The Story Keeper (Carolina Heirlooms Series #2)

The Story Keeper (Carolina Heirlooms Series #2)

by Lisa Wingate


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2015 Christy Award winner! 2015 Carol award winner!
When successful New York editor Jen Gibbs discovers a decaying slush-pile manuscript on her desk, she has no idea that the story of Sarra, a young mixed-race woman trapped in Appalachia at the turn of the twentieth century, will both take her on a journey and change her forever. Happy with her life in the city, and at the top of her career with a new job at Vida House Publishing, Jen has left her Appalachian past and twisted family ties far behind. But the search for the rest of the manuscript, and Jen’s suspicions about the identity of its unnamed author, will draw her into a mystery that leads back to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . and quite possibly through the doors she thought she had closed forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414386898
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Series: Carolina Heirlooms Series , #2
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 44,022
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, inspirational speaker, and the author of more than twenty mainstream fiction novels, including the national bestseller Tending Roses, now in its nineteenth printing. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her novel Blue Moon Bay was a Booklist Top Ten of 2012 pick. Recently the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Wingate, Bill Ford, and seven others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

Abby Craden has been a professional actress and voice artist for over sixteen years and can be heard in numerous television and radio commercials, video games, and audiobooks. She has twice won the AudioFile Earphones Award.

Bahni Turpin has guest starred in many television series, including NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Six Feet Under, and Cold Case. Her film credits include Brokedown Palace and Crossroads. She has won numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and three prestigious Audie Awards.

Read an Excerpt

The Story Keeper

By LISA WINGATE, Sarah Mason

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Wingate Media, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-8826-7


This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens.

The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer's backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait. Its shimmering folds caught my attention, bringing to mind a bit of advice from Wilda Culp, the person without whom I would've ended up somewhere completely different. Someplace tragic.

It's strange how one person and a handful of stories can alter a life.

The trick, Jennia Beth Gibbs, is to turn your face to the glory hours as they come. I heard it again, her deep-raspy Carolina drawl playing the unexpected music of a bygone day. The saddest thing in life is to see them only as they flit away.

They're always a passing thing....

My first afternoon in the war room at Vida House Publishing was a glory hour. I felt it, had an inexplicable knowing of it, even before George Vida shuffled in the door and took his place at the head of the table to begin the weekly pub board meeting—my first at Vida House. This meeting would be different from all other such gatherings I'd attended over the past ten years at a half-dozen companies, in a half-dozen skyscrapers, in and about Manhattan.

There was magic in the air here.

George Vida braced his hands on the table before taking his seat, his gaze strafing the room with the discernment of a leathery old goat sniffing for something to nibble on. His survey paused momentarily on the pile of aging envelopes, manuscript boxes, and rubber band–wrapped papers at the far end of the conference room. The odd conglomeration, among so many other things, was Vida House's claim to fame—a curiosity I'd only heard about until today. One of the few remaining actual slush piles in all of New York City, perhaps in all of publishing. In the age of e-mail communication, paper-and-print slush piles had quietly gone the way of the dinosaurs. Digital slush is smaller, easier to manage, more efficient. Invisible. It gathers no dust, never achieves a patina like the slowly fading fragments in George Vida's relic.

Behold ... Slush Mountain, the young intern who'd taken me on the new-employee tour had said, adding a grandiose hand flourish. It's practically a tourist attraction. He'd leaned closer then. And FYI, don't call it that in front of the big boss. George Vida loves this thing. Nobody, but nobody, touches it. Nobody asks why it's still taking up space in the conference area. We all just pretend it's not there ... like the elephant in the room.

Slush Mountain was an impressive elephant. It consumed a remarkable amount of territory, considering that real estate in Manhattan is always at a premium. Its peak stretched almost to the antique tin ceiling. From there, the collection slowly fanned outward toward the base, confining the conference table and chairs to the remaining three-quarters of the room.

