Rhodes began writing his second novel, The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974), in Iowa City, where he lived for another year following his graduation from the Writers' Workshop in 1971. "The Easter House actually came quicker than anything I’ve ever done," Rhodes says. "It was just there, and I wrote it down and I didn’t have to make many changes. It was just kind of a story into itself."
The novel revolves around the Easter family (Ansel, who suffers a violent death; and his sons, C and Sam, who administer to the family junkyard and found "the Associate," an ad-hoc group of men who hire themselves out to do odd and sometimes criminal jobs) and the Wood family, particularly Fisher Wood, the son of the local banker who has also been the Easters' secret patron following Ansel's death.
Alan Cheuse, in a review published in the New York Times on August 4, 1974, compared the appearance of The Easter House to the publication of Sherwood Anderson's classic Winesburg, Ohio.