Off the page: ‘The Book of Polly’

At the tender age of 10, Willow Havens is obsessed with the mortality of her older-than-average mother, Polly. A Virginia-Slims-smoking single parent with an unpredictable attitude, Polly keeps all those who come in contact with her on their toes, a fact that both comforts and confuses her daughter. While Polly is irreconcilably different than the other moms in her Texas neighborhood, Willow uses the outlandish, and sometimes exaggerated, tales to grant her mother invincibility by making her character larger than life. Lately, however, Polly’s constant feuds with neighbors and squirrels alike have become the least of Willow’s worries, as she searches for the truth behind her mother’s past love and past life in Bethel, Louisiana.

Grab a margarita and join this memorable mother-daughter duo as they face the many unexpected challenges of life, love and family with the help of faithful friends and even a faith healer. Drawing inspiration from her own mother, author Kathy Hepinstall connects with her audience through unabashed authenticity. Growing up near the Texas-Louisiana border, Hepinstall captures the comforting quirks of Southern society through relatable characters who deliver the perfect balance of hilarity and heartbreak.

From traditional dishes to Southern superstitions, The Book of Polly delivers a healthy dose of nostalgia, maybe even prompting readers to call their own moms to reflect on their teen years by the end of the first chapter. This is an easy-to-read adventure filled with mystery, explicit language and a cast of complex and creative characters.