The intern's information wasn't new. George Vida (I'd noticed that everyone here referred to him by both names, never one or the other) kept his mountain to remind the youngsters, hatched into an e-publishing generation, of two things: one, that un returnable manuscripts are unreturnable because someone didn't mind their p's and q's in terms of submission guidelines, and two, that success in publishing is about leaving no page unturned and no envelope unopened. Slush Mountain stood as a reminder that publishing is a labor of love, emphasis on labor. It's no small struggle to climb to a level where you might discover the next great American bestseller ... and actually get credit for it when you do.

"Is it everything you imagined?" Roger leaned in from the next chair, surreptitiously indicating Slush Mountain. Roger and I had been coworkers ten years ago, starting out at a publishing house that practically had its own zip code. He was straight out of Princeton, streetwise and sharp even back then, a Long Island golden boy who had publishing in his blood, while I was the doe-eyed, dark-haired newbie who looked more like an extra from Coal Miner's Daughter than a New Yorker in the making.

I nodded but focused on George Vida. I wasn't about to be lured into talking in pub board meeting on my very first day ... or ogling Slush Mountain. I'd never been quite sure whether Roger was a friend or the competition. Maybe that was just me being jealous. I'd been pigeonholed in nonfiction and memoir for years, while Roger had managed to float from acquiring nonfiction to fiction, and back again, seemingly at will.

At thirty-one, I was starving for something ... new. Some variety.

My cell phone chimed as a text came in, and I scrambled to silence it.

Not soon enough. Every eye turned my way. The moment seemed to last much longer than it probably did, my heart suddenly in my throat and beating at ten times the normal rate, my instinctive response to shrink, duck, back away before a hand could snake out and grab my arm, compress flesh into bone. Some habits die hard, even years after you've left the place and the people behind.

I turned the sound off under the table. "Sorry. I usually leave it in my office during meetings, but I haven't unpacked yet." The excuse felt woefully inadequate. Doubtless, George Vida's cell phone had never busted a meeting.

A sudden shuffling, rustling, and muffled groaning circled the table, everyone seeming to prepare for something. A horrifying thought raced past. What if cell phones in a meeting are a firing offense? Silly, no doubt, but I'd left my previous job, my apartment rent was due in a week, and over the past few years, I had sent my savings, what little there was of it, to a place where it would only prolong a bad situation.

"Box." George Vida pointed to the upturned lid of a printer-paper carton. Andrew, the intern who had given me the tour, snapped to his feet, grabbed the container, and sent it around the table. BlackBerrys, iPhones, and Droids were gently but reluctantly relinquished. No one complained, but body language speaks volumes. I was the class dunce.

Perfect way to meet the rest of the coworkers. Brilliant. They'll never forget you now. On the upside, they'd probably get a laugh out of it, and it never hurt to make people laugh.

Across the table, the intern swiveled his palms up when George Vida wasn't looking. He grinned ruefully, giving me what was probably a twenty-two-year-old's idea of a flirtatious wink.

I sneered back at him in a way that hopefully said, Forget it, buddy. You're just a baby, and aside from that, I won't date anybody I work with.

Ever. Again.

The meeting got started then. The usual power play went on—editors with pull getting support for the bigger deals, the better deals, the deals with real potential. Various editorial team members stepped up in support of one another's projects, their alliances showing. The sales and marketing gurus leaned forward for some pitches, reclined in their chairs during others. I took note of all the dynamics, mapping the lay of the land at the foot of Slush Mountain and, quite wisely, keeping my mouth shut. Stacked in front of me, and in my office, were company catalogs, manuscripts, an iPad, and a laptop that would help bring me up to speed. I hadn't gotten that far yet, but I would. As quickly as possible. Once the day wound down and the building cleared out this evening, I could dig in uninterrupted, making serious headway before drowsy eyes and a growling stomach forced me to the subway, where I would read some more on the way home.

