- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Large Print edition (February 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250014522
- ISBN-13: 978-1250014528
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,409 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Calling Me Home: A Novel Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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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
''If Julie Kibler's novel Calling Me Home were a young woman, her grandmother would be To Kill a Mockingbird, her sister would be The Help, and her cousin would be The Notebook. But even with such iconic relatives, Calling Me Home stands on her own; this novel uncovers a painful past that tells us so much about who we are, where we're going, and the people who are traveling with us.'' --Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author
''You'd never guess that Calling Me Home is a debut novel, Julie Kibler's writing is so wise and assured. Although the two strong women she's created come from completely different backgrounds, the bond that grows between them is extraordinary, touching, and believable. 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, New York Times bestselling author
''Julie Kibler grabbed me on the very first page and didn't let go . . . What a marvel of a debut novel. Black and white, young and old, searching and missing and finding in each other a special understanding, companionship, and love, these characters are real and addictive. Calling Me Home was keenly conceived, impeccably plotted, and beautifully written.'' --Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author
''Calling Me Home is journey into the heart where secrets hide and love reigns. Across the bridge of race and generation, Julie Kibler brings together two who profoundly influence each other as they reveal their stories and their heartbreak. With a stunning plot twist, Kibler reminds the reader that things aren't always as they appear and love has its own life.'' --Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author
''Clear your schedule before you open up this thoroughly engaging book. Calling Me Home is a story about love in its many incarnations in romance, friendships, and families; loves lost, and love regained. Kibler illuminates racial tensions many of us don't realize still exist in this country and shows how small acts of faith can make big inroads to acceptance. I closed the final page with a smile and a tear, humbled and eager to embrace life.'' --Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife
''Touching and unforgettable, Julie Kibler's Calling Me Home is the kind of story that pulls you in from page one, grips your heart, and absolutely won't let go.'' --Sarah Jio, author of The Violets of March
''Pop some corn and grab a hankie before you start Calling Me Home because you won't want to put it down until you come to the end of this true journey of the heart.'' --Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey
''Calling Me Home is a tenderly wrought story of love and secrets, heartbreak and healing, and the remarkable power of friendship to heal two women who find each other across the lines of time, generation, and race. Julie Kibler has written an original and moving debut novel that will linger with you for a long, long time.'' --Barbara O'Neal, author of The Garden of Happy Endings
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Top customer reviews
Of course, not every book that tackles interracial romance and segregation will make a profound impact on me. It all depends on the author’s delivery of said premise, and in this case, I couldn’t be more impressed with the way the author presented her story and characters. The tale follows a road trip where an 80 year old Isabelle is heading to a funeral with Dorrie, her 30 something year old hairdresser. Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle’s relationship has gone from employer/employee to dear friends, yet there’s always this cloak of mystery that surrounds Isabelle that Dorrie can’t figure out.
And even with Dorrie experiencing her own troubles with her boyfriend and children, she still embarks on this road trip with Isabelle, realizing that her old friend will need her for support. Along the way, it warmed my heart to witness the friendship dynamic between the two, from arguing about the pettiest things to confessing hidden secrets, the biggest one being Isabelle’s romance with Robert, the black son of her family’s housekeeper and her one true love, and the consequences that arose because such an interracial relationship was forbidden.
From there, the author alternates between past/present scenes, with Isabelle being the narrator in the past and Dorrie in the present. This way, both women are given an equal voice and keeps the story balanced and me invested. As Isabelle’s tale is unveiled chapter by chapter, I got stomach butterflies while I read about her sweet and tender romance with Robert but also felt the unbearable heartbreak when the inevitable happened. The fact that the story is set during World War II also heightens the pure desperation, the longing and love these two experience.
One word can’t really describe the range of emotions I felt while reading this story. From the beginning and little by little, I could sense my heart splintering in pieces while outwardly maintaining a calm appearance. Gradually, my throat was painfully clogged up, eyes welled with unshed tears, and mouth slightly quivering. It seemed like with each new obstacle uncovered in the story, a heavy weight would be dropped onto my heart until it completely crushed three quarters into the story and I could not stop sobbing after that point. And when I got to the very end, I closed the book feeling three distinct emotions: sadness, contentment, and determination. Immense sadness for all the injustice the characters suffered and their jagged pain. Content because the story came full circle and left me with a teary smile on my face. And determination to not let the mistakes in the story be repeated in the present, at least not by me, and to bring more awareness to the topics explored in the book because sadly, they still permeate society today.
Everyone needs to read this book. Love is love, regardless of race, gender, age, and background.
Calling Me Home is a part women’s fiction, part romance, part historical fiction standalone.
Ms. Kibler's characters were so clearly portrayed, I felt a closeness to them right from the beginning. This is a story about relationships, heartache, and the effects of intolerance on those who are simply trying to live a life filled with happiness, fulfilling love, and satisfying family relationships.
So many of us take those characteristics for granted. You will no longer do so once you've met Calling Me Home's extraordinary people.