I am going to tell you right now- so far this year, this is hands down my most favorite book. I will also tell you that the back cover description is not doing this book justice. AND, for this being this author's first novel, oh my word- it is amazing. Like, makes you think about your marriage/partnership differently.
Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
One sunny morning in 1969, 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 Miami skyline in the distance, 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 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 in the complicated city they call home.
With Stiltsville, Susanna Daniel weaves the beauty, violence, and humanity of Miami’s coming-of-age with an enduring story of a marriage’s beginning, maturity, and heartbreaking demise.
Susanna writes makes you question whether this is actually a real love story or not. Because it's not a love story like you see in movies. It's like a for real love story, where two people fall in love and get married young, and they question whether it was the right decision or not, someone thinks about infidelity, and it's the every day problems of an ordinary couple raising a daughter.
You find yourself nodding your head along because everything is so true to what it's really like to be married and be raising a family, and the stress of the unexpected. And through it all- they have Stiltsville. The sanctuary that held the family together, the rock that reminded them what life was about, and the place that seems to hold it all together.
I won't tell you what ultimately happens to Stiltsville or the family as a whole, but I will tell you I could not put this book down. The very last line of the book reads:
"I held my husband in my arms and pressed my face to his face. I kissed his lips. I told him I loved him. I told him, Thank you, over and over. I told him, Thank you for my life."
And while this normally wouldn't be significant to anyone, it is to me. Because while I don't have the perfect marriage and we absolutely struggle each and every single day- I know that no matter what, I will always be grateful to Matt for the life he's given me. Without him I wouldn't have the things I have, I wouldn't be the mom to two awesome kids, I wouldn't be where I am today without Matt next to me. And so I challenge you to think about that the next time you feel like you're at rock bottom in your marriage or are having a hard time not stabbing your spouse- what are all of the positive things in your life that are because of them in some small way.
I think it's so easy for us to give up, cheat on someone, get divorced, or just mentally check out because staying married is a lot of work. It requires patience, forvgiveness, the ability to break down what you're angry about and see what part specifically is making you angry and why, and most of all, humility. It's not always going to be easy or perfect- and you have to know going in that there are going to be a lot of days where you will question your decision. And that's OK.
I highly encourage everybody to read this. I loved this book so much and I can't stop gushing about it. I got my hair cut and talked for four ladies about it. Everyone at work has heard me rave about this book. I even walked past a lady looking at books and I completely started telling her how amazing this book was. Because it is. You have to read it.
Check out what other bloggers are saying about it here, visit her website here, her Facebook or her Twitter.
Seriously. Go and buy this book. You will not be diappointed.