Trouble the Water  -     By: Nicole Seitz
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Trouble the Water

Thomas Nelson / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

With a dark secret eating away at her soul, Honor Maddox wants to re-create herself---again. But life's fine for older sister Alice. Or so she tells herself, until Honor's imminent death from cancer causes her to re-examine things. Will an eccentric woman who bares herself to the world help them both find God's healing? 304 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.44 (inches)
ISBN: 1595544003
ISBN-13: 9781595544001
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Set in the South Carolina Sea Islands, Nicole Seitz's second novel follows the stories of two sisters. One is seeking to recreate her life yet again and learns to truly live from a group of Gullah nannies she meets on the island. The other thinks she's got it all together until her sister's imminent death from cancer causes her to re-examine her own life and seek the healing and rebirth her troubled sister managed to find on St. Anne's Island.

An entrancing, unsettling story of sisterhood and sea changes, healing grace and unlikely angels.  A tragic, hilarious, hope-filled novel about the art of starting over.

Library Journal

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

ChristianBookPreviews.com

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

Publisher's Weekly

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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  1. schoolmarm
    Heber Springs, AR
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    July 9, 2009
    schoolmarm
    Heber Springs, AR
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Often life gives us a challenge that makes usreflect backwards to determine how we will goforward. This is case with this story.
  2. Jill Cooper
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 7, 2008
    Jill Cooper
    This was one of those stories where you just wanted to be there and talk to the characters! I began reading on a weekend morning (when I was supposed to be doing my chores) and ended up reading all day. Read a chapter (or two or three), do a chore, read a chapter..... Really excellent read all the way through!
  3. LHam
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 5, 2008
    LHam
    Nicole is a writer who kept me interested through the entire book, one that I did not want to put down. I related personally to part of the book, which kept me interested in trying to get to the plot. Being a South Carolinaian, I related to the actual settings and location. Since I have completed the book, I still find this story in my mind on a regular basis. If you have a sister, it is a must to read.
  4. Angie Arndt
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    April 20, 2008
    Angie Arndt
    I found this book to be very well-written women's literature. And you'll notice that I used the term 'women's literature' rather than 'women's fiction.' That's because this book is definitely character-driven that is, the characters are more important than the plot. And I've had the privilege to meet Nicole Seitz, a woman with a gracious and humble spirit.When you play a stringed instrument, there are certain types of chords called harmonics. When this type of chord is played - although it is actually several notes - it sounds like a single note. It actually sounds as if it played itself - almost otherworldly. In literature, you may call the same concept resonance: when characters in a book come alive to produce a prolonged response in the reader. TROUBLE THE WATER is that type of book. As you are reading, you realize that the characters have struck a chord in your soul - a chord that resonates long after you've finished reading.
  5. Red Evans author On Ice
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    November 16, 2007
    Red Evans author On Ice
    Trouble the Water is about healing and coming to grips with the past that allows one to meet the future. Two sisters experience a shared horror while very young that influences the rest of both their lives. It drives one into a bad marriage, and the other to attempt suicide.It is the simple faith of a group of Gullah nannies on a remote sea island that rescue Honor Maddox from the brink of death by sleeping pills, and put her in the home of another white soul who has also lost her way.Honor recovers more than her health. The despair that drove her to suicide is replaced with a new desire to live, a lost talent is coming back, she has new friends, and maybe now she and her sister could become normal siblings again.The glue that holds the story together is the Christian faith of the principals even in the face of learning that one of the sisters has an insidious and terminal case of breast cancer. The other sister, Alice is devastated and the guilt she has kept inside for all the intervening years increases even more.The other thread here is the quaint sea island. Sparsely populated by seasonal visitors and a colony of Gullah people who provide services to them, St Annes Isle is a special place as Honor discovers and as will Alice. It is a place to go when one needs to find oneself or to get closer to a higher power.There are twists and turns along the way as the two sisters converge from their once different directions, and a curious twist at the end that the reader will not expect, but on reflection will realize that it had to be so.Trouble the Water is a novel of faith and redemption by a writer with knowledge of the culture of the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry, but not confined to just that of the Gullah people. Seitz gives us an insight into the overall culture of the region while telling an intriguing story of two sisters with a shared dark secret.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Nicole Seitz
Located in: Mount Pleasant, SC
Submitted: October 30, 2007

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm a happily married mother of two who works from home, balances many plates in the air at once, and tries to enjoy every minute of my busy life. Blessings abound.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  My main motivation in writing Trouble the Water was to examine the reasons why a person who is terminally ill might keep that a secret from loved ones. This happens quite often. A person who is sick may not have insurance or may not want to burden loved ones with such devastating news. His or her motives may be pure, but what tends to happen as a result is that the survivors are often left wondering why. They wonder, what did I do wrong? Why didn't he/she feel he could tell me? I would have helped! If I'd just known I would have spent more time with her, etc. I was very close to an aunt once who did not tell us she was dying from breast cancer until the very end. I was with her in her passing, and it's something I'll never forget. My main motivation for writing this book was for personal reasons. I simply needed to get in my aunt's head and "recreate" her life in the year before her passing. Although the book is fiction, I was inspired by and actually used some of my aunt's own writing in the novel. My mother (my aunt's sister) was my reader for this manuscript, and by the end of it, there was no more anger, just a lot more understanding on our part, the survivors. Writing Trouble the Water had a tremendous healing effect on us, and it is my hope that it may have a similar effect on readers.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I think Best-selling author Susan Wiggs says it best: "Please read this heartfelt exploration of the timeless mysteries of life and death, and the healing power of true friendship. Talented author Nicole Seitz makes the reader a part of this very special sisterhood of island women whose wisdom and courage linger in the mind long after the book is closed." — Susan Wiggs, best-selling author of Dockside, Summer at Willow Lake, Table for Five, and Lakeside Cottage

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