Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Stiltsville : a novel
Stiltsville : a novel

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, ©2010.
Physical Description:
310 pages ; 24 cm
Miami,1969. Frances is captivated by the community of houses built on pilings in the middle of Biscayne Bay. On the dock of one stilt house, she meets Dennis, and turns away from her predictable life. Stiltsville becomes their island oasis-- until suddenly it's gone, and Francis is forced to figure out how to make her family work on dry land.


Call Number
Daniel, S.

On Order



"A wise and loving portrait of a marriage....Susanna Daniel writes beautifully of matters of the heart."
-- Jennifer Haigh, author of The Condition

Against a vivid South Florida background, Susanna Daniel's Stiltsville offers a gripping, bittersweet portrait of a marriage--and a romance--that deepens over the course of three decades. Called "an elegantly crafted work of art and a great read" by Curtis Sittenfeld (American Wife, Prep) Stiltsville is a stunningly assured debut novel sure to appeal to readers of Anita Shreve, Sue Miller, and Annie Dillard, or anyone enchanted by the sultry magic of Miami.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

With its lush flora and constant sun, South Florida is the true star of Daniel's exquisite debut, which follows a marriage over the course of 30 years. In 1969, having traveled from Atlanta to Miami for a college friend's wedding, 26-year-old Frances Ellerby meets glamorous Miami native Marse Heiger, who introduces her to Dennis DuVals and his house on stilts in Biscayne Bay. Though Marse has set her cap for Dennis, he and Frances fall in love and marry within a year. "I had no idea then," Frances says, "what would happen to my love, what nourishment it would receive, how mighty it would grow." Dennis and Frances have a daughter, Margo, buy a house in Coral Gables, and their life together proceeds as a series of ups and downs, beautifully told from Frances's pensive, sharp perspective. As the years pass and Miami changes, so do Frances, Dennis, and Margo, and the nuances of their relationships shift and realign, drawing inexorably toward a moving resolution. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Frances Ellerby travels from Georgia to Miami for a wedding and meets the two people who will change her life. One is the glamorous, sexy Marse, a native of Miami, who introduces her to the two great loves of her life: her husband, Dennis, and the sun-drenched landscape of Biscayne Bay. The author's organization of the story into seven sections, each of which recounts a seminal year in Miami history and Frances' life, is a surprisingly successful technique for creating suspense in a book characterized by lushly descriptive and complex writing. The first-person narration provides a vivid look at the characters important to Frances as she becomes a deeply involved wife, mother, and friend. Perhaps the most important character in the story is the city of Miami, which always looms large in Frances' consciousness until the bittersweet ending of her story an ending that could have been melodramatic and maudlin but is written with great delicacy and discretion. This promising first novel will appeal to readers of family stories, literary fiction, and southern writing.--Loughran, Ellen Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In summer 1969, Atlanta native Frances Ellerby goes to Miami for a wedding and meets not only Dennis DuVal, the man she will marry, but also Marse, a woman who becomes her best friend. The DuVal family owns a beach house on stilts in Biscayne Bay, where Dennis and Frances will spend many of the happiest years of their marriage. Their daughter, Margo, is born, then Frances has several miscarriages. Dennis is a lawyer but grows dissatisfied with his job. The family seems happiest on the water, boating and fishing. Frances never gets over her amazement that her life flourishes in gaudy, exotic Miami. Sometimes she feels she drifted into her marriage, but as the years go by, her deep commitment to family and friends, often tested, is portrayed with emotional depth. She changes before our eyes from a guileless girl to a woman of wisdom. VERDICT This decadeslong story of a marriage will appeal to fans of Barbara Bradford, Jodi Picoult, and Sue Miller, as well as readers who enjoy first novels.-Keddy Ann Outlaw, formerly with Harris Cty. P.L., Houston, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.