For those of you who enjoyed the immensely popular Where the Crawdads Sing might I suggest you check out The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustain. This powerful, atmospheric coming of age tale centers on two young girls growing up in poverty and abuse in 1920’s Natchez Trace, Mississippi.
Sixteen year old runaway Ada reluctantly returns to her stilt house in the swamps after her boyfriend abandons her and she discovers she is pregnant. Confronted by her vile alcoholic, abusive father she learns the horrifying truth surrounding the deaths of her mother and baby sister. When her father’s rage focuses on Ada she fears her fate will be similar to that of her mother. Seventeen year old Matilda, the daughter of a black sharecropper, happens upon the frightening confrontation and comes to the aid of Ada.
Matilda has suffered prejudice and her life has been filled with tragedy. She lives in poverty with her family who hope someday to buy their own land to farm. To this end, Matilda’s father sells bootleg liquor to supplement his meager income which ultimately lands him and his family in a heap of trouble.
Brought together by a strange twist of fate and terrible violence the two young women forge an uneasy but unbreakable bond as their lives become intertwined.
The Girls in the Stilt House is a gritty, immersive tale filled with strong characters, mystery, danger and intrigue.