Living on the East Coast, it’s hard to imagine what it must be like really seeing the ocean for the first time. In Stiltsville, Frances Ellerby’s new friend Marse invites her to stay at a stilt house off of Key Biscayne, Florida and there she falls in love with the man who will become her husband and the place she will come to think of as home. Though Marse has her eye on Dennis, Frances feels herself being drawn to him. When Dennis steals a kiss, she can’t keep her feelings from showing. Stiltsville is the story of their marriage and family that grows and struggles.
Susanna Daniel creates characters that are so real that I felt like I was part of the story. I fell in love with Dennis and worried when Frances worried. What sets this story apart is the setting. Stiltsville and Miami are integral to the novel. Miami is growing and changing along side Frances and her family. The stilt houses and the surrounding beaches are so wonderfully described that I desperately wanted to visit one. But the stilt houses, built in an area known for hurricanes, becomes a symbol for how quickly our lives can change and how tenuous happiness can be. But Daniel shows us that sometimes the risk for a little happiness can outweigh a lifetime of mediocrity.
If you are interested in learning more about Stiltsville, the place, Susanna Daniel has some wonderful pictures on her website.