'Over The Plain Houses’ Praised, Featured At Decatur Book Fest | WABE 90.1 FM

'Over The Plain Houses’ Praised, Featured At Decatur Book Fest

Aug 30, 2016

Three-hundred authors will descend upon downtown Decatur this weekend for the Decatur Book Festival. And the festival makes sure that local authors are well represented.

Julia Franks is one of those local authors. She will be discussing her debut novel "Over the Plain Houses.”

In a commentary about the novel, arts writer Gail O'Neill commends Franks on her ability to tap into the diction and zeitgeist of Appalachian North Carolina along with her ability to delve into the intricacies of relationships.

“It explores the lengths to which people will go to cleave to their truest selves, while trying to avoid a breaking point in their marriage,” comments O’Neill. “It’s a study of how one couple navigates a power-shift in their relationship. And it takes on the complexity of religion without getting preachy.”

The novel focuses on husband and wife Brodis and Irenie Lambey in 1939. The federal government sends a USDA agent to help modernize their community in Appalachia. Irenie welcomes the changes, while Brodis, a fundamentalist preacher, sees the innovations as an intrusion.

O'Neill described Franks' inspiration for the story. "Franks was partly inspired to write 'Over the Plain Houses' after her parents' church in Tennessee was targeted by a gunman," she explained. "The shooter later justified his actions by saying the congregation was 'too liberal.'"

Franks will appear at the Decatur Book Festival at 12:30 p.m. Saturday  at the Old Courthouse, as part of a program titled “Mysticism in the Mountains.”