> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review and Giveaway: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge, from JKS Communications , for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

 The Story Keeper cover


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

(Comment from Lisa about the setting of the book)

The Appalachian setting is a character of its own in the book. Why did you set the book there?

 Appalachia is a place where the air fairly whispers with stories. So much of the world has grown too fast paced these days, too busy for sitting and listening, too preoccupied with the future to devote effort to retelling the past. But in Appalachian culture, there’s still a reverence for it. There are still storytellers who can entertain a crowd at a ramshackle cafĂ©, on a back porch or at the kitchen table over coffee. That tradition of the passing down of stories is part of The Story Keeper.

Appalachia is filled with mist and mystery. It lends mood to a story. The mountains are dotted with 
isolated communities where people can live differently, undisturbed by outsiders. It’s also the place where 
mysterious “little races” like the Melungeons lived historically, and in some cases still do. I knew that the historical tale of Sarra would have to do with her Melungeon blood and the myths, legends and prejudices that sort of heritage would bring. Even today, the heritage of “blue-eyed Indians” discovered in the Appalachians by the first English and French explorers remains a mystery. 

What were the origins of their Caucasian blood? Were they descendants of shipwrecked sailors? Journeying Norsemen or Turks? The progeny of the Lost Colonists who vanished from Roanoke Island without a trace, decades before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock? The mystery fascinated me, and it pulled the story from me, and yes, the place became a character in itself in the book.


The title is very apt for this book, as Lisa once again shows how much of a story teller she is! I lover her books, and never leave one without feeling like she gave the reader the best story she could! Having done a lot of genealogical research on the Melungeons, the story line intrigued me before I even started reading the book! Every family has it's own stories and secrets held within those stories. Different points of view end up handing down different editions of the same tale and descendants often have to piece together the past, to see where they truly are from, and to be able to move on as a family. Sometimes it is hard to go home again and face the past, but as Sarra does she learns about herself and finds her future. This is a book you won't soon forget!

About the Author:

Selected among BOOKLIST'S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable Southern settings with elements of women's fiction, history, and mystery to create stories that Publisher's Weekly calls "Masterful" and ForeWord Magazine refers to as "Filled with lyrical prose, hope, and healing.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over over twenty novels and countless magazine pieces. 
Her books have held positions on many bestseller lists, both in the U.S. and internationally. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, a LORIES Best Fiction Award winner, and a Utah Library Award winner. 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.  Visit Lisa at her website: www.LisaWingate.com

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