Short night, early morning. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. By the end of the week, I'd be functional. Mostly. In next Monday's pub board meeting, I could begin to contribute, a little at a time. Carefully. George Vida did not appreciate braggadocio—I'd done my homework. Buying projects and getting the support to make them fly off the shelves rather than fall off the shelves was a matter of gaining the favor of the old lion.

"Hollis, if you will introduce us to the newest member of the Vida House family, we'll adjourn this meeting," he requested, and suddenly I was the center of attention again.

George Vida's secretary, Hollis—picture Jane Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies, but a couple decades older—rose from her chair, behind her boss and slightly to the right, her close-cropped gray hair making her thin face more angular and imposing. I'd heard she had been with George Vida since 1967 when he took over the family newspaper business and began building it into the multimillion-dollar operation it was today.

Hollis's long, thin fingers braced in backward arcs on the tabletop, her expression as stoic and seemingly detached as it had been that morning when she'd looked over the folder of contracts and paperwork I'd signed.

Her gaze swept the room. "Jen Gibbs comes to us from the nonfiction arm of Stanislaus International. She brings ten years of experience in memoir and historical nonfiction. Her graduate work was completed at NYU, where she was the recipient of the Aberdeen Fellowship of Arts and Letters and the Steinbeck Fellowship. We are pleased to welcome her to the team." Her regard settled on me, though she looked neither pleased nor unhappy. "If you will share a few facts about yourself that are not on the dossier, Jen, we will begin the process of getting to know you."

"Thank you." I did a split-second mental debate on whether to sit or stand, then decided standing made more sense, as I could see the whole table that way, and making connections with coworkers is the first critical step to success in a new house.

I recapped my publishing history, all the while backhandedly thumbing for something else interesting to say—something that wouldn't make it sound like my life was all about work. It was, and I liked it that way. If you love what you do, you don't mind devoting yourself to it. But at times like this, I did wish I had something more colorful to share. Kids, house, a classy hobby like antique rose gardening or something. A childhood anecdote about where my love of stories began. Something having to do with bedtime tales and that one treasured book received as a birthday present.

It was nice to imagine, but it didn't solve the problem. When your past is a locked box, introductions are ... complicated.

I finally settled for a quick recounting of a wild trip to a mountaintop in Colorado to persuade Tom Brandon to sign his celebrity memoir deal with Stanislaus, during an auction between several publishing houses. It was one of the greatest coups of my career, but also the closest I had ever come to plummeting to my death.

"You haven't really lived until you've slid off a mountain on a snowmobile and spent twenty-four hours huddled against a blizzard," I added, knowing that my new coworkers would assume I'd been desperately out of my element that night in the mountains, which couldn't have been farther from the truth. After that experience, Tom Brandon knew things about me no one else in my adult life had ever known, but to his credit, he never revealed any of it during the interviews and hoopla surrounding the book. By mutual agreement, we'd kept one another's secrets. Action hero Tom Brandon was a babe in the woods. And I was a backwoods girl in hiding.

"The search and rescue made for great publicity for the project, though, even if that was one seriously bone-cold night in the woods," I finished, and my coworkers laughed—all except Roger. I'd forgotten until now that he was working for a competitor during that bidding war. I'd beaten him out.

He sidled close again as the meeting broke up. "I've never quite forgiven you for that Tom Brandon deal. That was sheer brilliance."

"Oh, come on, Roger. You know it's not often that I actually win one of our little battles." It was the usual love-hate interplay. In a competitive business, colleagues tend to be like siblings who can't stand one another half the time and play nice the other half.

Roger pulled me into a momentary shoulder hug. "It all worked out. Losing that deal was what convinced me to pursue more fiction."

Quick little stab-stab there. Oh, that hurt. He knew I'd always had stories in my blood—that fiction was my real dream—but when you're successful in one arena and you've got bills to pay, it's hard to take a chance on foreign territory.

