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Sea Creatures

by Susanna Daniel

When Georgia Quillian returns to her hometown of Miami, her husband, Graham, and their young son in tow, she is hoping for a fresh start. The family has fled Illinois trailing scandal and disappointment, the fallout from Grahams severe sleep disorder and Georgias failed business. To make matters worse, their charming three-year-old son, Frankie, has for months refused to speak a word. Although Georgia is still grieving her mothers death from five years earlier, her father and stepmother offer warm welcome--and a slip for the dilapidated houseboat Georgia and Graham have chosen to call home. On a lark, Georgia takes a job as an errand runner for a reclusive artist who lives in the middle of the bay, and she soon finds that time spent with the intense hermit might help Frankie find the courage to speak, and might also help her reconcile the woman she was with the woman she has become. But when Graham leaves to work on a research vessel in Hurricane Alley, and the truth behind Frankies mutism is revealed, the familys challenges return, more complicated than before. As a hurricane bears down on South Florida later that summer, Georgia must face the fact that her choices have put her only child in grave danger. Sea Creatures is a mesmerizing exploration of the high stakes of marriage and parenthood, the story of a woman forced to choose between her husband, her child, and the possibility of new love.

Stiltsville

by Susanna Daniel

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. 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 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 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 wins 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 the complicated city they call home. Stiltsville is the family's island oasis-until suddenly it's gone, and Frances is forced to figure out how to make her family work on dry land. Against a backdrop of lush tropical beauty, Frances and Dennis struggle with the mutability of love and Florida's weather, as well as temptation, chaos, and disappointment. But just when Frances thinks she's reached some semblance of higher ground, she must confront an obstacle so great that even the lessons she's learned about navigating the uncharted waters of family life can't keep them afloat. 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.

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