Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Creative Writing

Committee Chair

Cary Holladay

Committee Member

Sonja Livingston

Committee Member

Courtney Santo


South of Heaven, set in Carthage, North Carolina, tells the story of two estranged sisters forced to sink or swim under the same leaky roof. Fern McQueen is at peace with her mid-life-self. She is content to watch over her son and her beloved aunt who carries secrets in a black patent leather purse while her mind slips away. But Fern’s peace ends when her reckless past is resurrected. Meanwhile, her sister Leona’s carefully crafted life in Raleigh begins to unravel when her doctor husband is accused of Medicaid fraud. To avoid the humiliation and snubs from her unforgiving social set, Leona loads up the Mercedes and heads for home—a place she vowed to leave forever. While the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal plays out live on CNN, Fern and Leona’s own secrets become front page news and the sisters find themselves at odds with their grown children who feel betrayed by a lifetime of lies. Miscommunications and slights, real and imagined, threaten to keep the sisters divided but in the end the inexplicable bond of family, a widowed preacher in search of his own lost faith, and an unlikely business venture deliver rescue. South of Heaven is a testament to second chances and unexpected consequences.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.