Roger caught me stealing a glance at the slush pile. "Fascinating, isn't it?" His breath brushed across my ear, minty fresh. Too close for comfort.

"Yes, it is."

"Stay away from Slush Mountain. It's the old man's masterpiece." A quick warning, and then he was gone.

I considered waiting around for a chance to casually tell the boss how thrilled I was to be here, but he and Hollis were enwrapped in conversation at the end of the table, so I gathered my things and started toward the door.

"North Carolina," George Vida said just before I reached the exit. I stopped short, turned around.

The boss had paused to look at me, but Hollis was still sifting through papers, seeming slightly frustrated by the delay.

A thick, stubby, old-man finger crooked in my direction. "That's what I was hearing." He tapped the side of his face. "Reporter's ear. I can usually pick up accents. I remember now. You're a Clemson grad. It was somewhere in the paperwork, or Hollis may have mentioned it."

"Must have been in the paperwork," Hollis contributed dryly.

The boss smiled at me, his round cheeks lifting into an expression that reminded me of Vito Corleone in The Godfather. "You North Carolina girls should find some time to catch up. There are no memories like those of the old home place." Still smiling, he returned to his paperwork, not noticing that neither Hollis nor I jumped on the home place conversation.

Somehow, I had a feeling we wouldn't be sitting down for a sweet-tea-and-magnolia chat anytime soon.


