Award-winning writer Lisa Wingate will introduce her latest enriching and historically intriguing novel, “The Sea Keeper’s Daughters,” at an upcoming event in Seaside. A prolific writer with a long list of awards (most recently a Summer 2015 OKRA Pick), Wingate locates her latest novel setting between the present-day Outer Banks and the recesses of the Appalachian Mountains during the Depression era, when a young widow is hired into Roosevelt’s Federal Writers’ Project.
Family Fiction named Lisa Wingate’s previous novel, “The Story Keeper,” one of the Top 10 novels of 2014.
As protagonist Whitney Monroe fights to keep her restaurant afloat against a hostile competitor, she unwittingly discovers the existence of her Aunt Alice who struggled to take care of herself and her daughter during the Depression. When Whitney’s stepfather, Clyde, becomes too feeble to live on his own, Whitney has the incentive she needs to return and claim her inheritance at the aged Excelsior Hotel on the Outer Banks. She hopes to relocate Clyde to assisted living, sell the hotel building, and perhaps uncover stored treasures to raise much-needed cash. While she does discover a small collection of valuable items, it is her Aunt Alice’s letters that become Whitney’s most fulfilling treasure.
These letters tell of a brave woman commissioned as a Federal Writer and assigned to write the stories of the everyday mountain folk in Appalachia. Through the pieced-together letters, Whitney considers not only Alice’s difficult journey, but her compassion for the multi-racial Melungeon people who suffered many indignities and remain one of the world’s greatest anthropological mysteries. Alice’s chronicle, intertwining with Whitney’s own plight, highlights the power of one person’s story to affect another’s and the resultant significance of kindness.
“The Sea Keeper’s Daughters” is an inspiring story of people learning to care for one another amid strife and a work that sheds new light on the work of the WPA folklore writers, who documented thousands of personal histories of a hidden America.
Wingate will give a talk entitled “Preservation of Story” as part of a Conversation with Coffee series at Sundog Books Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. until noon. The author will sign books after her presentation.
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