by Sandra Ardoin
In Gail Pallotta’s new novel, Barely Above Water, Suzie Morris is like so many men and women—especially women, it seems—who suffer from a mysterious, chronic ailment that leaves them barely able to cope with daily life. When she’s given the name of a doctor in Florida who specializes in such cases, Suzie leaves North Carolina and a relationship as toxic as the illness that makes her life miserable.
In order to take part in the alternative medical treatments with the doctor, she uses her background as an accomplished swimmer to accept a part-time, summer job with a county parks and rec department in Destin. She works for Matt Combs, a man whose football career was cut short before it really started.
Both are a little leery of romance having had bad experiences. Yet, they are drawn to one another from the first day. Meanwhile, desperate for healing and dreading Matt learning of her illness and rejecting her, Suzie undergoes various treatments meant to rid her body of what ails it.
Frankly, not being one who suffers a debilitating illness, I found myself worried for Suzie as I read about the healing process, concerned she was being duped. But learning the author writes from personal experience made it fascinating.
The romance is sweet and the heroine’s work teaching swimming to children whose parents work in the hospitality industry was a good touch. For me, though, they weren’t the most interesting factors of the book. If you have (or think you have) one of those mysterious and life-changing illnesses—chronic fatigue, chronic lime disease, etc.—I’d suggest reading Barely Above Water. While I can’t and won’t recommend the treatments talked about, don’t miss the information at the back of the book from Ms. Pallotta and her medical experts. Very interesting!
Have you ever tried alternative or holistic medical treatments? Care to share the results?