Excerpted from The Story Keeper by LISA WINGATE, Sarah Mason. Copyright © 2014 Wingate Media, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Story Keeper 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Dalene3 More than 1 year ago
This is another great read by my favorite author, Lisa Wingate. This books is part of a series of two full-length novels and two novellas. However, this is a stand-alone book. You will want to read the others though to find out how the books all come together and support each other. What is unique about this book, is that it is really two stories in one. The story about Jen Gibbs, an editor for a publisher in New York, is set in the present time. The other story, a story of Sarra and Rand is set in the past. The other books you will want to read in this series are The Sea Glass Sisters, The Prayer Box, and The Tidewater Sisters. Lisa Wingate has the ability to make you feel that you are right there in the story she has written. If you enjoy a good read, that you can't put down, then all of these books are made for you. I highly recommend this book and the others I mentioned to everyone.
Andrea_Renee_Cox More than 1 year ago
by Andrea Renee Cox Sometimes a story woos you, dropping a few teasing hints at just the right moments to ensure it captures your heart before wrapping you in a whirlwind or emotion and hope. Novels like these tend to hold on to you long after you’ve placed them back on the shelf. The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is one such novel. But it’s also so much more. It squirrels away secrets you desperately want to learn, and as the story unfolds, you find that each piece of the treasure you were searching for might come in different vessels than you originally imagined, which might be the best discovery of all. When a partial manuscript lands mysteriously on Jen Gibbs’s desk, she faces a tough decision: read it and risk her new boss’s wrath or sneak it back onto the legendary Slush Mountain. Either choice could get her fired, but the pull of the story might just be a journey worth the possible loss of employment … if she can handle the murky shadows of her past. That could prove even more daunting than ’fessing up to her boss. The line that stood out the most to me came early on. “It’s strange how one person and a handful of stories can alter a life.” It’s true of The Story Keeper, but it resonated deeper with me because of another Storyteller. Jesus Christ told “a handful of stories” called parables. Each one shared a piece of His heart and a large dose of the Truth. They aren’t always easily understood, but they impact the lives of those who try to discern the hidden meanings. With these incredible stories, Jesus paved the way for His sacrifice to settle into our hearts. With these stories, He illuminated the way to cross the bridge and be reunited with the Author of our lives. Isn’t it amazing how one Man and a handful of stories could provide such a beautiful gift as eternal life with God the Father?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
.is a wi gate is an amazing author and story teller. He books are enchanting, thought provoking and leave the reader wanting more of her writings. Bravo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the history interwoven with the fiction hope Lisa will give us many more!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
loriweller1 More than 1 year ago
The Story Keeper is another awesome book by Lisa Wingate. I have enjoyed every book I have read so far and this one did not disappoint. It is basically two stories in one. One from the past and one in the present. Lisa is able to portray families in their true form. Jenn is a mountain girl who goes to New York to become an editor. She goes after THE STORY and ends up back home. She is there to research a paper about the Appalachian Mountains and it's people. The author portrays family's and their uniqueness. The problems present in all families along with true family dynamics were illustrated. I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I so enjoyed both stories in this book. A New York book editor is handed a story that she needs to find the author of. She has many troubles but ends up back in the Appalachian mountains. She grew up here but was happy to leave. This time trying to find the author of the story helps her to get over her troubles that she had whoile growing up. I received this book from book for a fair and honest opinion.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Lisa Wingate in her new book, “The Story Keeper”Book Two in the Carolina Heirlooms series published by Tyndale brings us into the life of Jen Gibbs. From the back 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. First we begin with Jen a New York Editor. Then we hit upon a manuscript that tells the story of Sarra. Now we have two stories going simultaneously. Both of them require Jen to travel back to her home town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This book is all about family: Jen trying to get away from hers and Sarra trying to have one. Jen and Sarra are amazing characters that will burrow their way into your heart and stay with you. Ms. Wingate has written a story that will make you think. I am so glad I found this highly talented author and am looking forward to her next book. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Shawnao-Of-The-Dead More than 1 year ago
