Susanna Daniel is back with a new novel called SEA CREATURES. She’s settled back into old Florida and has her characters visiting that fascinating water city right in the middle of Biscayne Bay, just off the coast of Miami: Stiltsville.
Her fist novel was actually titled: STILTSILLE. It won the Pen Faukner award in 2010. I love that Daniel has actually returned to the Miami area. And that she is back on the water.
Georgia Quillian packs up her three year old toddler Frankie and her disgraced husband Graham and moves from Chicago back to her hometown in Miami, in Coral Gables.
Georgia met her husband at a facility for insomniacs. Only his problem was much more involved than hers. She just had trouble sleeping. He had parasomnia, a disease causing him to sleepwalk when he finally would sleep which was not often. This is a real disease. And it is life-threatening; not just to the sufferer, but to anyone in their life.
Daniel knows how to bring Miami to life. She manages to plop you down in the center of the Gables and Biscayne Bay, and keep you there until you don’t want to do anything but stay. I love old Florida. I love the architecture, the flora and fauna, and the lifestyle. You’ll find all that right here.
This is not a light, fluffy novel. It is a serious novel with a message. More than one. You see, Frankie, the three-year-old, also has issues. He stopped speaking after being a pretty good chatterer. And no one’s been able to figure out what’s wrong. The doctor’s don’t see anything physical. And then Georgia comes across a new pediatrician who begins picking at the wound. until BINGO!
Georgia takes on a daytime job as a gopher for a local artist who has become a real recluse. In fact, they refer to him as “the hermit” in the story. This guy lives in a stilt home smack dab in the middle of Biscayne Bay. Georgia agrees to make trips to the house on her boat to take him supplies several times a week. A little extra money, and some time on the water. She takes Frankie along.
Hurricane Andrew could have totally run this story over, however, Daniel manages to skillfully ooze the storm in toward the end. It has a powerful whop, but does not overpower the novel. It is what it is. Anyone living in South Florida has heard of or may have lived through one of the worst hurricanes in history: Andrew. The storm is used to move the characters toward the world they needed to be in.
You’ll want to know more about Stiltsville. There is even a video of a tour. But I love this picture above that shows the city of Miami in the distance. Such a fascinating idea. And it worked until it didn’t.
Susanna Daniel brings you a well-written story of family, parental guilt, health issues, and marriage. Another winner for her! My galley arrived from Harper Collins, and I thank them, kindly.