Six-part novel by Michael McDowell. Credited by Stephen King as part of the inspiration for The Green Mile.

    Contents and Commentary
  1. The Flood -- Elinor Dammert appears in the flooded town of Perdido, Alabama, and marries into the powerful and wealthy Caskey family. Elinor is a bizarre were-gator/frog-like creature when in the waters of the Blackwater river.
  2. The Levee -- A levee is built to protect the town -- but to allow it to be built Elinor has to sacrifice a child to the river.
  3. The House -- Elinor's daughter Frances, who is also a creature, but is unaware of it. Revenants.
  4. The War -- Frances learns of her mother's legacy.
  5. The Fortune -- The Caskey family is secure, wealthy, respected. But Frances learnes the terrible price when she gives birth to twins. One a normal human, the other locked forever in monster form and destined to live under the river.
  6. Rain -- 60 years after Elinor came out of the river, she dies, and the river rises, drowning Perdito, reclaiming her.
This is a really well detailed and carefully developed tale of three generations of powerful women in a small southern town. No synopsis can do it justice.
An interesting side note is that McDowell's creature appears in two other places. The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and in The Nightmare Before Christmas.