I want to start off by saying that I wasn't sure if I would like this book since it is the first Christian Fiction book I've read. So needless to say I was a little hesitant. But MAN I couldn't put this book down! This book is really two books in one, following people in two different centuries, but the author was flawless in her blending of the two. The more I read the more drawn into the world of all the characters, unable to stop reading because I had to know more or know what happened next. I felt for Jen and hearing about her childhood broke my heart. If I have one complaint about this book it was the ending. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good ending and wrapped the major story line up. I guess I felt like there were some things not concluded for me. I’m hoping that there is another book or novella coming that continues Jess’s story because I want to know more about her life. I don’t want to say more and give anything away. To conclude this review I think this is a great book with a great story. I know I’ll be picking up more of Lisa Wingate’s books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful book by Lisa Wingate. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the past comes to claim us in ways we hadn’t planned on, especially if we try to bury that past so that no one in our present can find out just where we came from. It happened that way for Jen Gibbs, a professional editorial team member who landed a dream job at Vida House Publishing. In the past, she has worked with non-fiction manuscripts, and a twist of God’s hand working in her life lands her into what is presumed to be a fictional manuscript, the first three chapters of a story, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A manuscript with a beautifully drawn cover page and titled The Story Keeper was left on her desk one day, thought to be part of the editorial Slush Pile that nobody was supposed to touch. Yet Jen felt compelled to see what it was, read it, until such time that she could slide it into the pile when nobody was around. One could almost feel the guilty pleasure of opening and reading the contents of the envelope. Jen thinks she knows who – and where – the mystery author might be. The contents teased her into looking for the author, bringing it up to her supervisor who tells her to stop the pursuit and if she presents it to the owner, she does so at her own risk. The next thing she knows, Jen and her pup are on a plane back to North Carolina, where her roots were – but more importantly, where the potential author was. And everything she learns about the adversarial writer tells her to stop and go back to New York City. In spite of the ugly memories of her childhood and the bad attitude of the author, Jen just can’t let it go. Then she visits her sisters, additional chapters of The Story Keeper appear at the cabin she is renting, and she wishes she could believe in God as one of the characters in the book does, a loving God instead of the one she was taught about through her father’s church. Does this bring Jen to dream the dream of publishing the novel of a lifetime, or to pursue the desire to find the love that makes her life worth living? The men, women and children in Lisa Wingate’s novel, The Story Keeper, step off the pages into my mind’s eye as if they are real. For the days that the story consumes me, they are real. One can see and hear each one, which is a testament of the gift of writing that the Lord has given to Ms. Wingate and the ability to reach into the heart and soul of a reader to seek the God she serves. This is a magnificent, unforgettable novel of loss and redemption, of anger and rejection and the love of God. The prose is lyrical, at times wailing a dirge and at others exalting the wonders of God’s world. The characters are real, representing all of us who have secrets and wounds – and bringing those secrets and wounds into the light to find the love of the Lord. I highly recommend this novel – to be read, re-read, and shared with friends and loved ones. With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate was an amazing, wonderful read. This one is going into my top ten for the year. There is so much to savor with this tale. The characters I connected with, the mystery compelled me to continue reading, and the historical information was all new to me and inspired me to also do some of my own research. This story was like a puzzle, there were a lot of pieces but as they were put together it made for a beautiful picture. We have Jen Gibbs who lives in New York and has just started her dream job as an editor at Vida House Publishing. Within her first couple of weeks she finds a mysterious manuscript on her desk. Not knowing who gave her the story that looks like it has been taken from the forbidden slush pile, she decides to go ahead and start reading it. Not only is Jen sucked into the story and its powerful characters, but we as readers are also reading that same story and being pulled in. So along with Jen, we journey to discover who wrote this and to determine if this could be the next big seller. Along the way, Jen has to start from where she grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and face her own past that she has been trying to forget. I have not yet read another author who can so masterfully link up the past and the present in a profound and thoughtful way. I received a copy for review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
LanguageTCH More than 1 year ago
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is a very intriguing story woven within an enchanting story about a book editor for a prestigious New York publishing house. As a new employee, Jen Gibbs finds on her desk a mysterious manuscript from the company’s slush pile. She has no idea how it has landed there nor who the author might be. As she begins to read the story, she becomes enthralled with it. The setting is so eerily close to her childhood origins—those she has escaped and left behind. For a time she keeps to herself the manuscript and her hypothetical ideas about the identity of the writer; eventually she shares these with her bosses, perhaps risking her position with them. However, George Vida himself becomes intrigued with the story and the mission of finding out the author’s identity and sends Jen back to the Blue Ridge Mountains to investigate the story of a mixed-race Melungeon girl captured by dangerous men in Appalachia in the early twentieth century. Her quest is to find out who the author is and to recover missing chapters of the story. No one else knows how hard it is for Jen to return there and to face her family and the existing conditions there. Jen’s story, in itself, is a wonderfully entertaining tale, but add to that the captivating secondary story and the mystery shrouding it, and this is a work that compels the reader to learn the fate of both women. I highly recommend this book. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
