Author: Susanna Daniel
Genre/Age: Women’s fiction, literary, adult
Source: For review, TLC
Stiltsville is a stunning portrait of a marriage from its inception all the way to its tragic demise.
Frances meets Dennis on a trip to Miami in the late 60’s, while visiting Stiltsville, a community of stilt homes in Biscayne Bay. Their romance takes off, and soon they are married. Frances moves to Miami, and starts a life with the young lawyer. Together, they raise an exceptional daughter, deal with miscarriages, live through riots, hurricanes, and face illness.
The book is broken into sections with each section being a different year in their lives, and covers almost 30 years of their marriage. It does not cover every year, but skips ahead quite often – however, you never feel like you’re losing anything, and get a sense of what their lives were like during the years that aren’t covered.
A great aspect of this novel is that it is infused with real life events that occurred in Miami from the 1960’s through 1990’s, with these historical events running parallel to the marriage. We see how Frances and her small family deal with such events as the race riots, Hurricane Andrew, and University of Florida murders. I looked each of these events up while I was reading the novel, and thought it was fascinating that Daniel combined these real life events with her fiction. It enhanced the reading experience for me.
I loved this book so much and will consider it a new favorite. Since I got to peer into almost 30 years of Frances’ life and marriage, I felt like I truly knew her. My heart broke with her and soared with her. I experienced her marriage with her, her ups, her downs, her heartbreak, her joy. I loved having an intimate look into a realistic marriage as well as seeing them raise their daughter from birth to her own marriage.
This story is breathtakingly beautiful. It moves at a slower pace, but is elegantly written, and full of heart. The first 100 pages didn’t hook me immediately, but was setting up the story. After that, I couldn’t stop reading. Really. I stayed up until 1:00 AM to finish this book, and I am almost always in bed by 10:00 or so (yeah, yeah, I’m an old lady, so what?). I felt a true connection to Frances and feel that she is one of the best developed characters I have ever read.
This book will stay on my bookshelf for years to come, and will be treasured for a lifetime. I know I will re-read it when I get married myself and find comfort in the story, even through the sadness. Highly, highly recommended! I want everyone I know to read this book!
My Rating: 5/5