Jen Gibbs is on the rise. As a successful New York editor, she’s just landed a new job at Vida House Publishing. Then a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk – a pile that is off limits to everyone but George Vida himself. Against her better judgment, Jen sneaks a peek at the 20-year-old manuscript and finds herself drawn into the dangerous tale of Sarra, a Melungeon girl held captive in the turn of the century Appalachia.
Going on little more than a hunch, Jen embarks on the trail to discover the author and origin of the story and characters that have taken over her life. Her search takes her right back to the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains – the place Jen thought she’d left behind for good.
As Jen discovers more of Sarra’s story, she’ll have to face her own family demons as well as Evan, the one man who could stand between her and the book deal of her career.
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is a rare and precious jewel. As readers, we dream of finding that story that immerses us so fully that the line between fiction and reality blurs. The Story Keeper was such a tale for me. Vivid imagery and strong writing infused the novel with so much life that I had to mentally shake myself each time I resurfaced. I half expected to find the characters standing around me, as well as see, hear, and smell the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains.
Well-developed characters – both primary and secondary – imparted an extra layer of realism. Especially when it came to Jen’s family, their pig-headed ways and cultish beliefs could quickly push the reader to feel nothing but aversion. However, through Jennia-Beth (as we come to know her) the reader experiences that excruciating pull between resentment and love, frustration and longing as she grapples with the pain and rejection inflicted by her family while wanting to help them and achieve restoration.
Learning about Appalachia and its inhabitants were added bonuses to this unforgettable journey. The author left me wanting to know more. Hands down, The Story Keeper is one of, if not my favorite read of 2014 and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!
**Originally posted on Life is Story.