I loved The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate. An incredible author already, Ms. Wingate, again touches the heart and soul of the reader with this intriguing tale of mystery and family dynamics. In The Story Keeper, Jen Gibbs, a young editor at Vida House Publishing, receives a 20 year old story under mysterious circumstances. As much as she doesn’t want to participate in reading the manuscript, the story draws her into the world of a young man named Rand and a Melungeon girl named Sarra. What at first seems like the forbidden fruit eventually becomes a mission to find the writer and obtain the rest of the story. Jen takes professional risks by pursuing the manuscript’s author. On a hunch, she travels to the author’s home which also happens to be near Jen’s hometown. Jen had thought she left the town and her family behind along with all of the brokenness it represented, but this quest will take her back to that very place. Evan Hall was a young successful writer when his books swept the nation. Now, his home is a fortress to keep the “crazies” out. But his young niece befriends Jen quickly and he’s helpless to stop it. He finds himself being drawn out from the self-imposing prison and discovering a part of his past that he thought was long gone. The Story Keeper is a journey into the past where a people forgotten by time and horribly persecuted, created history with their lives. It is also a journey into rediscovering past hopes and healing family sorrows. Without a doubt, The Story Keeper will have the reader enveloped into its amazing account. I received this book from the Book Club Network and Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion which I’ve provided here.
Karen02KD More than 1 year ago
Jen Gibbs has just started her new job as an editor at the prestigious Vida House Publishing in New York City. Mysteriously, a manuscript from the famous “slush pile” appears on her desk. She knows no one is supposed to touch that pile so she is unsure how to proceed. Should she risk her new job by reading it or should she covertly return it to the pile. When she turns the pages of the manuscript, she is immediately drawn into the story of Rand and Sarra in the late 19th century Appalachia. Now, what should she do? Recognizing the style as reminiscent of a very famous author, she takes the chance that it might be his which would be a huge coup for her company. Convincing her boss to let her approach, Evan Hall about this manuscript, Jenn heads to the Blue Ridge Mountains. What she did not tell her boss is that these are her roots, roots she had hoped to escape and never return to. Evan Hall is a very private man. He deeply resents Jenn approaching him about anything involving writing. Evan has other issues, as well. He has a dying grandmother, a niece in desperate need of guidance, and a brother who refuses to face his responsibilities. Jenn makes a, what she hopes will be a quick trip home to find little has changed. Her family is still living on the edge of stark poverty, expecting her to bail them out without offering her much by way of love and acceptance. Jenn also becomes reacquainted with her talented baby sister, who is looking for a way out of the family cycle of poverty and ignorance. Will Jenn ever be able to find the true author of the story of Rand and Sarra? How much of this story is fiction and how much is true? Jenn and Evan must set aside their personal demons to find the final answers. This was the first book I have read by Lisa Wingate and I am sure it will not be my last. I enjoyed all of it, but I found her descriptions of the cycle of poverty in the Appalachian region of our own country especially informative. I received this from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinio
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Intriguing & Emotive! Shortly after beginning her career with a new publishing house, Jen discovers a mysterious, old, partial manuscript on the corner of her desk that defies explanation. After reading these first chapters she is determined to find the elusive author in order to publish the book in its entirety. The owner of Vida House Publishing makes arrangements for her to travel to the community where the suspected enigmatic author resides. Her past converges with the present as she discovers herself in the Appalachian community where she grew up. "The Story Keeper" is a mystifying, poignant story within a story that evokes numerous emotions as the story of the protagonist's childhood unravels, and the events described in an old manuscript take her on a journey that is esoteric and compelling. The intertwining of the stories interwoven in this masterful novel are intriguing and revealing. The descriptive elements are picturesque, descriptive to the point that visions of the Appalachian mountains and the glory contained within come alive with the beauty of the terrain, waterfalls and streams. The characters presented are colorful, diverse and distinctive.  This story moves at a pace that leaves no room for boredom. I discovered emotional connections throughout this story, told with depth and sensitivity. Lisa Wingate has once again created a deeply moving and entertaining story filled with mystery, intrigue and ethereal qualities. I highly recommend "The Story Keeper!" I was completely engrossed in this creative story within a story.   Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from The Book Club Network's For Readers Only program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! I really enjoyed the development of Jen, a modern young New York editor, and the weaving of two stories – hers and that of Sarra, a young Appalachian girl 100 years earlier. Jen is the newest editor at a publishing house when an old, authorless, partial manuscript lands on her desk. She is drawn into the story of Sarra and wants to find the author and get it published. She embarks on a search – which leads her back to the roots she tried so hard to leave. Will she find her mystery author? Will she reconcile with her backwoods family? I thought this book was great and recommend it.
