“Without even realizing it, The Excelsior and I had stepped into a local news hotbed. Somewhere in there, Alice’s letters niggled, too. What had she learned about the necklaces and the Melungeon women who wore them?” Whitney questions in Lisa Wingate’s novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters.
Another Carolina Heirlooms novel, this four hundred and forty-eight page paperback targets those who enjoy historical fiction involving cultural biases, hidden pasts, and complicated family dynamics. With one slang word, the topics of racism, abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
In this current-day story written in first person, thirty-eight-year-old single Whitney Monroe keeps busy running two restaurants in Michigan with her cousin. When her world collides due to one of the high-end eateries being targeted for a take-over, she must find funds quickly to keep it afloat.
Knowing years ago she inherited a rundown historical building in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, she takes a trip to see if her grandmother or mother’s belongings can be sold to keep her businesses’ doors open. There is only one problem: her ornery stepfather lives on the third floor of the old building that also leases to several retail tenants on the first floor.
Purposely keeping her distance from her gruff relative and one renter in particular, Whitney gleans what she can from the long-untouched rooms on the second floor. When she finds an old necklace, brooch, and scrimshaw carving along with letters from a woman she never knew existed, her life becomes more complicated.
Learning about the poverty of the Appalachian people during the Depression, the young woman who needs to stop running from and to things wonders what happens to the Melungeons and if they are connected to the Lost Colony.
Tying her previous novel, The Story Keeper, into this account, Wingate shows how one woman’s insecurity in making decisions can be challenged through another’s history. With an abrupt ending that has a confusing twist, Wingate keeps the reader guessing if Whitney will find happiness.
Author, magazine columnist, and speaker, Wingate has written over twenty novels. Nominee and winner of several writing awards, she concentrates on Southern backgrounds and history in her storytelling.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.