From the award-winning author of Over the Plain Houses, comes a major novel about two young women contending with unplanned pregnancies in different eras.
Edie Carrigan didn't plan to "get herself" pregnant, much less end up in a Home for Unwed Mothers. In 1950s North Carolina, illegitimate pregnancy is kept secret, wayward women require psychiatric cures, and adoption is always the best solution. Not even Edie’s closest friend, Luce Waddell, understands what Edie truly wants: to keep and raise the baby.
Twenty-five years later, Luce is a successful lawyer, and her daughter Meera now faces the same decision Edie once did. Like Luce, Meera is fiercely independent and plans to handle her unexpected pregnancy herself. Digging into her mother’s past, Meera finds troubling evidence of Edie, and also of her own mother’s secrets. As the three women’s lives intertwine and collide, the story circles age-old questions about female awakening, reproductive choice, motherhood, adoption, sex, and missed connections.
For fans of Brit Bennett's The Mothers and Jennifer Weiner's Mrs. Everything, The Say So is a timely novel that asks: how do we contend with the rippling effects of the choices we've made? With equal parts precision and tenderness, Franks has crafted a sweeping epic about the coming of age of the women’s movement that reverberates through the present day.
Praise for Over the Plain Houses
“With careful attention given to the Appalachian landscape and an intimate feel for the tensions of society played out within a single family, the novel is a striking portrait of a place in transition, told by a gifted storyteller.” —Electric Lit
“Over the Plain Houses had me enthralled from beginning to end. This beautifully written, carefully constructed, and richly detailed novel swept me away to another time and place—rural Appalachia during the Great Depression. What a spellbinding, convincing, and completely satisfying novel this is!” —Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried
“The feminist theme announced in the Sexton-inspired title echoes throughout Over the Plain Houses...In Julia Franks’s novel, modernity has yet to break away from superstition and bigotry, but the most frightening demons, then and now, are the hobgoblins that possess our minds.”—Knoxville News Sentinel
“Recalling books like Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer and Ron Rash’s The Cove, Franks puts herself in great literary company with this noteworthy debut. Announcing the theme of women’s power and women’s subjugation by presenting Anne Sexton’s poem ‘Her Kind’ as the epigraph to the novel, she also ties the book—whose setting, language, and tone certainly imply
its Southern roots—to a distinctly New England tradition.”—Necessary Fiction
“Julia Franks writes wonderfully and knowledgeably about nature, with a fine eye for the textures of the physical world. Her ear for the diction and rhythm and creativity of Southern mountain speech delights on every page.” —Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain
“This riveting debut novel is both a portrait of a dysfunctional marriage and the tale of one woman’s journey to freedom and redemption...Readers will delight in discovering the work of Franks, a promising new writer.” —Library Journal