The Sea Keeper’s Daughters / by Lisa Wingate. (Carolina Heirlooms) 10.17.2016

Tyndale ISBN 9781414386904

Adult Rating: 5

Award-winning author Lisa Wingate returns with the third installment in the Carolina series.

In The Sea Keeper’s Daughter, restaurant owner Whitney Monroe tries to save her Michigan restaurant from the “good old boys” trying to drive her out of town by blocking her renovations. At the same time, she is trying to deal with an aging hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks that she inherited, as well as dealing with the welfare of her estranged stepfather.

Whitney still resents her stepfather Clyde’s marriage to her now-deceased mother. Sharing the hotel with him and hoping to find some sources of cash as she sorts through family heirlooms, Whitney uncovers an old necklace, a Depression-era love story, and a mystery that will change everything.

The Sea Keeper’s Daughter, a 2016 Christy Award Winner (contemporary), is filled with memorable characters and descriptive settings in North Carolina (Blue Ridge Mountains and the Outer Banks). Wingate continues her trademark of telling two stories at the same time–one from the past, one from the present–tied together by the main character. Wingate blends two stories masterfully into a dark family history filled with drama and plot twists. The first is revealed in old letters Whitney finds, where she discovers a tie between her grandmother and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers. The second story features Whitney’s restaurant troubles and what she plans to do with the hotel she inherited.

Faith is an integral element in this multilayered story within a story, as are the details of the history of the Appalachian Mountains and its peoples. Wingate does an excellent job in character development.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ

Earlier Series Titles Reviewed by CLJ: The Prayer Box (October/November 2013); The Story Keeper (January/February 2016).