Everybody in Rosalita, Texas, wondered why the Sanders family had come back to town and bought the house next door to Lou Jean Perry. It was the absolute last place they should want to be. Now, Kayla Sanders looks back on that sizzling summer of her childhood, when the secrets of the past cast long shadows over two families' lives. In June 1967 Lou Jean Perry's husband, the first and only person from Rosalita killed in Vietnam, had been dead for more than a year. When thirteen-year-old Kayla first met her, a laughing Lou Jean executed a perfect backbend right there on her sparkling clean kitchen floor. It stood to reason that this bright-spirited woman -- the complete opposite of Kayla's brittle, churchgoing mother, Sarah Jo -- would become Kayla's new best friend. As the heat and madness of summer intensified, Sarah Jo's motives for moving next to Lou Jean would become clear, but not before a family's foundation cracks and crumbles, a woman is driven to the brink of madness, and a young girl discovers that passion listens not to the mind's reason but to the heart's demands. Writing about family with a poignant intensity, Cindy Eppes draws on her Southern roots to create a coming-of-age story told by a narrator straight out of Eudora Welty, yet indelibly stamped with a distinctive, contemporary style. Beautifully crafted, South of Reason shows Eppes to be an extraordinary storyteller, weaving a shimmering web shot through with the rainbow colors of life.
Dallas News A charming, beautifully written and altogether atypical first novel....Cindy Eppes writes with the deceptive, gorgeous simplicity of a blossoming Elizabeth Berg or Alice Hoffman.
Richard Russo Author of Nobody's Fool and Empire Falls Cindy Eppes is a born storyteller. South of Reason skillfully renders the violent collision of two worlds: one adolescent, the other adult. In Kayla, she's given us a character both vividly memorable and painfully true.
Publishers Weekly Impressive....Eppes's tale is unassuming and complex in its execution, full of rich, authentic details; colorful and often surprising metaphors; and expertly imagined characters....This finely crafted debut marks Eppes as a writer worth watching.