Harper Collins, 2010
My Rating: A
It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the first stop on the TLC Book Tour of Stiltsville: A Novel by Susanna Daniel.
Stiltsville is an in-depth look at a marriage, a family and friendships spanning three decades in an area of the world I’ve never been, South Florida.
Frances is single, in her mid-twenties when she flies into Miami for the wedding of a friend. She has an extra day so a new friend invites her to go out on the open water of Biscayne Bay. They boat out to an area that is a completely new experience to Frances (and me). It’s a community of houses in the middle of the water that are built on concrete and metal pilings. The houses look as if they are built on stilts, hence it’s called Stiltsville.
I googled for images of houses like this and found quite a few around the world. This picture is from a hotel in Bermuda that I think might be similar to the ones in Stiltsville: A Novel. Isn’t it beautiful?
Frances’ visit to Stiltsville changes the course of her life. She finds her personality changing, blossoming. She is doing and saying things she hasn’t done before. It’s on this first visit to a Stiltsville house where she meets Dennis, her future husband. Within six months Frances is back in Miami building a life with Dennis.
The story is told in the first person from Frances’ point of view. It felt as if Frances were someone who sat down next to me on a train. All I had to do was ask her to tell me about her life and it all came pouring out. I just threw in a couple of prompts from time to time (“And then what happened?”). Her life drew me in as she let me in on some of the intimate details of her relationship with Dennis, his parents, their daughter, and a few of their friends. Their was even a slight infidelity.
If Frances really had been sitting next to me on the train, I would have told her to write this all down as it would make a great book. The part of the story about the house on stilts completely captured my imagination. The story was so vivid that I felt as if I were really there. Here’s a little sample:
In July in South Florida, the sunlight fusses and adjusts a hundred times over the course of the day: By mid-afternoon, hours from sunset, the blue of the sky was rich and dense, as if a dusting of powder had been wiped from its surface.
The character of South Florida was as real as Frances and Dennis. I felt as if I’d been there.
This was not a quick read for me, one I could devour in a few hours. I took my time and enjoyed it. I recommend you do the same.
About the author: It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel as it is very mature in writing and storytelling. Susanna Daniel brings to this book her own personal experience of living in a stilt house during her childhood. More information about Susanna Daniel can be found at her website: Susanna Danuel.com
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Jane at Harper Collins for my copy of the book. Stiltsville: A Novel
is available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.) Also, check your local library and local bookstores.
Other stops on the tour can be found at TLC Book Tours.