2016 Christy Award Winner! (Contemporary novel category)
From 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?
Wingate (The Story Keeper, The Prayer Box) will deepen her large fan base with this novel that blends modern Roanoke Island and Roosevelt's Federal Writers' Project. Whitney Monroe's Michigan new restaurant, Bella Tazza, is under fire from a scoundrel who will do anything to keep it from opening a second location. But when she learns her stepfather is ill, she heads to the Outer Banks' Roanoke Island and the Excelsior, the hotel her mother left her. The Excelsior may contain heirlooms Whitney can sell to finance her restaurants, though she'd like to sell the building if she can get her stepfather out of the third floor. Whitney finds more than she bargains for when she discovers letters from her grandmother Ziltha's sister, a writer for the 1930s Writers' Project, not to mention the dashing Mark Strahan. Whitney must find a way to balance the stresses in her life, but the biggest problem is her inability to trust. Wingate has woven myriad strands in this tale, which links to her previous books and brings readers a wonderful tale of history, mystery, romance, forgiveness, and restoration.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a beautiful story! I highly recommend it. I love how it weaves the past and present through the lives of women. It is primarily set in present day Outer Banks. Whitney is called home because her step-father is in ill health. As she goes through her grandmother's home (former hotel and residence with shops on the ground floor) and late mother's belongings, she discovers letters with secrets to her past and that of her family. There are historical artifacts in the home, and she must to decide what to do with the building itself as she also has a life in another state. She's also in desperate need of money. Everyone has an opinion, but only she can decide what is the right thing to do with the information hidden in the letters, her family history, the home, how to make money, and even her step-father. How everything is tied up in the end is a pleasant gift to read.
There are references to earlier books by the author, but it's not necessary to have read them to understand this book. (I had read those books.)
The Sea Keeper's Daughters
I just finished reading The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate. Whitney Monroe is co-owner of La Tazza restaurant. She recently purchased an old mill (and did not research the town prior to purchase) to open a second location. Unfortunately, Tagg Harper and his cronies are doing everything in his power to stop her from opening the new restaurant (he has the local people in his back pockets). Whitney and her partner, Denise are about to lose everything they have worked for over the last few years. Whitney refuses to back off from the new location.
When her mother passed away, Whitney inherited The Excelsior hotel in Manteo (which is in the Outer Banks of North Carolina). Her step-father, Clyde Franczyk has the right to live in the hotel until his death, and he is firmly entrenched on the third floor (he is cranky). Whitney received a call that Clyde is ill and had to go to the hospital. Whitney is hoping to find something of value in the hotel to sell to help her keep her restaurants (search while he is away).
Whitney finds old letters addressed to her grandmother, Ziltha Ruby Benoit from her twin sister, Alice Loring. Whitney did not know her grandmother had a twin sister. Alice was a part of the Federal Writers Project regarding stories of people and their histories. Whitney finds the letters fascinating. Clyde, who has returned from the hospital, also gets involved in the project (the letters are in pieces). While looking in an old captain’s desk, she discovers some beautiful jewelry and scrimshaw. Can they help her save the hotel? But, at the same time, Whitney will be sacrificing her family history. Mark Strahan owns The Rip Shack which is housed on the first floor of Whitney’s building. Mark does not Whitney to sell the building to the developer, Casey Turner. Mr. Turner will demolish the beautiful and historical building. Mark would also like to start a special youth program on the second floor of the hotel. Can Whitney find a way to save her restaurants while keeping the building and preserving her family history? What did Alice Loring discover during her travels?
I found The Sea Keeper’s Daughters to a very long book. I really enjoyed the history part of the book (it was fascinating). I found Whitney to be stubborn, frustrating, and ridiculous (who hangs on to a restaurant when it will bankrupt you and your family). I was so glad when I finished this book. There are pages of Whitney’s rambling thoughts (you can really just skip over these pages as they do not enhance the book in any way). What Whitney uncovered about her family history was expected, but I found it (the actual history) fascinating. I give The Sea Keeper’s Daughters 3 out of 5 stars. I think this book just needed more polish.
I received a complimentary copy of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters from Tyndale House Publishers via The Book Club Network Inc. and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.