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Book Jacket

304 pages
Mar 2008
Thomas Nelson

Trouble the Water

by Nicole Seitz

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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

Book Jacket:

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.

"This is another thing I know for a fact: a woman can't be an island, not really. No, it's the touching we do in other people's lives that matters when all is said and done. The silly things we do for ourselves--shiny new cars and jobs and money--they don't mean a hill of beans. Honor taught me that. My soul sisters on this island taught me that. And this is the story of true sisterhood. It's the story of Honor, come and gone, and how one flawed woman worked miracles in this mixed-up world."