This is just the kind of cover that gets me going. Makes me wild to get into the novel. Makes my mind whirl. And makes me pray the story is as great as the cover. Yes, yes, yes, it is!
1920’s Natchez Trace. Swampland. You’ll read the prologue and know you are in the midst of a great story. I was itchy to keep reading. I mean, what a great hook. Two girls in the swamp burying a dead body. Boom!
Ada runs away from home. Her father is a ruthless drunk. Her mother is dead. She is invited to leave town with a carnival worker to escape her rotten life. Then she’s dumped. And has nowhere to go except to return to the horror of her life with her father.
Matilda is the daughter of a share cropper. Her life has been turned upside down and she is but a shadow of her old self when she meets Ada. She has huge issues. And she’s got revenge on her mind.
This is one of those stories that grabs you and holds you hostage. I found myself wanting to reach out and yell to the girls to get to safety. DO NOT DO THAT. It’s that intense. And talk about bad guys. There are two men who are true devils. And the harshness of the swamp itself is a real character. Mustian manages to send you into the depths of the murkiness of the odoriferous and frightening swamp. Nothing good lurks in this world. It harbors all sort of evils: bootlegging, murder, snakes, alligators, men with awful intentions, and every sort of natural and unnatural predator known and unknown to humans.
I have to mention Gerdie who is the midwife who brings so much to the story. There would be much less story without her wisdom and kindness.
There’s a reader’s group guide for clubs at the end of the novel. And a wonderful conversation with the editor gives real insight to the writing of this novel.
THE GIRLS IN THE STILT HOUSE is Kelly Mustian’s debut novel. She’s really nailed it. I will be waiting with baited breath for her next one.
I thank Edelweiss for the digital copy. And Sourcebooks who is the publisher. Loved the book.
We have a stack of THE GIRLS IN THE STILT HOUSE in trade paper on our table right now at Copperfish. Don’t miss this page-turner. One of my favorites this season.