Honor Maddox arrives on the beach of St Anne's Isle, South
Carolina, after taking pills in an attempt to end her life.
When Willa and Ruby, two black nannies, find Honor, they
take her to Miss Blondell, a black woman with knowledge of
the art of healing. After stabilizing Honor, the women
deliver her to Anne, better known as the Duchess, at her
impressive older home that appears as a mansion to Honor.
Duchess is still living in the past after the loss of her
twin children, her husband and a much-loved pet. Duchess
and Honor begin the process of healing each other. With
each effort made by one to heal the other, both gain
comfort and a degree of peace. Just as Honor is getting her
life together by painting, she becomes ill, but chooses to
ignore it. She reminisces about the secrets she's kept from
her sister, Alice, when they were growing up and begins to
write letters to Alice about her regrets, hopes and dreams.
Later, as Honor is dying of breast cancer, Alice is called
to the hospital. With Honor having only a few lucid
moments, the letters are given to Alice to read. The
contents of the writings force Alice to re-evaluate her own
life, as well. The sisters deeply love each other and have
always been there for each other. After Honor's death,
Duchess also reveals some critical secrets about her past
and her connection with the sisters.
The incidents depicted between the sisters at the hospital
are very touching, revealing and self-examining. Having
just been through a deathbed cancer experience with my
brother, I believe Nicole Seitz has taken the reader
through a very realistic journey of the process of dying.
The true value of love between siblings and the importance
of the belief in God is strongly portrayed. This story is
well-written and keeps the interest of the reader.
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."