This weekend I had the privilege of spending two and a half days learning from and rubbing elbows with authors. During that time, I managed to finish up my latest read but wanted to hold off on the review because the author was nominated for a Carol Award in the contemporary category (these are given by the American Christian Fiction Writers association and voted for by other authors). Guess what? She won!! Congratulation Lisa Wingate on winning the Carol Award for The Story Keeper.
That wasn’t the book I read, though. The one I just finished is the third book in the Carolina Series (The Prayer Box and The Story Keeper are numbers one and two).
Whitney Monroe is fighting to keep her second restaurant in Michigan open. A crooked business man is thwarting her and her business partner (and cousin) at every turn. The last thing she needs is the phone call that her estranged stepfather is in the hospital. She returns to the outer banks of North Carolina to find her inheritance (a Gilded Age hotel where her stepfather is living) in need of a lot of work. Now in addition to concerns about her restaurant and her cousin, she has to deal with her stepfather who prefers to pretend she’s not there, cleaning up the mess in the hotel, and the shop owners who have businesses on the first floor of the building.
As Whitney begins the chore of cleaning out the second floor, she comes across some old letters. Letters from her grandmother’s sister she never knew existed as she traveled through the state writing stories of the people during the depression era. Alice’s journey is one that fascinates Whitney and brings a group of people together.
Wingate does an excellent job of weaving the letters and stories throughout the book. Whitney’s desire to do the right thing but urgent need for cash will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled with a financial burden, a familial burden, or even a burden of decision. If such a hotel as the Excelsior exists, I would like to visit at some point. The descriptions of the place were vivid and enchanting. The residents of the community are a close knit group and are happy to help each other. A community that I’d like to be a member of.
***Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.