The most recent Goodreads giveaway novel this pedometer geek read is The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate. The book was an unedited edition of the Advance Reader Copy so any typographical errors were overlooked by this reader. The presumption is that all of them (and there weren’t that many) were corrected in the published edition.
The Sea Keeper’s Daughters
by Lisa Wingate
Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2015
ISBN: 978-1-41438827-4 (Hardcover)
Mystery, history, intrigue, and even romance are all intertwined in this novel that has the protagonist returning to her roots near Roanoke Island in order to save her business from a hostile takeover.
As the contemporary women’s fiction book opens, Whitney Monroe is dealing with a hostile takeover of her new restaurant, Bella Tazza 2. Bella Tazza 1 is doing well enough that she has expanded only to find that locals, particularly Tagg Harper, are throwing up roadblock after roadblock in legalities, bleeding her funds. Added to that, her estranged stepfather Clyde, whom she hasn’t seen since her mother’s death, has fallen and landed in the hospital in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This forces her to deal with him and his health problems while juggling her financial woes of keeping her business viable (and her employees paid) back home in Michigan.
The Excelsior, now a rundown Gilded Age hotel, was where Whitney spent her summers working for her paternal grandmother. With her mother’s death, she has inherited the building, but has always avoided returning and claiming it. Until now, when she needs to clear it out and sell it to raise needed funds…but there are people like Mark and the other businessmen who rent space on the first floor and Casey, a land developer, who all have their own plans for the old hotel. This also includes her aging stepfather, who has made it clear that he has no intention of moving from the third floor despite his failing health and infirmities.
Once she is there, she begins cleaning out all of her grandmother’s stuff that has been stored in the old bedrooms on the second floor. Going through boxes and desks, she discovers a mystery to be solved, history of which she was unaware, and so much more.
What to do with what she is discovering wars with her growing frustration to save her restaurants and livelihood. Moreover, potential romantic entanglements with both Mark and Casey are a vexation she hopes to ignore in her decision-making process as each, seemingly, wants something from her.
Ultimately, what are the choices she will make? What does she learn about the events of the past that affects her present? And will it really matter in the long run if she loses her sense of self?
Complex characters, lush descriptions, and historic import are all seen in this story that blends the past (the past includes Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers of the Blue Ridge Mountain peoples) with the present. The historical sections of the novel, some of which are told through old letters, are some of the most engrossing parts of the book. Overall, the story makes for compelling reading including a surprising and redemptive conclusion.
As I read about some of the characters in the book, I was compelled to look up more information about what I learned. While I had heard of the lost colony of Roanoke, I had never heard about the Melungeon people. I never knew of this WPA program of the Folklore Writers, either.
While The Sea Keeper’s Daughters is the first of this author’s works that this pedometer geek has read, it will not be the last. I discovered that this is actually the third in the Carolina series, but each stands alone, and this reader will find the time to read the other two sometime in the near future.