About Their Houses:
As children, two sisters make homes for their toys out of matchboxes and shoeboxes, trying to create safe places after the loss of their mother to psychosis.
Grace, now a schoolteacher married to a doctor, appears to have a conventional life but has a breakdown during an undesired move from her beloved cottage to another house. Dinah has married a self-ordained preacher with a troubled past and tries to keep her children safely separate from the world. Meanwhile, a childhood friend is linked to a militia’s abortive attempt to blow up the FBI’s fingerprint records facility in West Virginia, and later builds an isolated survivalist compound in the mountains.
These three adults, closely bonded in childhood, are reunited on this acreage once owned by a white supremacist group, where they discover in various ways that there is no final protection, no matter how hard they strive to find it or make it.
Praise so far:
“Full of surprising twists and turns, this sharp, tough-minded, compelling novel takes us deeply into its high-low milieus and conflicted characters. A cross between noir and redemption, it’s a terrific read.”
—Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait Inside My Head
“A timely story.”
“A surprisingly tender portrait of the bonds that keep friends and families afloat.”
“Every move in this jolt-filled tale—told in the sweet, slyly humorous cadences of West Virginia—is perfect. Willis has the stuff from beginning to end.”
—Diane Simmons, author of The Courtship of Eva Eldridge
“With deep sympathy for her characters, Willis writes in lucid and compelling prose about one of the dark undersides of American life. Their Houses reads fast, as a compelling series of mysteries, and reminds us of how much legacy we all carry, not only in our bodies and our genes but in our stories.”
—Jane Lazarre, author of The Communist and the Communist’s Daughter and Beyond the Whiteness of
Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons
About The Author:
Meredith Sue Willis teaches novel writing at New York University’s School of Professional Studies as well as doing workshops for children in public schools. She has lived for more than thirty years in Essex County, New Jersey and had published 22 books: novels and stories, nonfiction, and chapter books for children. She is a founding member of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race and is the chair of the Social Action Committee of the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County. Born and raised in West Virginia, she is a proud member of the Appalachian Renaissance.
To learn more or to buy the book, see the publisher’s website or shop online or at your favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore.