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Trouble the Water - eBook
Thomas Nelson / 2008 / ePub
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The South Carolina Low Country is the lush setting for this poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters' journey to self-discovery. Strong female protagonists are forced to deal with suicide, wife abuse, cancer, and grief in a realistic way that will ring true for anyone who has ever suffered great loss. Seitz's writing style recalls that of Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Sue Monk Kidd, and this new novel, which the publisher compares to Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, surely joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended, especially for Southern libraries. This author lives in South Carolina. -- Tamara Butler, Library Journal (Starred Review), 2/1/2008
Trouble For Water is the second novel by Nicole Seitz, and is the heart rendering story of Honor Maddox, a lonely, unemployed young woman stricken with the rare disease Inflammatory Breast Cancer. The novel is set on fictitious St. Anne's Island off the coast of South Carolina, where African-American "Gullah" nannies tend to their employers' children. The story opens with Honor overdosing on pain medicine in a suicide attempt and being saved by the Gullahs. She is taken in by an eccentric elderly widow woman called The Duchess, who likes to go naked, to "bare her soul to the world and to shout, Look at me! I am beautiful! A deep friendship develops between the two, and private secrets are revealed through a collection of sea shells and paintings done by Honor.
The story is told in first person narrative by Honor and The Duchess, and there is interspersed narration by Honor's older sister, Alice, while Honor is in the Waccamaw Memorial Hospital. Minor characters include: Brett, Honor's estranged common-law husband (who has her sign away her entire estate on her deathbed), Wayne, Alice's less-than-ideal husband, and Alice's two teenaged daughters. Also, there is the mysterious nurse Sadie, who writes letters for Honor before she dies. Afterward, Alice can find no one at the hospital who knows of Sadie.
One subplot is the sexual molestation of both Alice and Honor when they are young preteens by a preacher friend of the family. He accidentally drowns on a fishing trip while with Honor, and Honor grows up believing that she actually murdered the man.
Although the novel is confusing at first as scenes and the first person narratives jump abruptly, the story settles into a wonderful examination of these women's lives in the face of this life-threatening disease. The characters are completely three-dimensional from their first appearance. A particularly interesting character is Blondie, an old Gullah nanny who speaks the native "old country" slang and tries several of her time-honored home remedies to cure Honor.
Faith in God helps both Alice and Honor face the devastating loss at the end of the story. It gets a bit long after Honor's death, as Alice leaves her husband and goes to St. Anne's Island to meet Honor's friends including the Duchess, whose real name is Anne. This is a well-written, emotionally-involved novel that all women will want to read. -- Anita Tiemeyer, Christian Book Previews.com
Seitz (The Spirit of Sweetgrass) manages to keep her second faith fiction novel fairly light even though it covers depression, suicide, child abuse, domestic abuse and death. Honor, in her mid-40s, escapes to St. Anne's Isle off the South Carolina coast with her life in tatters. She's unemployed and broke, and feels unworthy of love after a divorce and a failed relationship. Her attempted suicide is thwarted by a group of Gullah nannies who rescue her and love her back to health, introducing her to Duchess, a quirky woman with a penchant for nudity. Honor lives with Duchess for a while as they help each other heal, and eventually Honor reclaims her love for life and painting, and reconnects with her sister Alice. The narration switches regularly among the three women (Honor, Duchess and Alice) and the story jumps back and forth over an eight-year span, which makes the first half of the book intricate to follow. The novel is uneven: none of the serious topics is mined in depth and the writing is simple, but the plot, once understood, is compelling. Fans of inspirational fiction may feel challenged by some of the edgier content, but the story does include a near-death bedside conversion. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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