Book Review: The Sea Keeper’s Daughters

16 Oct

Unknown-5From 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?


wingatepubshot2015julybLMRSelected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and Library Journal refers to as “A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two- time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.” More information about her novels can be found at


My Impressions:

When choosing a book for my book clubs, I look for a strong story line that encourages discussion, well-developed and complex characters that are easy to relate to, and a writing style that enhances the reading experience. Lisa Wingate has long been a favorite of By The Book, so it wasn’t a tough decision to pick her latest novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters. When we got the chance to host a visit with Lisa, that sealed the deal! Both of my book clubs are discussing it this month. Have you had a chance to read it yet? Let us know your thoughts.

Restaurant owner Whitney Benoit is in the struggle of her career trying to hold on to her dreams and provide for her partner and employees. The last thing she needs is to travel to the Outer Banks to check on her estranged step-father Clyde. But the chance of finally settling family concerns and shoring up her finances prompts the trip. What she finds is a personal history shrouded in legends and secrets, and a chance to stop running away and face her challenges.

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters is a complex novel with two story lines — one set in the Appalachian mountains during the Depression and the other set on modern day Roanoke Island in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Both settings come to life through Lisa’s vivid descriptions. A dedication to thorough research is also evident as she explores the work of the Federal Writer’s Program, the culture of the mountains during the 1930s and the truth and legends surrounding the Melungeon people group. I found all the characters interesting, but Whitney is by far my favorite. Lisa takes her through emotional highs and lows and brings her out stronger emotionally and spiritually. Most of the story is told through Whitney’s first person perspective, however, the historical aspects are recounted through newly discovered letters from Alice, a great-aunt Whitney knew nothing about. The use of this device allowed the characters and the readers to place themselves into Alice’s story — I loved that! The twists and turns of Alice and Whitney’s lives, and the intersection of both stories kept me turning the pages. There is much to discuss in The Sea Keeper’s Daughters — relationships, security-issues, God’s plans versus ours — and I anticipate some great conversations with both my book clubs.

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters is part of Lisa’s Carolina Heirlooms series, but can be read as a standalone novel. However, I found the characters and story lines from the previous books that are subtly woven throughout added greatly to my reading experience. Just go ahead and get the other books. You know want to!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


2 Responses to “Book Review: The Sea Keeper’s Daughters”

  1. Lisa Wingate October 28, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Thank you so much for the lovely review of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters! The book was a joy to write. In particular, I found the work of Roosevelt’s Federal Writers to be absolutely fascinating!

    • rbclibrary October 28, 2015 at 1:40 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! I loved how you wove parts of other books into the story. Looking forward to your next book!

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