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The Story Keeper
by Lisa Wingate

Published: 2014-09-01
Paperback : 448 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members
"Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has a story impacted me like this." -- COLLEEN COBLE, USA Today bestselling author of Seagrass Pier

Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller. Her story-within-a-story, penned with a fine, expressive style, will captivate writers and nonwriters ...
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"Not since To Kill a Mockingbird has a story impacted me like this." -- COLLEEN COBLE, USA Today bestselling author of Seagrass Pier

Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller. Her story-within-a-story, penned with a fine, expressive style, will captivate writers and nonwriters alike. -- Booklist 

Successful New York editor, Jen Gibbs, is at the top of her game with her new position at Vida House Publishing -- until a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk. Turning the pages, Jen finds herself drawn into the life of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in the turn of the century Appalachia. A risky hunch may lead to The Story Keeper's hidden origins and its unknown author, but when the trail turns toward the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place Jen thought she'd left behind forever, the price of a blockbuster next book deal may be higher than she's willing to pay. 

Editorial Review

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This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens.
The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer’s backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait. Its shim-mering folds caught my attention, bringing to mind a bit of advice from Wilda Culp, the person without whom I would’ve ended up somewhere completely different. Someplace tragic. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. In the beginning of the story, Jen feels as though she has finally achieved her dream, but the dream is about to take an unexpected turn. Have you ever stepped through an open door expecting one thing, then found something completely different?

2. Jen’s adult life is in many ways a facade, in that it involves denying and concealing her past. Do you ever feel the need to conceal parts of yourself in order to fit in or advance in a career or social situation? What price do we pay for such choices?

3. When Jen finds the Story Keeper manuscript, she is compelled to read it, even though she knows it’s both a personal and a professional risk. Why do you think she makes that choice? Describe a time when you were driven to take a risk personally or professionally. Did it pay off? What happened?

4. In Sarra’s day, women were given far fewer options in life. Are there stories in your own family of women who faced difficult circumstances and survived or triumphed? How did they overcome their trials?

5. Faced with either helping Sarra or preserving his own safety, Rand chooses to take the risk. In the moment of crisis, he steps forward, even while imagining how a bullet would feel. Do you think we all have the capacity to become heroes? Have you had a heroic moment in your own life? Or can you identify a situation in your past for which you now regret not stepping up?

6. Evan finds himself limited by the persona that has been created by his success. Have others’ expectations of you ever made you feel the need to “play a part”? How can we get real in front of the world?

7. In Helen Hall, Jen sees the “quiet festering of a dream” that was sacrificed in favor of family and business needs. Are there any dreams in your life that have been shelved by necessity? What would it take to go after those dreams? Will you be able to pursue them at some point in the future?

8. Evan Hall’s fans have taken literary love to the point of borderline mania. Have you ever been so enthusiastic about a book that you wanted to visit the setting, contact the author, or “live the book” in some way? What characteristics captivate you and draw you into a story?

9. Because life among the Brethren Saints caused religion and abuse to become hopelessly tangled in Jen’s mind, she has pushed faith aside. Have you dealt with “wounded believers” in your life or been one yourself? How can we separate what we’ve been told about God from authentic truth?

10. Sarra lives in a world that is limited by abuse and prejudice, yet she remains hopeful, determined, and faithful. Rather than blaming God, she looks to God. Where does this attitude come from? Do you think Rand’s faith is “softer” because he has not been tested?

11. Despite the difficult history between Jen and her sisters, the ties of sisterhood still bind and tug. Are the bonds of siblings always lifelong bonds? When those bonds are broken and tattered, what are the results? Have you ever wished a relationship could be different from what it was?

12. The mountains are a touchstone to Jen’s childhood. Where are the touchstones to your childhood? What do they mean to you?

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  "The Story Keeper"by Dalbarado (see profile) 01/03/15

The first of the Carolina Heirloom series. Finding a slush pile manuscript on her desk, has editor Jen being taken back to her Blue Ridge Mountain roots. This novel is a story within a story and will... (read more)

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