Saturday, July 4, 2009

Trouble the Water

by Nicole Seitz
Finished July 4, 2009

Serendipity. Since I became a librarian I rarely just wander through the shelves looking for something to read. Most of the time I find my books through reviews or advertisements. I may see a book come through on one of the carts. I hardly ever go to the shelves in search of something good.

Recently, I've gone back to that. It's a pleasure and so nice when serendipitously, I find something. I was in the mood for something adventurous or suspensful. I had taken a Ted Dekker novel- the name of which I can't remember. But, as it turns out, I wasn't in the mood for that at all. I found Trouble the Water looking on the new book shelf while waiting for my grilled cheese and tomato sandwich to be ready at Chapter Two cafe. The cover attracted me. It's from Thomas Nelson publishers. Ever since I read Home Another Way, I lost my fear of "Christian Fiction." I thought that all Christian Fiction was bound to be sappy. Not so. This had a religious theme, but not an overt one. It was very very good.

Set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina on a fictional island called St. Annes, it is the story of a girl named Honor Maddox. Honor has come to St.Anne's Island to find a new life. Instead, she decides to end her life. But some of the Gullah women who work as nannies, taking their little white charges to the local playground, find her just in time. They take her to a wise old Gullah woman named Blondell. Blondell tells Honor to go stay with Duchess. Duchess is a crazy woman, it seems. She is fond of walking around without any clothes on. She's a widow who rattles around in an old mansion mourning her lost husband, children and dog.

Honor is good for Duchess and Duchess is good for Honor. Both end up saving the other. It's not spoiling the story to say that Honor gets ill and dies at the end of the story. Duchess tells us as much in one of the first chapters. The description of Honor's last days reminded me so much of Mama's last days. I didn't cry, though. It was a sad and happy book. It was hopeful.

I love it when a book like this falls into my lap. Interestingly, right when I started reading this, I got an email from the Poor Clare in South Carolina. Last year I had written to them asking about staying at their monastery for retreat. I had planned on staying at a nondenominational retreat house on Edisto Island after visiting Moira and Eric. On the way back home, I wanted to stay at the Poor Clares. My trip fell through, but I finally heard from the nuns. They have a new retreat house in Traveler's Rest, SC, on the property of their monastery.
I used the brochure about the retreat house as a bookmark while reading Trouble the Water.

Is God trying to tell me something? Throughout the reading of this book I wanted to be there on St. Anne's Island, getting away from my life and re-grouping and finding God again. It's not St. Anne's Island, or the Lowcountry of South Carolina, but maybe I need to go to Traveler's Rest.


mrshart said...

Have you read The Mermaid Chair? That is a Low Country SC book, too. I loved it.

mrshart said...

On my way home from South Carolina last week I read Trouble the Water. Oh my goodness, such a good book. Very intense. Because I was in a car with my husband and daughter, I couldn't break down and cry my heart out at the description of the death from cancer. It was very moving. If it had not been a library book, I'd have underlined lots of things.