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Sophie's House of Cards: A Novel

Sharon Oard Warner

When sixteen-year-old Sophie Granger suspects she is pregnant, she digs out her mother Peggy’s tarot cards. Peggy hasn’t read fortunes since her hippie days in Taos, but as soon as she flips the cards, Peggy sees both her daughter’s predicament and the family crisis that will ensue. A panicked Peggy scatters the layout and rushes from the room, leaving Sophie to construct a literal house of cards. Set in New Mexico, this engrossing family novel raises questions about the role that fortune plays in our lives.


Sharon Oard Warner is the author of Learning to Dance and Other Stories and the novel Deep in the Heart. She is also the editor of The Way We Write Now: Short Stories from the AIDS Crisis. A professor of English at the University of New Mexico, Warner is the founder and director of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference.


“Fifty-one-year-old Peggy Granger is an ex-hippie who used to read tarot cards in exchange for food, shelter, and pocket money. Her cards have been stored away, untouched for years, until her sixteen-year-old daughter, Sophie, finds them and asks her to do a reading. Ten cards, laid out in the form of a Celtic cross, provide the titles and openings of each chapter, a clever narrative structure that links the past, present, and future of this family whose stability is as fragile as a house of cards.”


Kirkus Reviews

“Warner captures the New Mexican landscape beautifully: the gold of cottonwood trees in fall; the gush of desert spring; the delicate and smothering way snow falls in the mountains. But it is the placing of everyday human life directly inside this landscape that allows Warner to create such a striking portrait of the American Southwest. Her descriptions illuminate not the grandeur of a Western-film backdrop but the details of real life: making chorizo for breakfast; owning a small business; the ordinariness of sex and infidelity.”


Foreword Reviews

Sophie’s House of Cards has all the family drama needed to keep the reader turning pages. . . . Set in New Mexico, the landscape and beauty of Albuquerque and Taos haunt the pages of this moving and enchanting story.”



“(An) intimate family novel. . . . As others move around her and walls fall down, Sophie reveals her fortitude. Her endearing story of teen pregnancy, growth, and resilience stands as the central support of Sophie’s House of Cards.”


Western American Literature

“Warner’s sensitivity and sincerity in addressing difficult and relevant subjects help create an engrossing read while her attention to detail and research lend it validity.”


Southwestern American Literature

Sophie’s House of Cards is a compelling piece of literature with a unique style and format. . . . With every chapter you will become engaged in the story and find yourself comparing your own journey to this intriguing expression of family life.”


Porter Gulch Review

6 x 9 in. 360 pages 11 drawings, 11 halftones