I picked up Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel on a whim at a used bookstore to read on my honeymoon. I knew nothing about the author or storyline, but the title intrigued me as something that might complement days spent lounging about the Caribbean. I was pleasantly surprised with what turned out to be a beautiful tale of motherhood, love, and to what extent one will go to protect their family.
Sea Creatures is set in Miami, where Georgia, her husband Graham, and their three-year old son Frankie, have recently moved. For Georgia, the move back to her hometown comes as a welcomed surprise when her husband receives a job at the University of Miami. The family moves into a houseboat on Georgia’s father’s property, and Georgia takes to being a stay-at-home mother with Frankie, while Graham spends many long hours at work. Much of Georgia’s time is spent learning and teaching sign language to Frankie, who mysteriously stopped talking several months prior to their move. As Georgia begins to grow bored of the slow pace of her new life, her stepmother sets her up with a job as an errand girl for a mysterious old acquaintance named Charlie, who the locals refer to as “the Hermit.”
Overtime, Georgia and Frankie develop strong relationships with Charlie as they spend more and more time on his stilt house secluded in the middle of the ocean, accessible only by boat. Daniel spends plenty of time slowly and beautifully describing the hours the new friends spend together, and the experiences and emotions they share.
But when a string of tragedies hit that affect Charlie, Georgia and her whole family, relationships are tested, challenged and changed and Georgia’s picture of family takes on a new shape.
Sea Creatures is a lovely painting of following what is best for one’s self and family, and the consequences, both good and bad, that can result from these choices.