Shy, charming, peculiar, and web-toed, Alice Riley has suffered for years at the hands of her dead mother's self-righteous family, while she hides a bevy of secret abilities. When Alice rescues a drowning child, her amazing talents are exposed. Alice can remain underwater for extraordinary periods of time, and she can locate submerged objects through some type of natural sonar ability.
Her new fame/notoriety puts Alice in the national news, amidst allegations that she has somehow faked or manipulated the rescue for her own glory. Alice is trapped and desperate until three amazing older women arrive in her hometown. They are the regal and flamboyant Bonavendier sisters--dignified Lilith, acerbic Mara, and whimsical Pearl--of Sainte's Point Island, their ancestral home off the coast of Georgia. They've read Alice's story in the news and are convinced that she is their long-lost (and much younger) half sister, conceived in a reckless seduction their elderly father confessed to before he died.
Like Alice, the Bonavendier sisters have webbed toes and certain amazing abilities, though none of them have Alice's marked talent for finding things underwater. Alice is no oddity to them. They explain that--like them--she is descended from a mermaid.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
January 01, 2002
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Alice at Heart by Deborah Smith
We are all bodies of water, guarding the mystery of our depths, but some of us have more to guard than others. I've never known quite who I am, but worse than that, I've never known quite what I am.
This morning I stood naked beside the icy waters of Lake Riley, high in the Appalachians of north Georgia, above the fall line where the tame Atlanta winters end and the freezing wild mountain winters begin. A mile away, in my dead mother's hometown, Riley, people were just breaking the ice on their gravel roads and barnyards and church lots and sidewalks, stomping the mountain bedrock before little stores with mom-and-pop names, most of which belong to heavy-footed Rileys. But there I was, alone as always, Odd Alice, the daughter of a reckless young mother and an unknown father who passed along some very strange traits. I had slipped out to the lake from my secluded cabin for my morning swim. Doing the impossible.
I should freeze to death, but I don't. It is February, with a high of about twenty-five degrees, and the lake has an apron of ice like the white iris on a dark eye, narrowing my peculiar view of the deep world beneath. I should fear its dangers, but I don't. Water is the only element in my life I trust fully and completely. I stood there in the cold dawn as usual, not even shivering.
As I stretched and filled my body with frigid air, I looked out over the icy mountain world and heard a thin trickle of sound. It stroked the frosty branches of tall fir trees so far around a bend in the lake my ears shouldn't be able to recognize it if I were like anyone else. The sound was a child screaming. And then I heard a splash.
I dived into the cold, safe water, deep into the heart of the lake, faster than anyone imagines a person can maneuver, fluting the currents with the iridescent webbing between my bare toes, able to go farther, deeper, quicker, and for much, much longer in that netherworld than any human being possibly can. Across the lake, down twenty feet, then thirty, then forty. Into the darkness of a world I love.
I've never had a vision before and never wanted to. But there he was--not the very real child whose scream I had heard, but a man, or the illusion of one. He was so vivid in my mind's eye, floating in front of me as if he were flesh and blood. He was clothed in a diver's wet suit, torn and bloody. His dark eyes, half-open and dreaming of death, were set in a handsome, determined face. He gagged and fought. I felt his pain, his fear, his confusion. Yet I knew he could live if he wanted to. The oxygen had not failed in his lungs; he had failed to believe in it.
No, no, no, I sang out. Breathe.
He looked straight at me, and a kind of wonder appeared on his face, infusing him. He understood. He breathed.
And for the first time in my life, I wasn't alone.