REVIEW: STILTSVILLE, BY SUSANNA DANIEL

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It was a sunny time in 1969 when Atlanta native Frances Ellerby attended a wedding in Miami and met a group of people who would become the center of her life for decades.

The community of houses built on pilings in Biscayne Bay would also be a part of their lives. Stiltsville: A Novel is the story of that life and those times, and the journey follows them as they change, as the world around them morphs into something quite different from what they knew in the beginning.

Hurricanes, racial tensions and violence, and the ebb and flow of relationships remind us all that life can be unpredictable, but at its core are certain blessings that can remain, even after loss.

The story was narrated in the first person voice of Frances, and we can feel the bonds she develops and sustains over the years: with Dennis, whom she marries; with Marse, the friend she met at the wedding, and an assorted cast of characters that feel real and substantial, including Margo, the beloved daughter who would enrich their lives.

In some ways, the story was revealed in a linear fashion over the years and the decades, but then there were the occasional flashbacks and anecdotal tidbits that helped fill out the moments. In the beginning, it was like a very slow opening of a flower, with not much action. Just the ordinary moments in life. I came to love the characters and feel a connection to them. I laughed and cried with them. The story is one I won’t forget. Five stars.