Barely Above Water

Christian - Romance - General
275 Pages
Reviewed on 09/18/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she's a 2013 Grace Awards Finalist and a Reader's Favorite 2017 Honorable Mention Book Award winner. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite

Barely Above Water by Gail Pallotta has a powerful and heart wrenching message that we all need to hear. Suzie has something wrong with her, but no one seems to know what. Without a diagnosis, she is perceived, by some, to be lazy and complaining. No medical doctor has been able to help, so Suzie takes a giant leap of faith and trusts God to lead her. She moves to Florida to see an alternative medicine doctor that once helped her mother's friend. With no job, she relies on God and her savings while she looks for work. She ends up taking a summer-only job coaching a make-shift swim team with inexperienced swimmers. Although temporary, it will keep her going through the summer while she looks for other opportunities to support herself and pay for her treatments. Suzie meets Matt, the Park and Recreation Director and her new boss. When more than a work relationship begins to develop, Suzie feels she must tell Matt about her illness. Will he stand by her or walk away? Is telling him a risk that Suzie is willing to take?

Gail Pallotta introduces us to a world with options when it comes to taking care of our bodies. She speaks with authority on the subject because she understands it first hand. Gail Pallotta's characters are real and convincing because they come from a place of understanding. Gail's love story is fragile and tender, but with an inner strength that comes from trust and faith in God. Gail Pallotta's story is inspiring and resonates with hope when all hope seems to be gone. A lovely story with well defined and well developed characters, and a story line with factual information that will help, or at least educate, readers.

Miss Mae

Ms. Gail Pallotta is one of my favorite authors. I've read several of her books and they all receive 5 stars from me. So happy to see the same here. :)

Amazon review by Carlene

Some books stay on my mind, even after I've finished reading them. This is one of those books. After i read some about the author's experiences, I realized why the intense descriptions of chronic lyme disease seemed to real--they are! There's a wealth of all-but-first-hand information about one woman's battle to overcome an unidentified malady. Very interesting, not your typical, predictable romance. Definitely worth reading.

Amazon review by Rocky Mo

I really enjoyed this story. I cheered for the main character as she struggled to regain her health. I also cheered for the ragtag swimming team that she was coaching. This book kept me enthralled, and I found myself wishing that it wouldn’t come to an end. Chronic illness can be very difficult for people to understand, and the author did an excellent job of describing the toll that it takes on its victims and on their loved ones. Chronic illness not only hurts people physically but also mentally and emotionally. I thought this was a truly excellent book. It is a story that I would recommend.

An Amazon Review by DiAne

Ms. Pallotta writes an endearing story of hope, love, and healing coming out of despair. I especially enjoyed the way she educated us, without realizing we were learning, about Lyme Disease. A story that made me want to cheer. Great read!

An Amazon Review by Julie

This book is exceptionally well written. It takes the reader into the life of Suzie who battles an unknown illness, and the rollercoaster havoc to he body and life it causes. Yet instead of feeling pity, I couldn't help but root her own. Her tenacity to keep her head above water is mirrored in her attempts to teach less privileged kids not only to swim but compete. As they improve, so does she...and then there is Matt. Light...letting In God's healing touch... affects him as well. I'm glad I purchased and read this one. You will be as well.

An Amazon Review by Victo

This well-crafted novel is layered with several interesting facets. The story of the local swim team, Susie and Matt’s evolving love story, and the deviation of Lyme disease.

Not only is it an interesting concept, there is a great deal of information in this novel of which the general audience is not aware. Susie’s health issues have taken over every aspect of her life, and she’s willing to give up a lucrative career to find a cure.

The alternative route she takes requires faith, enduring emotional pain, and seemingly giving up on everything to find an answer. Well done.

An Amazon Review by Linda

I learned so much as I read this book. Suzie's relationship with Matt is adorable. Not only did I enjoy a sweet love story, but I learned about a mysterious illness that I had never heard of before. All the symptoms of the young woman made me want to read on to find out what she had. What could this illness be? Another tidbit about this story is that the author knows firsthand about this illness so she was able to describe it perfectly. That was not all that I learned. I found out how hard young children have to work to be in a swim meet. The children are adorable as they interact with both Suzie and Matt. Loved the story and very well written!

An Amazon Review By Larry

Ms. Pallotta is a fine author and this story bares it out. The imagery is fantastic, putting you right into the setting: sea shore, swimming pool, swimming competition, inner feelings of Susie and Matt, sunsets, the way people talk, the pain Susie suffers from her illness and strained relationships. The list goes on. Susie has been hurt in the past and tries to get over it. What will happen when Matt learns of her illness. Will he hurt her just as did Carson, her former boyfriend? This is a wonderful story of faith and learning how to cope with the curves life throws us. The description of Susie's sickness and what she suffers is chilling. We, as the reader, will desire for her to get well and for everything to turn out okay. The tension is vivid as Susie must decide when to tell Matt of her illness. I particularly enjoyed the swimming competition which was exciting. The author is well versed in swimming and did an extensive research of the disease afflicting Susie. At the end of the novel are insights into the disease and prominent doctors who have dealt with it. I've had two swimming courses and still am not sure if I could save myself if I fell off the side of the pool. I wish I was close enough for Ms. Pallotta to give me lessons for surely I could get over my fear of water.

An Amazon Review by Paula

Hope is a definite theme in this story. But more than just a cross-your-fingers type of hope but a "you can rely on God" kind of hope. Illness can cloud the hope from our lives as we suffer through. This is what the main character from Barely Above Water experiences.
Pallotta's characters come to life through their distinctive development. The author weaves together a fight to maintain hope during a strange illness with a second chance at finding love and care.
Don't miss this well-crafted and unique story.