Review: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

Every once in awhile, life throws you surprises. The Story Keeper was one of those unexpected events. I had requested it awhile back from one of the sites I review for, and then changed my mind. There were a couple of other books that just happened to fall higher up on my list that came available. Well, some sort of misunderstanding took place, and I was surprised when I opened a package to find this story.

I have not read a novel by Lisa Wingate before (although I’ve been intending to read The Prayer Box), so I really didn’t know what to expect from this story. The story captured my interest enough to consider it, but the cover is what really drew me in. Even though you really shouldn’t “judge a book by it’s cover,” I am guilty of it. There are books that I have read without reading the synopsis because I loved the cover so much. There are other books that I ignored simply because of the cover. It’s shallow and petty, but it has happened. Fortunately, the latter happens less frequently than the former.

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**I received a free copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review**

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.

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is a story within a story of sorts. The outside and primary story is about Jen Gibbs. She works for a publishing house when a mysterious manuscript appears. The story she reads compels her to find the author and the rest of the story taking her back to the home she always hoped to avoid. Within this story, is the tale of Sarra and Rand. Rand is from a well-to do family and he is searching for adventure. Sarra is a Melungeon. A mysterious race found in Appalachia and surrounded by folklore and myth. These two stories intertwine to tell a tale about overcoming our pasts and looking to the future.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel. The words flowed beautifully, and Lisa Wingate knows how to weave a compelling story and capture authentic characters. The world she created in which fans stormed an area of Appalachia due to a successful author sci-fi series is completely imaginable (these were some of my favorite scenes and descriptions). Each character seemed to have their own struggles in the novel and have to learn to help the others. There are many characters in this book that I would love to see how their lives continue.

Appalachia is a setting that I am growing to love. Whether it is historical or a contemporary story (The Story Keeper encompasses both), Appalachia is a unique locale offering vibrant characters and interesting stories. The Story Keeper incorporated both and intertwined them together quite well.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy as much about this was the pacing of the story and the way it jumped between the two stories. The transitions were smooth, but usually the novel would leave off on such a compelling spot in one story before switching to the other. I would find myself racing through Sarra and Rand’s story to find out what would happen next with Jen and vice versa. At times it made it difficult to just enjoy the story unfolding as I turned the page.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I have plans to read a few more novels by Lisa Wingate in the future, so keep an eye out for those.

I would love to hear from you! Have you read any novels set in Appalachia? Any favorites?

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

  1. Thanks for letting me know! I just checked it out and left a comment. I enjoy reading other peoples thoughts on the same authors and books. Sometimes they pick up on something that I might have missed.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I love the mountain settings. They’re normally filled with colorful characters and family fueds. I haven’t read too many but do have 2 favorites.
    Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin This is another of her fantastic reads! It’s funny, centers around a fued and a mystery, and carries a touch of romance. I’ve read it twice already and would gladly read it every month if I had the time!!
    Choices of the Heart by Laurie Alice Eakes This was a wonderful fast read full of family fueds and a love triangle. Its the 3rd book of the series but the only one I read.


    1. Well, I haven’t read the Lynn Austin book and I have read the first book of the Laurie Alice Eakes series.

      I love the characters that pop up in the Appalachian fiction. They are quite unique!


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