About this book: (from the publisher) Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?
About the author: (from her website) Selected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and Library Journal refers to as “A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe.”
Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” More information about her novels can be found at www.lisawingate.com.
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Women’s Fiction/Book Club
Why I read this book: for Tyndale for review
First impressions: Cover foretells an emotional, sweeping tale of women’s fiction; first pages promise a story I can settle into.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG. For adults but perfectly clean.
Reminds me of… the southern-set novels of Karen White
Will especially appeal to… women who enjoy stories that intertwine past and present in one compelling package of relational drama.
This story matters because… it reminds us that, yes, our stories really do matter.
My take: Like her previous Carolina Heirlooms novels (The Prayer Box, The Story Keeper), The Sea Keeper’s Daughters combines two stories into one, bound together in such a way that only the deeply talented Lisa Wingate can manage. Though this novel is a stand-alone, it includes characters from previous novels–a technique in other books I sometimes find distracting; here, however, it adds texture and dimension.
The more I got into Whitney’s story, the more I warmed to her. Wingate does an especially masterful job revealing Whitney’s character–and enabling her to grow–through her unpredictable interactions with Mark, Casey, and Clyde. The only downside to Whitney’s contemporary story line was that it so engaged me, I was tempted to rush through Alice’s historical story, as told through a series of detailed letters.
Aside from memorable characters and original plot lines, the best part of a Lisa Wingate novel is her enriching exploration of the human spirit–the kind that resonates so deeply within my own soul that I feel I’ve been given the gift of fresh understanding and compassion. I found The Sea Keeper’s Daughters to be a stunningly perceptive tale, with meaningful examinations of eternal matters. All of which crescendos to an unexpected and soul-satisfying conclusion.
[Tweet “Just in time for fall: the latest enriching & entertaining novel @LisaWingate @Crazy4Fiction”]
Thanks to Tyndale House for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Did you catch that mention of Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers? And wonder who they were? You might be surprised to learn, as I was, that they played a significant role in the recording of America’s “voice” during our Depression Era. These folklore writers feature prominently in The Sea Keeper’s Daughters. You can discover a bit more about them here and here. Or, best yet, for a learning experience that’s far more fun, pick up The Sea Keeper’s Daughters. I love a novel that teaches me a part of history I might not have otherwise known.
Which book last did that for you?