The Story Keeper, written by Lisa Wingate and published by Tyndale House Publishing, Inc. (2014), is told by a master storyteller. Filled with suspense and intrigue, Wingate’s story-within-a-story is an inspiring read about a heroine who survives her past by moving beyond her scars to find treasure of the heart.

Jen Gibbs left Appalachia to to study editing in New York and now has landed her dream job at Vida House Publishing. She is only in her new job a short time when a manuscript shows up mysteriously on her desk. The manuscript, entitled The Story Keeper, captivates her. It is the fascinating tale of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in Appalachia at the turn of the twentieth century.

Jen does some research, and comes up with the idea that the manuscript may have been written by Evan Hall, who lives in the Looking Glass Gap area of North Carolina. Jen’s boss decides it would be a good idea for her to travel there and see what she can discover. But this is near Jen’s childhood home—a place to which she thought she would never return. Her family belonged to a very strict Brethren Church where it was not uncommon to be in trouble over very small things. Her mother had left suddenly, leaving a husband to raise his six children alone. Jen had left when she turned eighteen.

As a teenager, Jen had secretly read some of Evan Hall’s books. Hall had become an overnight success at the age of eighteen when he wrote the Time Shifters Book Series. The books were about time travel. They had generated a movie franchise and many followers.

When Jen travels to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she meets Evan Hall and they encounter many mysteries and adventures. She also reconnects with her father and four sisters. (Her only brother passed away twelve years ago.) What happens next is exciting and fun, involving some very close calls.

All ends well, with Jen realizing that her upbringing involved a strict code and set of rules to adhere to, while true faith involves trust in the Lord and His word. The Lord uses Jen in the lives of her family members, and her dream of seeing The Story Keeper in print comes to fruition.

In a very creative way Lisa Wingate weaves a message of the Lord’s love and peace. I feel the most helpful aspect of this story is how Jen accomplishes her goals and dreams, despite a difficult upbringing. The novel is a great read for those 18 and over.


Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”