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Calling Me Home: A Novel by [Kibler, Julie]
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Calling Me Home: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,288 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Comparisons to The Help (2009) are inevitable, and though there are echoes of Kathryn Stockett’s popular best-seller to be found in Calling Me Home, Kibler has crafted a wholly original debut. The novel, set in 1930s Kentucky, centers on a forbidden romance between a teenage white girl, Isabelle McAllister, and Robert Prewitt, the black son of the McAllister’s maid. Chafing under her mother’s restrictive notions of female propriety, Isabelle finds a kindred spirit in Robert. The two begin to meet clandestinely, but any hope of a future together is threatened by the overwhelming racism of the era. Against impossible odds, the pair elopes to neighboring Cincinnati, but their happiness is short-lived when Isabelle’s thuggish brothers drag her back to the family home. The sad story is presented in flashback, as told by a now-elderly Isabelle to her black hairdresser, Dorrie, while the two drive cross-country to a funeral. Some may object that the civil rights struggle is once again being filtered through a white perspective, but there’s no denying the pull of Kibler’s story. --Patty Wetli

Review

"'I laughed out loud in places and had tears in my eyes as I turned the last page. I can't wait to watch Julie Kibler's star rise!' Diane Chamberlain"

Product Details

  • File Size: 820 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 12, 2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008RVAP2C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tina Says VINE VOICE on January 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Calling Me Home, Julie Kibler's debut novel, is guaranteed to be a hit with book clubs. Alternating between the present day and the late 1930's, Dorrie and Miss Isabelle also alternate narrating this book.
Present day: Dorrie and Miss Isabelle embark on a car trip together. Dorrie is driving Miss Isabelle to a funeral. The two seem an odd pair at first - one black, one white, and generations apart in age. But, Dorrie has been doing Miss Isabelle's hair for quite a while and Miss Isabelle treats her as though she were her own daughter. Dorrie is trying out a new relationship, not sure how much she can trust this new man. She is also upset with her son, Stevie, Jr., who has made some bad decisions lately.
Miss Isabelle opens up and begins to tell her story as the two make this journey.
1939: Miss Isabelle is just a teenager who falls in love with their maid's son, Robert. An interracial couple isn't approved of in many places, especially in Isabelle's hometown. Although the two are committed to each other, there are many things conspiring against them. As Miss Isabelle shares her story it is easy to see what a remarkable relationship she and Robert shared, yet Dorrie knows from seeing the pictures in Isabelle's house that everyone in Isabelle's life is white. What happened to Robert and the love they shared?
Although not marked as a romance, I would classify it as having a bit of romance in this story. I couldn't help but get my hopes up that true love would prevail.
Book clubs will find plenty to discuss in Kibler's story- relationships, racism, the norms of the time this story took place, and friendship are just a few of the topics I can't wait to discuss with other readers.
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Format: Hardcover
This review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ([...])

Note: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a complimentary e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Thoughts: I read this book a couple of weeks ago while I was vacationing in Florida and I have to tell you -- this was a very hard book to put down. It's heart-warming story of forbidden love and an unlikely friendship that has great main characters and an emotional ending that ensures that this book will stay with me for a long time.

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this was Ms Kibler's debut novel. Not every author is able to write a story that flows back and forth between two different eras without a few bumps in the storyline but Ms Kibler does so fluently and flawlessly. It's interesting to note that Ms Kibler got the idea to write this book after she discovered that her grandmother had fallen in love with a black man in her youth. At that time the hope of having an interracial relationship was almost infeasible and that is how this story was born.

But it's the relationship and bond between thirty-something Dorrie, a black single mother of two, and eighty-nine year old Isabelle, an elderly white woman in Texas, that made these two characters stand out for me. They are sadly, even in modern times, viewed as an unlikely pair which causes some small minded people to look at them with suspicion.

It's through Dorrie and Isabelle's narratives, which were so engaging, that the story really comes to life.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Warning - this book will be hard to put down! It's a crossover between literary fiction and suspense, with some history included. The characters are three-dimensional; they have failing and flaws as well a a heroic nature that comes through.

As the book jacket says, the story begins when Isabelle, an 89-year-old woman in Texas, asks her hairdresser to join her on a journey. Of course the hairdresser is also a good friend from over the years; she comes to Isabelle's home and helps her out like a daughter.

The story is told in alternating voices; Isabelle's first person memories of her childhood and teen years alternate with Dorrie's story of the drive in the present. Isabelle's story holds a strong emotional charge, because black and white communities were separate, 75 years after the Civil War. Isabelle's town didn't allow African-Americans to live within its borders and enforced a strong curfew.

At the same time, Dorrie's story shows that we're not 100% there; in one scene, a hotel clerk wonders why these two women are together.

So what's not to like? The book is a good read and I suspect book clubs will choose Calling Me Home as a selection. My only concern is that the material seemed so familiar there were few surprises.

Still, the book is better written than most; the pace is good; the characters are appealing (probably more to women than men) and if you're looking for a way to pass a snowy afternoon, this book works.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was anxious to read this book because of all the glowing Amazon reviews. I was somewhat disappointed however. The writing is competent, the theme of racial equality vs. intolerance is important, the World War II setting is enticing but the underlying `romance' novel quality of the book isn't something I enjoy.

The action swings between the present and the past, specifically 1939 and the early 1940's. Central to the book is a friendship between an almost 90 year old white woman and a 40 something African American woman. They meet when cantankerous Isabelle parks herself at Dorrie's hairdressing station one fateful afternoon. A relationship that starts out rocky soon becomes one of true friendship and respect. This relationship is the best part of this book. An internal alarm went off for me however, because it seems like a lot of books are being written lately by white authors about racial issues. I'm not a purist. ANY author has the right to tackle any theme and is only limited by their imagination and their skills of observation. That's fair. Why though, when it comes to race, are all the problems talked about as if they were in the past? Then bad, now good. And of course things have improved vastly but why not talk about now? The historical perspective silently implies all the bad stuff was then. To be fair Kibler does a great job a showing the racial impact on these two women's current friendship. She shows the good and the bad and the stereotypes which with we still wrestle.

Having said all this I was very emotionally invested in "Calling me Home". It was absorbing. It deals with important themes. It's a love story. If you like the romance genre and have enough tissues you'll most likely enjoy this book.
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