ve retained their unique identity for hundreds of years. So I was interested to see what one of my favorite authors would do with the subject.
In The Story Keeper, you’ll find two stories in one, and the way they tie together is a feat I imagine only Lisa Wingate can pull off. I’d actually like to go back and reread The Story Keeper to pick out more of the connections, now that I’ve seen the whole story unfold. My favorite parts were the descriptions of Jen’s interactions with her family, especially her sisters. The high tension of these felt spot-on, and I’ve never seen Lisa Wingate write with such a unique and powerful voice.
Jen’s interaction with Evan seemed a bit slow to get off the ground, but their ending rang true. Speaking of endings, this is one of the most interesting I’ve seen in recent reads, with all the myriad threads tied into satisfying knots.
Altogether, The Story Keeper is another winsome, enriching and entertaining read from Lisa Wingate.
Thanks to Tyndale House for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: I especially resonated with these lines from The Story Keeper, which were given to Evan Hall :
“Our stories are powerful. They teach, they speak, they inspire. They bring about change. But they are also fragile. Their threads are so easily broken by time, by lack of interest, by failure to understand the value that comes of knowing where we have been and who we have been. In this speed-of-light culture, our histories are fading more quickly than ever. Yet when we lose our stories, we lose ourselves…”
Yes and amen.