Monday, October 4, 2010
Blog Tour and Giveaway: Stiltsville by Susanna Daniels
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper (August 3, 2010)
From the publisher:
Set against a vivid and lush South Florida background during the years of Miami’s coming-of-age, Stiltsville offers a gripping, bittersweet portrait of a marriage—and romance—that deepens over the course of three decades.
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. 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 life, Frances moves to Miami to be with Dennis. Over time, she earns the confidence of his wild-at-heart sister and 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 essentially the story of the ebb and flow of marriage and family life in a unique setting as told by Frances, the main character. Frances seemed to drift through life apathetically and I was actually surprised at one point when she said she really loved Dennis. What redeemed her character somewhat for me was the ending. I finally connected to Frances and felt such pain for Dennis with what he went through. I felt I got more insight into the DuVals while they were facing his ordeal. Of course, any crisis in a marriage really tests the strength of the spouses. It can either make or break the marriage and Frances came through with flying colors. To be fair, she did have a tremendous support system with her in-laws and her daughter Margo. If she didn't, I'm not too convinced she would have coped as easily.
It's obvious how much Daniels knows the area. Biscayne Bay is almost another character in the story. Daniels easily managed to mentally convey me there. The descriptions of the lush flora and fauna are impeccable. I found it most interesting to read about the lifestyles of stilt house owners. Even though I live it Florida, I've never seen any of these houses. If you would like to see some pics for yourself, you can go here.
Stiltsville is more of a "tell me" than a "show me" book and I think this is one of the reasons I had trouble connecting with Frances. I did like a few of the supporting characters but throughout the story, Dennis seemed a little nebulous to me. I was told what he did but didn't get even a sense of what he thought about the marriage. Even though the story is written from Frances's view point, I think Dennis's character could have been a little more developed in the beginning. For me it was a good read, just not a stellar one but Daniels does show promise as a writer. 3***
If you would like to read more about Susanna Daniels, you can find her here.
Now for the giveaway details:
1 copy for giveaway open to US & Canada
Bonus entries available :
+2 for old followers - remind me how you follow and under what name
+3 for new followers thru GFC
+3 for posting about and linking to drawing or tweeting. Please, please please, DO NOT leave 3 separate comments saying you tweeted or that you are a follower! :-) Be sure to leave an e-mail contact. Deadline to enter is Oct 14th at 5 PM (est) Good luck!
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by TLC tours in exchange for an honest opinion of the book.