Sometimes a story woos you, dropping a few teasing hints at just the right moments to ensure it captures your heart before wrapping you in a whirlwind or emotion and hope. Novels like these tend to hold on to you long after youve placed them back on the shelf.
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is one such novel. But its also so much more. It squirrels away secrets you desperately want to learn, and as the story unfolds, you find that each piece of the treasure you were searching for might come in different vessels than you originally imagined, which might be the best discovery of all.
When a partial manuscript lands mysteriously on Jen Gibbss desk, she faces a tough decision: read it and risk her new bosss wrath or sneak it back onto the legendary Slush Mountain. Either choice could get her fired, but the pull of the story might just be a journey worth the possible loss of employment if she can handle the murky shadows of her past. That could prove even more daunting than fessing up to her boss.
The line that stood out the most to me came early on.
Its strange how one person and a handful of stories can alter a life.
Its true of The Story Keeper, but it resonated deeper with me because of another Storyteller.
Jesus Christ told a handful of stories called parables. Each one shared a piece of His heart and a large dose of the Truth. They arent always easily understood, but they impact the lives of those who try to discern the hidden meanings. With these incredible stories, Jesus paved the way for His sacrifice to settle into our hearts. With these stories, He illuminated the way to cross the bridge and be reunited with the Author of our lives. Isnt it amazing how one Man and a handful of stories could provide such a beautiful gift as eternal life with God the Father?
Sometimes the past comes to claim us in ways we hadnt planned on, especially if we try to bury that past so that no one in our present can find out just where we came from. It happened that way for Jen Gibbs, a professional editorial team member who landed a dream job at Vida House Publishing. In the past, she has worked with non-fiction manuscripts, and a twist of Gods hand working in her life lands her into what is presumed to be a fictional manuscript, the first three chapters of a story, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. A manuscript with a beautifully drawn cover page and titled The Story Keeper was left on her desk one day, thought to be part of the editorial Slush Pile that nobody was supposed to touch. Yet Jen felt compelled to see what it was, read it, until such time that she could slide it into the pile when nobody was around. One could almost feel the guilty pleasure of opening and reading the contents of the envelope.
Jen thinks she knows who and where the mystery author might be. The contents teased her into looking for the author, bringing it up to her supervisor who tells her to stop the pursuit and if she presents it to the owner, she does so at her own risk. The next thing she knows, Jen and her pup are on a plane back to North Carolina, where her roots were but more importantly, where the potential author was. And everything she learns about the adversarial writer tells her to stop and go back to New York City. In spite of the ugly memories of her childhood and the bad attitude of the author, Jen just cant let it go. Then she visits her sisters, additional chapters of The Story Keeper appear at the cabin she is renting, and she wishes she could believe in God as one of the characters in the book does, a loving God instead of the one she was taught about through her fathers church. Does this bring Jen to dream the dream of publishing the novel of a lifetime, or to pursue the desire to find the love that makes her life worth living?
The men, women and children in Lisa Wingates novel, The Story Keeper, step off the pages into my minds eye as if they are real. For the days that the story consumes me, they are real. One can see and hear each one, which is a testament of the gift of writing that the Lord has given to Ms. Wingate and the ability to reach into the heart and soul of a reader to seek the God she serves.
This is a magnificent, unforgettable novel of loss and redemption, of anger and rejection and the love of God. The prose is lyrical, at times wailing a dirge and at others exalting the wonders of Gods world. The characters are real, representing all of us who have secrets and wounds and bringing those secrets and wounds into the light to find the love of the Lord. I highly recommend this novel to be read, re-read, and shared with friends and loved ones.
With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the For Readers Only group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate was an amazing, wonderful read. This one is going into my top ten for the year. There is so much to savor with this tale. The characters I connected with, the mystery compelled me to continue reading, and the historical information was all new to me and inspired me to also do some of my own research. This story was like a puzzle, there were a lot of pieces but as they were put together it made for a beautiful picture. We have Jen Gibbs who lives in New York and has just started her dream job as an editor at Vida House Publishing. Within her first couple of weeks she finds a mysterious manuscript on her desk. Not knowing who gave her the story that looks like it has been taken from the forbidden slush pile, she decides to go ahead and start reading it. Not only is Jen sucked into the story and its powerful characters, but we as readers are also reading that same story and being pulled in. So along with Jen, we journey to discover who wrote this and to determine if this could be the next big seller. Along the way, Jen has to start from where she grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and face her own past that she has been trying to forget. I have not yet read another author who can so masterfully link up the past and the present in a profound and thoughtful way. I received a copy for review from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate is a very intriguing story woven within an enchanting story about a book editor for a prestigious New York publishing house. As a new employee, Jen Gibbs finds on her desk a mysterious manuscript from the companys slush pile. She has no idea how it has landed there nor who the author might be. As she begins to read the story, she becomes enthralled with it. The setting is so eerily close to her childhood originsthose she has escaped and left behind. For a time she keeps to herself the manuscript and her hypothetical ideas about the identity of the writer; eventually she shares these with her bosses, perhaps risking her position with them. However, George Vida himself becomes intrigued with the story and the mission of finding out the authors identity and sends Jen back to the Blue Ridge Mountains to investigate the story of a mixed-race Melungeon girl captured by dangerous men in Appalachia in the early twentieth century. Her quest is to find out who the author is and to recover missing chapters of the story. No one else knows how hard it is for Jen to return there and to face her family and the existing conditions there. Jens story, in itself, is a wonderfully entertaining tale, but add to that the captivating secondary story and the mystery shrouding it, and this is a work that compels the reader to learn the fate of both women. I highly recommend this book. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.
I highly recommend the Story Keeper! Jen Gibbs is an young editor chasing 'THE story'. This was two stories in one. One of the past and one in the present. Jen Gibbs grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I enjoyed how she took me back to her home and what life she had before she escaped to New York City to become an editor for a publishing company. The descriptive scenery, life style and people were wonderful. I was wishing there was more when I turned the last page.
I was gifted a copy by the Book Club Network (bookfun.org) for my opinion.