Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: "The Sea Keeper's Daughters" by Lisa Wingate

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: Ocean breezes, sand beneath your feet, the calls of seagulls...You'll experience them all in "The Sea Keeper's Daughter."  It is also a story that will tug at your heart and keep you turning page after page.  Lisa Wingate paints a picture of the quaint seaside community of Manteo, North Carolina with precision and incorporates small details and characters from her previous novels in the "Carolina Chronicles" series.  The connection brings more of a real-life dimension to the plot, creating a community that past readers can relate to, but not hindering the experience for new readers.

I am a big fan of stories-within-stories when they are well-crafted.  The combination of present day and historical settings gives us the best of both worlds. "The Sea Keepers's Daughters" tells the tale of modern day restaurant owner, Whitney Monroe, and Alice Lorring, a writer during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency.  Lisa Wingate executes both stories in pleasing harmony, each with its own distinct conflicts, but merging into a cohesive story.

Alice's tale is told through a series of torn letters that Whitney finds hidden among family collections. The mending of Alice's letters coincides with Whitney's emotional healing and the improving relationship with her stepfather.  Like the letters, Whitney arrives to Roanoke Island damaged and torn, but finds healing through the island and its residents. Whitney and Alice have compelling stories, equally capable of holding readers' interest waiting to see how the conflicts resolve.  I enjoyed seeing the mountains of North Carolina through the eyes of Alice, and I found myself especially moved by the trials that she faced on her journey. The first person perspective of her letters makes her experiences feel more personal, while also providing a touch of family mystery.

The conclusion to "The Sea Keeper's Daughters" wraps up quite quickly. I wasn't ready for the end, and wanted even more details about Alice. Despite this, the final pages are heart-warming and bring the entire story together into an ideal summer read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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

Summary from Tyndale: From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

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?

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