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Teresa's Reading Corner: stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

Synopsis from the Author's Website: One sunny morning in 1969, near the end of her first trip to Miami, twenty-six-year-old Frances Ellerby finds herself in a place called Stiltsville, a community of houses built on pilings in the middle of Biscayne Bay.

It’s the first time the Atlanta native has been out on the open water, and she’s captivated. On the dock of a stilt house, with the dazzling skyline in the distance and the unknowable ocean beneath her, she meets the house’s owner, Dennis DuVal—and a new future reveals itself.

Turning away from her quiet, predictable life back home, Frances moves to Miami to be with Dennis. Over time, she earns the confidence of his wild-at-heart sister and wins the approval of his oldest friend. Frances and Dennis marry and have a child—but rather than growing complacent about their good fortune, they continue to face the challenges of intimacy, and of the complicated city they call home.

Stiltsville is the family’s island oasis—until suddenly it’s gone, and Frances is forced to figure out how to make her family work on dry land. Against a backdrop of lush tropical beauty, Frances and Dennis struggle with the mutability of love and Florida’s weather, and with temptation and chaos and disappointment.
But just when Frances thinks she’s reached some semblance of higher ground, she must confront an obstacle so great that all she’s learned about navigating the uncharted waters of family life can’t keep them afloat.

**Please forgive my vagueness.  I read this book awhile ago and never quite got the review done even though the book deserves so much more.** 

My thoughts:  I'd seen several reviews of stiltsville around the blogosphere before I actually got the opportunity to read it.   Even having read the synopsis and reviews I was unprepared for the emotional experience of reading this book.

At first I was rather indifferent about the story.  It was entertaining enough but nothing was really happening to keep me "glued" to the page. I completely agree with those that said that the story was a bit mundane at times.  The author spent a great deal of time describing some of the more typical aspects of marriage and parenthood however.  I believe that this was required to complete the picture of the relationship between Frances and Dennis as well as their daughter.  I never completely understood what drew Frances and Dennis together and why Frances seemed to be so unhappy in her marriage.  As time went on I was impressed with the integrity that Frances displayed and felt for what she was going through.  It was at this point that I was truly  impressed with the work and the range of emotion I felt while reading the story.

I don't want to lead you to believe that this is just a story about marriage.  The author explores Frances' friendships as well.  I felt that the author did a fantastic job at describing stiltsville and Southern Florida. I could easily visualize the things that were being described and could feel how the setting was an integral part of the story.

I would absolutely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys Women's Fiction where the characters are a bit more mature.  It is an interesting exploration into the life cycle of a marriage and gives the reader some things to think about.

I received my copy of stiltsville from the publisher in order to participate in the book club discussion at Every Day I Write the Book.  It's a fantastic blog that you should check out.



At January 26, 2011 at 8:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was one of my favorite reads of 2010. It was definitely a slow read for me, but I was amazed by the richness of the story as it drew to a close. Yes, I think just the right one for women of a "certain" age. Like me. Glad you enjoyed it.

At January 26, 2011 at 8:39 AM , Blogger nomadreader (Carrie) said...

This book was one of my favorite reads of 2010. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and how emotionally affecting it was.

At January 26, 2011 at 1:38 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

This has been on my wishlist for a while. I really want to read it! Thanks for reviewing it! You've made me want to read it even more! I am off to check out that blog you recommended, too!

At January 26, 2011 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Amused said...

Wow, I really need to get my hands on a copy now!


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