Charles Noble Lewis was chief engineer on the SS Eagle, a boat owned by the Bowring Brothers of St. John's. As such, Charles; his wife, Anne Laura (just Laura to her husband); and their family were prominent members of St. John's society and often fraternized with many of the principals of the Newfoundland sealing industry. Jessie Lewis, daughter of Charles and Laura, was an avid diary writer, who recorded the events occurring around her, as well as her father's (and her own) thoughts about them. Jessie was just eight years old when the SS Newfoundland disaster occurred in 1914, and this is where Captain Kean's Secret begins.
T.C. Badcock presents Jessie's diary entries (and in a few instances, those of her sister, Anne) as illustrations of life in Newfoundland in 1914 to 1918 and beyond. In particular, Badcock uses the entries to emphasize the plight of the sealers and their families and what Jessie and her family did to help them.