Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
Trouble the Water
Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)
Nicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and the author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass as well as a freelance writer/illustrator who has published in numerous low country magazines. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole shows her paintings in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children. Nicole is also an avid blogger, you can leave her a comment on her blog.
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.
In the South Carolina Sea Islands lush setting, Nicole Seitz’s second novel Trouble the Water is a poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters’ journey to self-discovery.
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.
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.
“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.”
“…a special sisterhood of island women whose wisdom and courage linger in the mind long after the book is closed.”
–NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author SUSAN WIGGS
But, back to the book: we all know that women are complicated and nothing is ever as it seems. The old crazy lady, the troubled runaway and the “good” sister are hardly new concepts in women’s literature. But, these three women are anything but one-dimensional. As Nicole reveals more and more about their past, you’ll find more and more in common with her stormy characters.
I found this book to be very well-written. And you’ll notice that I used the term “women’s literature” rather than “women’s fiction” above. That’s because this book is definitely character-driven; that is, the characters are more important than the plot. And to top it all off, I’ve had the privilege to meet Nicole Seitz, who has a gracious and humble spirit.
When you play a stringed instrument, there are a certain type of chords called a harmonics. When this chord is played – although it is actually several notes – it sounds like a single note. It usually sounds as if 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.