DBeason More than 1 year ago
The Story Keeper, written by Lisa Wingate, an enjoyable and uplifting book of Christian fiction, is really two stories in one. It begins when Jen Gibbs arrives at her new publishing job in New York City and finds part of a mysterious and anonymous manuscript on her desk. The author takes us through Jen’s search to find the author and the rest of the manuscript, and, little does she know, Jen is also on a journey to reclaim the missing parts of her soul. The book jumps back and forth between Jen’s search for the author of this 20-year old manuscript and the manuscript’s poignant tale of Rand, a Charleston preacher, and Sarra, a young mixed-race woman, as they try to escape the evils of men in the late 1800s. The search for the author takes her back to the backwoods region in North Carolina where she grew up and struggled to escape. Jen was raised in a repressive cult, which still controls her entire family. If not for the intercession of an older woman in the community, Jen would never have had the courage to leave and create a new life. Jen faces many obstacles while trying to get her first big publishing acquisition. Not only does she have to deal with an author who detests the fame that came with his first books, she has to face her own family’s issues and her own memories and fears. Through the search for the author, Jen slowly begins to realize that maybe, just maybe, the god of her childhood, is not God Almighty. God is more than the limiting and belittling god her father always preached and she begins to heal. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderfully written novel and had a very hard time putting it down. The Story Keeper would make for a great weekend read – and I speak from experience! I received a free book from Tyndale House Publishers through The Book Club Network, Inc., in exchange for an unbiased review.
HappyReader50 More than 1 year ago
Until I read The Story Keeper, I had not ready any books by Ms. Wingate. She is a fantastic writer and I would definitely read more of her books. The Story Keeper is a story about family, love, ancestry, forgiveness and success. It is about paying attention to where we came from and where we are headed. Ms. Wingate has a unique way with this book as it is really two stories woven into one. Jen Gibbs is a writer at a large book firm. When she discovers a manuscript on her desk she is able to travel back to her home area in the mountains in an attempt to find the author and to find the end of the story. What she finds there are things she never expected—family, God, understanding of Appalachia history and more about who she is as a person. Wonderful read. A hard book to put down. Masterful story line by Ms. Wingate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So enjoyed The Story Keeper took me back to my Appalachian roots . I have personally researched the Melungeons and was pleasantly surprised to find them in this story.Must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
once again lisa wingate has put me right in the middle of her story, leaving me breathless as I stand next to rand, holding my breath, with a bear ready to attack. The anger I feel at jen's family, they gladly take her money but cannot forgive the fact she was smart enough to get out of the backwoods thinking of their life. This is two stories…Rand and Sarra's struggle to survive and Jen's struggle to bring this book to life as well as help her family…if she can
Christinekline More than 1 year ago
Once again Lisa Wingate has written a beautiful story entwined with another story...she does it so well!  The Story Keeper is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC and is tangled with the story of an editor from New York. Jen Gibbs happens upon a story set in the same mountains that she was raised in and escaped from. While exploring the story background, she also confronts her past and present relationship with her family that she left behind. Lisa Wingate is so great at bringing in spiritual truths into her stories, and I always come away with a new perspective after reading her books. Awesome usual!
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
There are two stories within this book. The main character, Jen, who is an editor found a story laying on her desk that will haunt her and yet teach her about her own family, because she has a tendency to run away from them and her childhood upbringing. The people she comes in contact with, relative to the new story, and in addition to her own family, will bring her to a place where she gains what she had lost. . . her heart. She begins to see everything relative to her life from a new perspective. There is a reason for everything, but we don’t always, and sometimes ever, see it. The lesson will be repeated until we get it right. However, in the end every one wins. This book as a bit of mystery, history, blessings and genealogy. Quite a mixture for an interesting and quite a family novel.
rlighthouse More than 1 year ago
Good Book! Jen has left her southern roots behind and is working on making a name for herself in the publishing world. A  manuscript draws her back to the Mountains of the south to find find the rest of the mysterious  manuscript.  Chapters of the manuscript keep turning up drawing Jen deeper and deeper into the story but no one including the one she guessed is the author will admit to leaving them for her to find. Jen also ventures back to her family and can't escape their needs even though she can't afford to help. The Story Keeper was a great book.