Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trouble the Water by Nicole Seitz

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Trouble the Water
Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)
Nicole Seitz


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."


“Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water. If you should get there before I do, God’s gonna trouble the water.” – Negro Spiritual

In John chapter 5, the Bible tells the story of the pool of Bethesda and the healing that would take place in the life of the first person to enter the pool after the angel would come down and trouble the water. There was a lame man lying among the sick at the pool’s side unable to get into the water when the angel touched it, and it was Christ alone who could make him whole.

Honor and Alice, two of the main character’s in Nicole Seitz’ book Trouble the Water, are much like this lame man – unable to accept or reach out to God for healing because of the events that took place in their childhood – evil events beyond their control. Their spirits were wounded and paralyzed, unable to move toward healing and wholeness. So, in their brokenness, they go through life making a series of wrong choices suffering more and more with each passing mistreatment. The women of St. Anne’s island, Dutchess, Blondell and the many Gullah women become the feet and hands that bring Honor and Alice into the life and wholeness they have longed for all of their lives.

This is a story that will haunt you long after you finish reading it. It is a story about many events in the lives of many people with seemingly very little in common. What you find out as the story progresses is that all of us are experienced one way or another with suffering, and all of us are in need of the healing that only Christ can give. However, some among us are so wounded they have to be brought to His healing through sometimes extreme and unusual circumstances.

Nicole Seitz creates characters that all but leap off the page. Her story is much like a poem to me – beautiful passages to be slowly savored mingled with funny, sad and painful passages that blend to form a beautiful picture of life, death and all the events that come between those beginning and ending points. The women in this book are like the beautiful shells that the ocean casts upon the shore: “Life, the ocean beats the cream out of them, and the ones that survive are totally remarkable.” (page, 166)

Come to St Anne’s island and wade into the story. God will trouble the water before you get there, and you will emerge changed.